A Step Forward on Postal Service’s COVID-Relief
On December 27, 2020, after months of political gridlock, the President signed into law another sweeping COVID relief bill, which included vital funding for the Postal Service. This bill will convert the $10 billion additional borrowing authority loan in the March 2020 CARES Act into direct emergency relief to the USPS without requiring repayment. Additionally, while the CARES Act allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to set the conditions of the $10 billion loan, the funding allotted in this bill is available at the Postal Service’s request.
“The $10 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service is a welcome step in the right direction,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “All year, we’ve mobilized and organized to save our national treasure in this most challenging time. From car caravans, to tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress, to millions of petition signatures collected, postal workers and our allies are ready to stand up to defend the public Postal Service. We should be encouraged that this first step is owed to our collective efforts.”
“I also want to recognize APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard for her tireless and effective work on the various legislative proposals,” Dimondstein continued. “Together with the efforts of our national, state and local leaders and activists, our retirees and the APWU auxiliary, as well as many friends in both sides of the aisle in Congress, there was never a moment that Congress could ignore the APWU’s priorities in the relief debate.”
“Postal workers publicly displayed their commitment to the American people by continuing to sort and deliver medicine, letters, and packages during this pandemic,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “Our members preserved democracy in the General election by processing tens-of-millions of mail-in ballots. We’ve proven the United States Postal Service is truly the people’s Post Office, serving everyone regardless of who they are or where they live.”
The APWU had fought to include language from the HEROES Act, which was passed in the House in May 2020 and valued at $3 trillion, in this bill. However, lawmakers compromised and agreed to only spend roughly $900 billion on this relief package, resulting in reduced or nonexistent funding for the American people and critical programs. Many members of Congress, as well as the incoming administration, recognize that another stimulus bill must pass in 2021 to make sure families and state and local governments can weather the disastrous economic effects of COVID-19.
While postal workers celebrate this initial victory, we must continue our efforts in the months ahead. Our service to the public remains vital to the country, and our political activism will be critical to preserving our national treasure for generations to come.