Do Government Shutdowns Affect the Post Office?
Government shutdowns are becoming more and more common. It seems that every few weeks, the topic of a government shutdown appears in the news. When the Federal government approaches the end of its budget, Congress must enact a new budget for funding to continue the operations of the government. If they fail to act in time, then the government must shut down until funding is put in place. So, is the U.S. Postal Service affected by these shutdowns? Keep reading, and we will tell you exactly how a shutdown affects the post office and give you some details on other government agencies that might be affected by these shutdowns.
Does The Post Office Close During A Government Shutdown?
No, the post office does not close during a government shutdown. Even though the post office is technically owned by the government, it does not receive funding from tax dollars. The postal service is also considered an essential service for the American people. You might think that a government shutdown would lead to a delivery exception for your packages, but this is not the case. This means that even during times when other Federal agencies or organizations might be closed due to a lack of funding, the post office will remain open and serve customers.
Shutdowns can occur for a couple of different reasons. First, if Congress fails to pass a budget before the existing budget runs out, then government agencies will not have the funding to continue operating. Similarly, if the President fails to sign the new budget, then there will be a similar outcome. Lately, the big issue has been the debt ceiling. Congress has been voting every few months to continue to raise the debt ceiling. This allows the Federal government to borrow more money to pay its current obligations to fund government programs like Social Security and Medicare. If the Senate and House of Representatives did not agree to raise the debt ceiling, then the government would not have enough funding to continue operations, and things would need to be shut down.
Postal Service Funding Basics
The main reason that the postal service does not shut down during a government shutdown is that the United States postal service is not funded by the Federal government. Most agencies receive funds, in the form of tax dollars, from the government to fund their operations. However, the post office funds its operations through the sale of postage and other services and not with money from taxpayers.
The USPS is not a for-profit organization, so the prices that it charges are regulated by the government. However, the funds needed to operate the post office, including paying postal worker salaries and other operating costs, come from the sale of postage for mail delivery and other additional services that are sold by the post office.
Postal Service Management Structure
The postal service is run by a group called the Board of Governors. This board is made up of nine members appointed by the President. In addition, the board itself appoints another two members. These two members are the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General. These two people sit on the board, but they are also responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the post office.
The Board of Governors manages the executive decision-making of the postal service, including setting postage rates and making strategic plans about the direction of the business. They also set the rules and policies that the post office will use when serving its customers.
What Causes A Government Shutdown?
A lack of government funding causes a government shutdown. This means that the end of the fiscal year has passed, but lawmakers have not passed a new spending bill for the new fiscal year. Republicans and Democrats often try to blame each other for these shutdowns in hopes of gaining votes in the next election. However, all the lawmakers in Washington, D.C. must work together, along with the Office of Management and Budget, to set and enact appropriate budgets that continue operations of government agencies.
When a shutdown occurs, Federal employees and contract Federal workers experience furloughs and loss of jobs. These employees are left with no income during the shutdown. In some cases, there may be partial government shutdowns. This means that some agencies continue operations as normal while others are closed. Last year, Congress had to work with President Donald Trump to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government operating. Now, under President Joe Biden, the debt ceiling is still being raised so that the government can continue its operations. The Coronavirus pandemic has also had a negative effect on the country’s budget, so shutdowns have been discussed more than usual in the past couple of years.
How Government Shutdowns Affect Other Federal Agencies
Now you know that the post office does not close during a government shutdown, but how are other agencies affected? Here are some of the most common agencies that are affected by a shutdown.
— Social Security Administration
Generally, Social Security is considered an essential government service and is not affected by a shutdown. They will still process monthly benefit payments and make sure that issues are addressed in a timely manner. However, some Social Security services might be affected by a government shutdown. Disability hearings or new benefit applications might be delayed due to a shutdown.
— EPA & FDA
The EPA and FDA both typically cease operations during a shutdown. This can have negative consequences on both the environment and the safety of the American people. Both organizations conduct inspections to help protect citizens, but these inspections do not generally take place during a government shutdown.
— National Parks
Unfortunately, national parks cannot be staffed during a government shutdown. Citizens are not able to enjoy the great benefits of these parks during a shutdown. Since they have no rangers or staff there, the parks are simply locked and shut down.
Flying can be quite a challenge during a government shutdown. TSA workers and air traffic controllers are often furloughed during a shutdown. Most airports must operate with minimal Federal employees, so security lines and airline delays can really start to get long.
The IRS is often partially closed during a government shutdown. While some operations of the organization continue, only the essential services continue. The IRS does not typically process refund payments or perform any other services unless those services are considered essential.
The Bottom Line
The post office does not get tax dollar appropriations from the government, so it is not affected by a government shutdown. The post office gets its funding from the sale of its own products and services, so it is essentially self-funded. Mail delivery and other operations of the post office will continue even when other government entities are closed during a shutdown.
Frequently Asked Questions
What other federal agencies are affected by the shutdown?
There are many agencies that are affected by a shutdown. Agencies like the EPA, FDA, TSA, and National Parks are all affected by government shutdowns. Some agencies, especially those relating to health care like Medicare, are considered essential. The essential agencies will remain open even during a shutdown. When a shutdown occurs, many people are left wondering, “Is the post office open today?” The answer to that question will be yes because the post office is not affected by a shutdown.
How long will the post office remain open for business?
The post office will remain open for business even during a government shutdown. The hours will vary depending on your specific location. Most post offices are open approximately 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM each weekday. Some are also open on Saturday, but the hours are much shorter. Most post offices close by 11:00 AM or noon on Saturday.
What is the post office’s relationship with the federal government?
The post office is part of the Executive branch of the federal government. The government exercises control over the post office. The President appoints the governing board of the post office. However, the post office is not funded by the government. It is self-funded through the sale of postage and other mail services.