What is Happening to the Postal Service and Why it’s So Important
September 28, 2020
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is one of the most important agencies in the United States. Small businesses rely heavily on the post and The Postal Service employs roughly 637,000 employees, delivering 472.1 million mail pieces a day to Americans. Amid a time where home delivery has become more important than ever, the service has faced attacks on a federal level approaching the Presidential election and delays nationwide.
President Donald Trump has spread his concerns about voter fraud in the past few months, tweeting, “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES [sic]” in June. Republican members of the House and Senate have blocked the USPS’s requests for support among the pandemic, with Trump saying on FOX that he was withholding funding because “that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.” However, mail-in voting fraud is highly unlikely in the US. Ballots vary from county to county and it would be nearly impossible to replicate them, election consultant Jennifer Morell told NPR.
The Postmaster General, who Trump installed in the position in June, has also blocked employee requests for overtime and removed mail-sorting machines from postal facilities around the country. These changes have resulted in nation-wide delays.
The attacks on the post office will not only affect the Presidential election. Millions of Americans will be affected by delays and hundreds of small businesses will lose money and possibly be forced to close. The CEO of Etsy, a platform designed for small businesses selling handmade items, wrote in a letter to Senate leaders that “91% [of sellers] rely on USPS to deliver their packages to consumers”. USPS is also the only delivery service for some sellers in rural communities.
Some people also rely on USPS for life-saving medicine; Nathan Giessel told CNBC that he had waited for his blood clot medication for nine days. He also said he had never experienced delays until August 2020. The people who are waiting on medications are most likely at higher risk for COVID-19, as those with preexisting conditions are more vulnerable, according to the CDC website.
Democrats within the House approved a $25 billion emergency funding bill to help the USPS get back on its feet.