The United States Postal Service (USPS) is America’s favorite federal agency: In 2019, 74 percent of Americans said the Postal Service’s work is “good” or “excellent.” But this popularity has not immunized the Postal Service from economic hardship. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, mail volume is expected to decline by as much as 60 percent. And Postmaster General Megan Brennan has stated that without support from the federal government—which has yet to settle on how best to fund the organization—the USPS may run out of cash by the end of September.
The primary goal of the USPS is to deliver mail to every mailbox in the United States, six days a week. But a lack of USPS funding could affect not only mail delivery but also a number of other Postal Service functions as well—including law enforcement and disaster response. The USPS’s postal inspectors work to deter and investigate mail-related crimes. And the Postal Service also plays a critical role in protecting national security interests. The enormous infrastructure operated by the USPS, which delivers and processes 48 percent of the world’s mail, is a unique federal asset that can be—and has been—utilized to respond to natural disasters and terrorist attacks.