Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Newest McConnell Relief Plan Fails in Senate

Today, the Senate once again failed to advance a relief package, demonstrating the lack of ability to provide additional COVID-19 relief to the American people.

The Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses, a $500 billion measure and far cry from the House-passed $3.5 trillion HEROES Act, is the third attempt by the Senate in recent months to advance an additional relief package since it passed the CARES Act earlier this year.

As it relates to the Postal Service, the bill would convert the $10 billion loan approved in the CARES Ac into a grant. The bill would only make funds available when Postal Service cash balances fall below $8 billion. In addition, the measure would provide the Postal Service to provide a report to Congress on how Covid has increased its expenses. Inclusion of any reference to the Postal Service marks progress considering the last failed package made no mention of the Postal Service.


The measure pales in comparison to the House-passed HEREOS Act (H.R. 6800) and recently House-passed Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015). Both bills would provide $25 billion in Covid-related relief to the agency. The HEROES Act also removes restrictions placed in the CARES Act on the $10 billion in added USPS borrowing authority from the U.S. Treasury and provides hazard or premium pay of $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages up to $10,000 for essential front-line workers, including letter carriers and other postal employees. The Delivering for America Act, which passed the House during August recess would prevent the Postal Service from making changes in service that would result in delays during the pandemic.

“Senators are clearly hearing from the public that they want to ensure the Postal Service is provided relief,” said NALC President Rolando. “Unfortunately, Senate Republican leadership is incapable of providing that relief to the American people, who are relying on the Postal Service now more than ever.”

McConnell’s bill falls short across the board. With record unemployment and benefits that expired at the end of July, the package would have only given states the option of providing $300-per-week in federal unemployment benefits through the end of December. In addition, the bill would have “repurposed” some unused funds in the Paycheck Protection Program to give a limited second round of funding to some small businesses. In keeping with Leader McConnell’s top priority, the bill would have provided protections for businesses, health care providers and schools against personal injury claims due to Covid-1919.

While McConnell defended his newest relief package as a “targeted” approach, Democrats slammed the effort calling it “emaciated,” considering the last failed package was refereed to as “skinny.” With the Senate unable to advance any relief measures, it is unclear as to what will happen next. The House continues to press for passage of the HEROES Act but reportedly is willing to reduce the price tag from $3.5 trillion to the $2 trillion mark. For its part, the White House continues to send mixed messaging regarding dollar amount. Following the failed Senate vote on the $500 billion measure, the White House reported that it believes the number should be $1.5 trillion, creating more difficulties for Senators. Negotiations will continue and NALC members should continue calling their Senators at 844-477-7651 to urge them to provide Postal Service relief.

Return to Legislative Updates


The free NALC apps for smartphones provide convenient access to tools and information about issues affecting active and retired letter carriers. Information on downloading and using the apps is in our apps section.