Quigley: ‘The post office matters’ in Nov. election
by BRIAN NADIG
Projections which show the U.S. Postal Service running out of money by the end of September is worrisome on several levels, according to U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-5).
"The post office matters for its own sake, for businesses and those who rely on the mail (and) the next election," Quigley said during the May 27 virtual meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association.
The postal service is expected to play a vital role in the Nov. 3 general election given that many voters will want to avoid crowded polling places as long as the coronavirus is a threat, Quigley said.
"We saw the debacle in Wisconsin, and frankly Illinois was not a whole hell of a lot better. … Poll workers got sick here," Quigley said.
Many states have announced plans to expand mail-in voting this fall over the objections of President Donald Trump, who claims that mail voting leads to voter fraud but has offered little evidence to back up his assertion.
The postal service has prided itself on receiving no tax dollars for its operating expenses, instead relying on the sale of stamps and services. However, the agency has experienced a drastic drop in revenue due to the pandemic.
Trump has opposed a taxpayer bailout of the postal service and has said that he will not change his mind on the matter unless the postal service were to increase the package delivery prices it charges Amazon and other large shipping companies. He also wants the postal service to obtain labor concessions from the postal unions.
In May the House of Representatives approved a fifth COVID-19 response package, which included an emergency $25 million appropriation for the postal service, but the Senate did not take up the bill.
Quigley said that the House and Senate will eventually agree on another stimulus package and that it likely will include funding for local and state governments.
Also at the meeting , Quigley said that a priority for the country will be to find ways to open the schools this fall while keeping the students safe. "A tough task," he said.
Some colleges are having their students stay home after Thanksgiving to reduce "travel risks," Quigley said.
Quigley was asked about the challenges of remote learning. He said that WiFi access is worse in rural communities, where some families have to drive to parking lots so that their children can log in and get their assignments.
Quigley also was asked if it should be mandated for people to take a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available. He said that a vaccine could be ready in a year but that its widespread availability could be an issue for several reasons, including whether a country shares the vaccine’s formula with other governments.
"We’ll see how the politics play out," Quigley said.