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Lambda Legal and HRC Urge Congress to Protect the USPS

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August 21, 2020
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Today, Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — two of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organizations — sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Delivering for America Act, which will protect and strengthen the United States Postal Service (USPS). 

The Delivering for America Act would prohibit the USPS from implementing any new changes that would impact mail delivery until January 2021 or the end of the COVID-19 pandemic; provide $25 billion in emergency COVID-19 funding that USPS requested; require USPS to treat all official election mail as First-Class mail; and explicitly reverse any changes already implemented to the operations or policies of the Postal Service that delay mail delivery.

It also prohibits:

  • Removal, decommission or other termination of mail sorting machines and removals of mailboxes; 
  • Any revision of existing service standards; 
  • Closing, consolidating, or reducing the hours of any post office or postal facility; 
  • Any prohibition on paying overtime to Postal Service officers or employees, and;
  • Any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards or cause a decline in measurements of performance relative to those standards.

Read the full letter here.

“The US Postal Service is a critical lifeline for so many in our communities – including transgender people and everyone living with HIV who rely on the Post Office to deliver life-saving medications,” said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings. “It is not just about voting and mail-in ballots, but about a service that has been essential since the beginning of our republic. The U.S. Congress needs to act now so that this lifeline remains reliable for those whose very lives depend upon it.”

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we protect and fund the U.S. Postal Service, which will be crucial to ensuring we have a free and fair election,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “No one should have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their fundamental right to vote, particularly during a global pandemic. There are tens of millions of people depending on the Postal Service to register to vote, to receive polling information and to vote by mail. Congress must pass the Delivering for America Act and ensure that the Postal Service continues its vital role for our health, economy and democracy.”

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. LGBTQ people are particularly at risk of having health complications due to coronavirus because they are more likely to have compromised respiratory systems. For example, 21% of LGBTQ people have asthma compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ people.  Read the full brief here.

The United States Postal Service’s importance goes well beyond the election. Many in the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender and people living with HIV are especially dependent upon the mail for prescription medications. The reliance on the postal service is also profound for those in communities of advanced age or with disabilities, and/or those living in rural or Native communities who often lack other affordable delivery options. There are nearly 4 million LGBTQ people living in rural America and 3 million LGBTQ people 50 years of age and older.