Coronavirus could shutter Postal Service by summer, lawmakers say

U.S. postal workers are at risk of losing jobs if COVID-19 legislation doesn't go through

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The U.S. Postal Service may be at risk as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, according to lawmakers.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Gerry Connolly said in a press release from the Committee on Oversight and Reform that the postal service is in need of “urgent help” or else the government agency may “cease operations as early as June.”

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A USPS postal worker load truck parked on the street of midtown of New York City on Feb. 4, 2019.

“Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House,” the Democrats said. “Every community in America relies on the Postal Service to deliver vital goods and services, including life-saving medications.”

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House Democrats introduced a stimulus package known as the "Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act" on Monday, which includes emergency funding for saving the U.S. Postal Service from “imminent bankruptcy,” according to the press release.

The act would provide a $25 billion emergency appropriation if passed and would eliminate current debt for the postal service. It would also require prioritized medical deliveries in light of COVID-19.

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More than one billion prescription drug shipments were fulfilled by the postal service last year, according to the release.

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Aside from lifesaving medical deliveries, the statement highlighted that more than 25 percent of mail-in votes have been distributed through U.S. mail in recent elections, which could be critical for the 2020 election year.

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In the U.S., there are more than 60,110 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 827 deaths related to the respiratory illness, according to data from the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker at the time of publication.

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As of Monday, 40 postal workers have contracted the virus, according to government news website Government Executive.