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United States Postal Service

The House passed a bill last week to inject $25 billion of emergency funding into USPS and reverse recent operational changes made by new postmaster general and major GOP donor Louis DeJoy, that has slowed down mail delivery. The Democrat controlled House have pushed hard to give the postal service a lifeline, despite escalating attacks from President Trump. With the general elections less than three months away, the USPS needs to be able to handle the flurry of mail-in ballots. Our postal system must have the resources to serve everyone in an equitable way. Delayed mails can be quite catastrophic in the middle of a presidential election, and that too, while the world is under the grip of a pandemic.

But the problem is not an easy one. USPS lost some $9 billion last year and has been facing losses for many years straight, so the agency needs shoring up big time. There are further plans underway to provide USPS with up to $25 billion for revenue losses and operational expenses arising out of the pandemic.

But will another legislative package on Covid19 be passed? Trump himself is in favor of starving USPS of federal assistance – such that efforts to expand mail-in voting slow down – insisting without evidence that mail-in voting leads to potential election fraud. Also, what are the chances of the proposal now getting through the GOP-controlled Senate?

The Post Office is supposed to be an apolitical agency. Yes, it needs overhaul. Yes, its operating model needs a thorough refresh. Yes, its staggering debt and unfunded employee benefits need to be managed differently. But let not Treasury or any other political interference dictate the future of the Post Office. The USPS should never be allowed to become a political football.

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