As the Trump administration continues its refusal to save the U.S. Postal Service from financial collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic, people nationwide are stepping up to bolster the vital federal agency by purchasing stamps in bulk and demanding action from Congress and the White House.
While we’re all under quarantine, let’s mail letters to our friends and families.
Send packages using USPS
Let’s save the post office.
— miss kris (@KrisHuston77) April 13, 2020
Save the USPS, someone said. #BuySomeStamps! So I bought three sheets of Gwen Ifill stamps.
They still had them, but I got this message:
“Due to a high volume of orders at this time, please allow an additional 2-3 days for the delivery of your order.”
Keep it up! #SaveUSPS!
— Peggy Stuart (@PeggyStuart) April 12, 2020
The viral campaign took off after U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan last week called on Congress to take immediate action to shore up the USPS. First-class and marketing mail, the service’s top two funding sources, have slowed down significantly due to the pandemic.
“We are at a critical juncture in the life of the Postal Service,” Brennan said. “The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover. We now estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the Postal Service’s net operating loss by more than $22 billion dollars over the next eighteen months, and by over $54 billion dollars over the longer term, threatening our ability to operate.”
According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump in March personally blocked an emergency funding package for the USPS, claiming that higher shipping rates for private retailers delivery companies including Amazon and FedEx would create competition for the service and allow it to retain revenue.
After lawmakers agreed to including a $13 billion bailout for USPS in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the administration suggested it would block the funding.
“You can have a loan, or you can have nothing at all,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly told Congress, leading to a $10 billion loan for the USPS instead.
The service has gone without federal funding since 2006, subsisting instead on revenue from postage stamps and other products.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday joined Brennan in calling on Congress to save the postal service, saying Trump is looking to fulfill a longtime right-wing goal of privatizing mail delivery.
On social media, supporters of the USPS shared how millions of people have relied on the service which dates back to 1792 and whose existence is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
“The USPS is a lifeline for rural communities like mine in [Illinois’ 16th congressional district] and we should fight to strengthen it, not let it fail,” U.S. House candidate Dani Brzozowski tweeted. “The USPS employs over 600,000 Americans, and over 100,000 veterans. Their jobs are on the line.”
I live deep in the boonies & don’t have an address that mail delivers to so I rely on my Post Office for 100% of the things that get sent to me. There’s not a 2nd party box rental place within 30 miles. Rural communities will be SOL if the postal service is privatized. #SaveUSPS
— Trillian Spencer (@TotallyTrillian) April 12, 2020
The service is a “vital part of the public health response,” Association of Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson tweeted, noting that millions of Americans obtain their “life-saving and life-supporting medicines, supplies, food, and other essential goods” through the mail.
USPS delivers life-saving and life-supporting medicines, supplies, food and other essential goods. Over 1.2 billion prescriptions (4 million a day) delivered already. #SaveUSMail 3/3 pic.twitter.com/Fb0fA2vTv9
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) April 13, 2020
In order to save the USPS, advocates said, Congress must take urgent action—and simply leaving it up to consumers to buy postal products, though an inspiring gesture, would not be enough.
Hey folks, it’s awesome that you want to buy lots of stamps. We currently dig the WPA & Marvin Gaye sets. But #SaveThePostOffice needs a collective solution.
We need to get Congress to act. Send them a message. Then a letter. With your favorite stamp! https://t.co/wQ3WANwQPL
— usmailnotforsale (@usmailnot4sale) April 13, 2020
“Our public Postal Service needs all American leaders—Democrats and Republicans alike—to provide urgent and ongoing financial support from the Federal Government during this public health and economic crisis,” wrote U.S. Mail Not for Sale, an advocacy group, in a petition.
Critics of Trump’s refusal to bail out the postal service—while approving a relief package which includes a $500 billion fund for wealthy, private corporations to use with little-to-no congressional oversight—said the attacks on the USPS are likely related to the right-wing push against a vote-by-mail system amid the pandemic.
The USPS predates the US Constitution. It is the best postal system in the world. Veterans make up a significant portion of the 600,000 workers who keep it running. We absolutely must save it. National vote by mail could both protect the postal service and our democracy. https://t.co/wGRizxyK6F
— Evan Sutton (@3vanSutton) April 11, 2020
“There is no [vote-by-mail] if there is no postal service,” wrote historian Joshua Zeitz. “Democrats in Congress need to draw a line in the sand.”