With the Trump administration adamant about not helping the U.S. Postal Service with a bailout unless it raises package delivery rates 400 percent—a demand pegged to the president’s personal feud with Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post—the fate of the constitutionally-mandated service is in severe jeopardy. And this spring, the coronavirus crisis has added another crushing blow.
Nearly 200 participants tuned in on Wednesday afternoon to hear a discussion of options for the Postal Service. Congress and the Postal Service in a Pandemic featured U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), former U.S. Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY), and former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), each of whom serve or served on congressional Postal Service oversight committees. Davis is also rector of George Mason University.
The hour-long discussion, part of the Schar School’s COVID-19 week of webinars, was moderated by Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell, who relayed astutely informed questions from viewers to the panelists.
The discussion was lively and civil, with several important take-aways: the importance of the post office in rural communities, the tremendous amount of mail delivered each year, the number of packages delivered by postal carriers, and a reminder that the postal service is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. A consensus was emerging by the end: The Postal Service should not be “returned to sender” and should be recast to serve the public with additional and more timely services.