This week, Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California proposed legislation that could potentially help put a dent in USPS’ financial woes. The bill, if enacted, would let the Postal Service ship alcohol like the other major carriers can. This has long been a topic of debate between Congress and USPS, and we raise a glass to Congresswoman Speier for bringing the issue forth again!
Introducing the USPS Shipping Equity Act
Congreswoman Speier’s proposed bill is titled the USPS Shipping Equity Act. The main idea of the bill is simple. It proposes finally ending the restrictions prohibiting USPS from shipping alcohol that have been in place since Prohibition in 1920.
Speier’s reasons behind the USPS Shipping Equity Act are purely financial—and they make sense. In one statement, Speier summed up the bill’s potential economic benefits to the Postal Service.
“In 2016, California was America’s top destination for the direct shipment of wine, yet consumers and manufacturers are prohibited from using the US Postal Service to ship or deliver these everyday products,” she said.
Why Can’t USPS Ship Alcohol In the First Place?
In a nutshell, USPS can’t ship alcohol because of laws that were enacted back in the Prohibition era. Yes, you read that correctly. These laws haven’t changed in nearly one hundred years. Alcohol has been perfectly legal in the United States for decades now (provided a consumer is 21 or older). Quite frankly, there’s no logical reason why these shipping restrictions still exist.
Considering the age we live in, the fact that the Postal Service still can’t ship alcohol leaves a lot of us scratching our heads. This outdated legislation puts USPS at a major competitive disadvantage for no reason other than “that’s just the way it is.”
The USPS alcohol paradox also brings one other question to light: how can it be legal to now mail hemp-derived CBD, but not to ship alcohol?
Shipping Alcohol Could Help USPS Pull Itself Out Of Its Financial Troubles
Simply put, shipping alcohol would generate millions of dollars a year in revenue for the Postal Service. The economic benefits alone are enough to move this bill to legislation. USPS lost $3.9 billion in 2018, and it needs all the financial help it can get.
In a recent press release, Congresswoman Speier noted the alcohol shipment market reached $3 billion in 2018, and it will only keep growing.
“Congress needs to lift this ban for the benefit of beverage manufacturers, consumers, and our struggling Postal Service,” Speier added.