House lawmakers unveil bill to end ban on Postal Service shipments of alcohol

House lawmakers on Monday introduced bipartisan legislation to end the ban on the U.S. Postal Service mailing shipments of alcohol. 

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) said in a statement that he, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and 17 other House co-sponsors have introduced the USPS Shipping Equity Act, which would allow the Postal Service to ship licensed alcoholic beverages directly to consumers over the age of 21, in accordance with state and local shipping regulations.

“Currently, the U.S. Postal Service cannot ship beer, wine, or distilled spirits, because of an outdated, Prohibition-era ban. This nonsensical regulation limits shipping options for producers and customers alike, affecting many of Central Washington’s local craft breweries and wineries,” Newhouse said. “The USPS Shipping Equity Act would give rural producers access to another option for shipping alcoholic beverages, thereby increasing market access and enabling Central Washington businesses to continue to invest in our communities.”

The bill lets the Postal Service develop its own regulations to ensure that alcoholic beverages are safely delivered to consumers who meet identification checks.

“In most states, private carriers such as FedEx and UPS are already delivering alcoholic beverages. It makes no sense to create a competitive disadvantage for the USPS by barring them from these kinds of shipments, especially given the Postal Service’s dire financial condition,” Speier said in the statement. 

The bill is supported by 12 unions, including the American Postal Workers Union, National Postal Mail Handlers Union and WineAmerica.

“This legislation will benefit adult consumers while helping the U.S. Postal Service, with its more than 600,000 employees, generate much-needed revenue,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, in a statement shared to The Hill. “The pandemic has greatly accelerated the shift to online shopping and consumers have come to expect new delivery options and greater convenience. For the U.S. Postal Service to compete effectively against other carriers, it must be able to evolve with the changing marketplace.”

—Updated at 8:49 p.m.

Tags alcohol delivery Dan Newhouse Jackie Speier U.S. Postal Service

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