Citing concerns about the financial insecurity facing the United States Postal Service (USPS) amid the coronavirus crisis, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 100 other civil rights groups have called on Congress to support robust funding for the agency in the next aid package.

The hundreds of thousands of people who make up the USPS are essential workers providing a critical public service to the nation amid a global pandemic, all while facing uncertainty about their own personal health and the fiscal health of the constitutionally mandated agency, the groups wrote in a letter to Congress.

“A vote against adequate, timely funding for the USPS is an anti-civil rights vote,” the groups wrote. “The USPS projects that it will lose $2 billion each month because of loss of revenue from an unprecedented drop in mail during the pandemic. Despite this financial hit, USPS carriers have been essential in our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to deliver essential mail and parcels, such as prescriptions, food, and household necessities. And their service during this pandemic has come at a cost and at great personal risk. We owe it to these brave essential workers to shore up the financial health of the Postal Service.”

While the USPS is not provided taxpayer support, Congress budgets about $96 million annually for the Postal Service Fund.

In the letter, the groups outline what it says show the agency’s impact:

– The employees of the Postal Service are essential workers who are delivering masks and respirators to the front lines and moving test kits to labs.
– The USPS is one of the only federal agencies whose workforce reflects the nation’s demographics.
– The USPS is an important employer of people of color and has served as one of the linchpins of many communities.
– The USPS has been a career lifeline for many, and we should aim to preserve these opportunities for the individuals, families and communities that rely on them to achieve economic security rather than throwing its more than 650,000 employees into the unemployment line.
– The Postal Service’s accessibility and affordability is important to rural communities, seniors, and people with disabilities, who might not otherwise be able to afford the cost of a private business to deliver essential medications and daily necessities.
– The USPS is essential to having a fair and accurate 2020 census.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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