WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 1,200 groups ranging from the Package Coalition, whose members include Amazon.com <AMZN.O>, to small town newspapers sent a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday urging support for the U.S. Postal Service, which was struggling before a pandemic slashed its revenues.
The letter from the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service and others noted that the postal service had seen revenues drop as advertising was cut during a partial economic shutdown aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 61,000 Americans.
The leader urged House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “to provide enough funding to enable USPS to survive and serve its customers, the American people, during this exceptionally trying time.”
The Postal Service has said that it may not be able to continue service past September without help. The U.S. Congress authorized the Treasury Department to lend it up to $10 billion as part of an earlier $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package but that funding is in question.
President Donald Trump last week threatened to block federal aid for the postal service unless it raised rates it charges online shippers like Amazon.com. The president has long accused the post office of charging too little for packages. Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post newspaper, which Trump has accused of unfair coverage of his administration.
The letter said the post office enabled companies to survive by shipping orders during the pandemic, when many stores are closed.
“It is of particularly acute need in rural areas of the country, where there are no alternatives, and often not even broadband,” the letter said.
In addition to the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service and the Package Coalition, the letter was signed by the American Catalog Mailers Association, Consumer Action, the National Retail Federation and a long list of rural and small town publications like the Ely Echo in Minnesota near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Jonathan Oatis)