Bipartisan Bill Could Mean $25 Billion Stimulus to Postal Service
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The slowdown of mail service across the country is causing a ripple effect that is placing a strain on small businesses that depend on timely delivery. While some cite political pressures for the slow down, the wide-ranging impact of the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the U.S. Postal Service, now reporting a $2.2 billion loss in the three months that ended in June.


A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is proposing a $25 billion stimulus through the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act to cover revenue losses that could top $20 billion in two years.

Jeremy Cohen, who helps run a commercial print shop called Target Print & Mail in Tallahassee, says he's witnessed some of the mailing woes.

"You might be able to say that the mail delivery is happening potentially a day or couple days later than it typically would, but it's still achieving the desired outcome," he states. "I mean, there is still messages being delivered to the mailbox. "

On Friday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the agency's financial position is dire and called for Congress to infuse at least $10 billion to cover operating losses and regulatory changes.

Proponents of the bill say swift action is needed to brace for the increase in mail volume ahead of the highs takes presidential election in November.

John McHugh, a former U.S. representative from New York, is a spokesman for the Package Coalition, an alliance of retailers concerned about maintaining delivery service. He says a two or three-day late delivery may seem insignificant to some, but it could make or break a business that depends on timely delivery for things such as emergency health supplies.

"And if that service is not available, what happens to those small businesses?" McHugh states. "They shut up, they shut down. That's horrible for them. It certainly isn't beneficial to their customers. "

The legislation was introduced by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein. It calls for a plan to maintain the longevity of the Postal Service and added protective equipment for workers to combat COVID-19.

With small businesses making up 99.8% of Florida businesses, McHugh says they need all the support they can get to stay afloat at times when revenues already are low.

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A weekly podcast focusing on the people and stories shaping Florida politics produced by Trimmel Gomes an award-winning journalist and former statewide news director of Florida Public Radio. Gomes hosted its flagship program "Capital Report" and created the public affairs program "It's About Florida." Gomes is political commentator and regular political contributor to WTXL ABC 27 in Tallahassee.

 

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