To the editor:
(re: “Looking back at the future,” Legislative Agenda, April 30)
As we all know, we need a healthy postal service for basic services like letters, packages and delivery of medications. But we also need it for the big picture issues vital to our democracy. A reliable census and the integrity of vote-by-mail, which in this time of crisis, must be vastly expanded. And it will be impossible without a robust, reliable U.S. Postal Service.
The postal service is in serious trouble. It is a self-funded, independently operating public sector entity which does not receive taxpayer funds. It was already experiencing financial problems before the COVID-19 crisis due to decreasing use and a 2006 law that forces it to pre-fund decades of pension and retiree health costs, an obligation that decimated the finances of the USPS even before the coronavirus hit.
And now the pandemic has caused a further catastrophic drop in mail volume.
In our area, problems with service and delivery have resulted from understaffing, employee illness and fear of illness, and poor communication. Our elected officials have been applying pressure and have submitted letters to Postmaster General Megan Brennan and to Vice President Mike Pence, demanding improved services, greater transparency, and appropriate personal protective equipment for postal employees.
Congressional Democrats have pushed for emergency funding for the USPS, but Trump and Senate Republicans have blocked it. Fixing this is high on Democrats’ list of priorities for the next coronavirus relief bill.
We need to act! Please educate your friends and family on this issue. Please call your electeds, thank them for all they have done, and urge them to insist that significant direct emergency funding be included in the next coronavirus relief bill.
Thank House Democrats for passing the USPS Fairness Act, which would repeal the pre-funding mandate, and press for its companion Senate bill to be brought up for a vote.
Sign petitions by the American Postal Workers Union, Common Cause, MoveOn, Moms Rising and other organizations.
And if you have the means, buy stamps.
The integrity of our elections is at stake.