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The Congressional Black Caucus Praises the Inclusion of $25 Billion in Emergency Funding for the United States Postal Service in the HEROES Act

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Washington, May 16, 2020 | comments

Since its creation by the Second Continental Congress in 1775, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has continued to fulfill and expand its mission to ensure all Americans have access to a nationwide mail system, no matter whether you live in a large urban city or a rural small town. As the Postal Service’s vast network continued to expand, the growing need for workers provided a critical lifeline for the African American community.

Following the Civil War, newly-enfranchised African Americans were appointed to positions in the Postal Service that would otherwise not have been available in other industries. In fact, these stable jobs led to the emergence of a black middle class in the early 20th century. As the “Great Migration” began in the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of African Americans traveled north in search of better career opportunities. Thousands of African Americans found steady careers working for the Postal Service, as the percentage of black postal employees continued to rise in large urban cities.

Today, the United States Postal Service continues to provide an essential lifeline to Americans, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country. Throughout this pandemic, letter carriers and the dedicated employees working at distribution centers and post offices nationwide report to work daily to ensure the delivery of mail, packages, and essential medical supplies. Over the last few months, Congress has provided emergency funding to help offset expected revenue losses to businesses nationwide, although the Postal Service has been overlooked. Without emergency funding, the Postmaster General has indicated USPS may not have funds to operate into the fall.

The HEROES Act includes $25 billion in emergency appropriations to help USPS offset expected revenue losses resulting from the pandemic, as well as ensuring the more than 600,000 employees of USPS have the equipment they need to do their job safely. This emergency funding is crucial—not just to address the financial solvency of USPS, but to ensure Americans nationwide can fulfill their democratic duties to be counted in the 2020 Census and vote in upcoming primary and general elections. Often undercounted, USPS will play a crucial role as Census forms and ballots are delivered to hard-to-count communities as we look to ensure a full and accurate count and robust participation in our elections. 

We want to commend leadership for prioritizing the inclusion of funding for USPS, and urge our colleagues in the House and Senate to support the HEROES Act to ensure the Postal Service receives the funding they need to overcome the financial burden resulting from COVID-19.

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