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Government

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is currently inundated with "unprecedented volumes of mail" as Americans report package delays amid the Christmas holiday weekend.

According to the USPS website banner, the mail carrier is "experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19." The Hill reports that the staggering increase in package volume and the limited number of employees due to the pandemic has created a number of problems for the mail carrier.

On Dec. 14, USPS released a statement urging Americans to keep shipping deadlines in mind when placing time-sensitive as they braced for Dec. 14-21, which was described as the "busiest mailing and shipping week" of the year.

"This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic — and the Postal Service is expecting significant increases in the volume of mail and packages," the statement read. "Sunday delivery has been expanded in select high package volume locations, and the agency already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations."

However, prior to the release of that statement, many people had already reported substantial delays. While speaking to the Associated Press, Austin Race, of Grand Rapids, Mich., placed an order for his father's Christmas gift on Nov. 30. Despite having a 2-day shipping priority and placing the order long before the USPS deadline, his package was still delayed. In fact, as of Thursday, Dec. 24, the package still had not been delivered.

"I do understand the situation, but it's still kind of frustrating," Race said.

Others have faced package delivery challenges due to inaccurate notifications. A woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the publication that "Christmas ornaments she ordered Nov. 17 got stuck in Detroit, despite a Dec. 11 message from the postal service stating that it had already arrived at its destination in Columbus, Ohio."

"I was frustrated last week thinking, 'C'mon, get here,' but now I am just sort of laughing it off," she said.

The latest news about USPS comes just months after Trump-appointed postmaster general Louis DeJoy found himself at the center of controversy for incorporating unprecedented rollbacks that delayed the delivery of mail as the presidential election approached.

At the time, DeJoy was widely accused of making the changes to directly kneecap mail-in voting—an age-old voting method President Donald Trump had waged war against for several months. Although the House approved $25 billion in emergency funding back in August to reverse DeJoy's operational changes, it appears the damage had already been done.

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President-elect Joe Biden

Photo by jlhervàs/ CC BY 2.0

With the Biden-Harris transition in full gear, I can't help but be reminded of my time working on the Obama-Biden transition in late 2008 and early 2009. A quote from the mega-hit musical "Hamilton" keeps popping into my head. There's a scene in which Alexander Hamilton and George Washington are going back and forth during a Cabinet meeting, and Washington says to Hamilton, "Ah, winning was easy, young man. Governing's harder."

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