USPS Drama

April 1, 2021

What’s the drama over the USPS and the 2020 Election?


United States Postal Service

Unofficial creed: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

“The Postal Service receives NO tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.” (USPS)

Important Background

  • The USPS is a financial mess.
  • Why? Less business & huge liabilities (debt, pensions, etc.). It lost $78B from 2007-2019.
  • Your state determines how you vote. The federal government DOES NOT administer elections – state election boards do. The federal gov’t has oversight over the USPS which assists delivery of absentee & mail-in ballots on a state level.

A 2020 Warning

  • Mail-in ballots and delays surged during COVID-19 elections; Two of NY’s June congressional races took 6 weeks for final count.
  • Some state election boards are trying to make mail-in ballots more accessible in part to enable voters to avoid crowds.
  • In July, USPS warned 40+ state election offices to plan for potential delays and recommended they send ballots to voters as early as possible.

Whats Happening Now?

  • The House of Representatives, led by Democrats, carved out $25B for USPS as part of an emergency economic stimulus bill to cushion the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic, PLUS $3.6B to states to help manage the election.
  • Pres. Trump calls this funding a “bailout” – an unnecessary add-on. Pres. alleges Democrats want to increase mail-in voting in order to tilt the election against him and risk voter fraud.

And then there’s this…

  • A new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, took over in June.
  • DeJoy is a businessman and Republican donor who has promised to help USPS cut costs and shore-up finances.
  • Democrats accuse him of purposefully cutting resources right when the nation needs it most, and asked the FBI to investigate. He denies any wrongdoing and postponed any changes until after the election.
“Nice try, Postmaster General DeJoy, but the House will still be passing our bill to ensure the delivery of the mail through the election. We will deliver for America by voting on Saturday. #DontMessWithUSPS”

House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) called her colleagues back to D.C. (they were expected to be in their districts until September) to vote on a bill prohibiting any proposed changes to USPS’s operations and service standards until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“…(Democrats) want to send in millions and millions of ballots…They’re being lost, they’re being discarded. They’re finding them in piles. It’s going to be a catastrophe. So — and this is beyond the Post Office.”

Pres. Trump alleging Democrats want funding for Post Office to increase mail-in voting that will favor them. The President’s critics accuse him of voter suppression for his unwillingness to give additional money to the USPS.

unions calls the potential challenge of extra votes a “piece of cake” with proper planning. The fate of the bill remains TBD. A previous COVID-19 economic stimulus bill granted a $10B loan to the USPS. The USPS has repeatedly borrowed from the Treasury in recent years.

Here’s the GAO (Government Accountability Office) report on the financial straits of the USPS:

Here’s an announcement about a recent $10B loan from the Treasury to the Postal Service:

Here’s a write-up from back in April on the state of the Post Office: The Postal Service needs a bailout. Congress is partly to blame. 

by Jenna Lee,