Katko: Congress Must Provide Relief to U.S. Postal Service

May 11, 2020
Press Release

SYRACUSE, NY— U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today highlighted the need to provide relief to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Rep. Katko joined with members of New York’s Congressional Delegation to urge Congressional Leaders to provide emergency funding for the USPS in future COVID-19 relief packages.

More than ever, Central New Yorkers are depending on the Postal Service to deliver critical goods, such as medications, as well as economic stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. But with Postal Management predicting revenue may drop by 50%, the USPS may cease to function by the summer without additional support. In response, Rep. Katko called on Congressional Leaders to provide $25 billion in emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion for projects to modernize the Postal Service, and $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury to ensure long-term solvency of the USPS.

“Since coming to Congress, I have consistently supported the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), and the men and women who work there.  The services that the USPS provide are critical to Central New York and our nation, and even more so now,” said Rep. Katko. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Central New Yorkers are more dependent than ever on the USPS to deliver life-saving medications, economic impact payments, unemployment benefits, and many other important deliveries. Unfortunately, as more Americans rely on these services, without additional support, the Postal Service is at-risk of cutting deliveries and services by the start of the summer. For this reason, I joined members of New York’s Congressional Delegation in requesting immediate attention to ensure the USPS can continue operating during this crisis.” 

Rep. Katko sent this request alongside Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, King, Brindisi, Delgado, Espaillat, Jeffries, Sean Patrick Maloney, Meng, Nadler, Rice, Serrano, Clarke, Engel, Higgins, Meeks, Morelle, Ocasio-Cortez, Rose, Suozzi, Stefanik, Velázquez, and Tonko.

The full text of their request can be found below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer:

The coronavirus crisis is wreaking havoc on the U.S. Postal Service.  Without immediate help, the Postal Service—a vital staple of American society since 1775—could cease to function by this summer.  This crisis is also affecting the State of New York more than any other.  There were 287 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 14 deaths among postal workers in New York as of April 20, 2020.

As a direct result of the coronavirus crisis, first class and business mail volume across the country has dropped at an alarming rate.  Mail volume is down by more than 30% from the same period last year.  Over the next ten years, the Postal Service estimates that losses caused by the coronavirus crisis would be $54 billion.

This is a national emergency.  The American people rely on the Postal Service to deliver crucial goods and services every day, including more than a billion life-saving medications last year alone, millions of economic stimulus checks and unemployment benefits to help during this crisis, and 2020 Census forms for every household in America. 

In New York, the Postal Service delivers to 7.7 million addresses and has more than 1,800 Post Offices.  In our state, the Postal Service employed 44,675 people and paid close to $3 billion in wages in 2018. New York also will rely heavily on the Postal Service to conduct its primary on June 23, 2020, during which no-excuse absentee ballots will be accepted.

 The Postal Service is a fundamental component of America’s economic infrastructure, providing affordable, universal delivery of mail and e-commerce packages to more than 160 million households and businesses. The Postal Service propels a $1.6 trillion mailing industry that employs 7.3 million people.  It does all of this while operating as a business and receiving next to nothing in taxpayer dollars.

Both Democrats and Republicans supported large infusions of liquidity for other industries and companies that are critical to our nation’s economy, and we must do the same now to save the Postal Service. 

The Postal Board of Governors has asked for a package that includes $25 billion in emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion for “shovel-ready” projects to modernize the Postal Service, and access to $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from the Treasury.

To be clear, these requests were put forth unanimously by a Board of Governors with a Republican majority—all of whom were appointed by President Trump.

The Postal Service is an indispensable component of America’s critical infrastructure, and its workers are on the frontlines every single day delivering information and packages to the American people.  We strongly support emergency funding for the Postal Service and urge you to do the same.