| Washington Post
House Democrats want the next round of coronavirus aid to include a massive bailout of the U.S. Postal Service, which has experienced declining revenues for years, exacerbated further by the coronavirus epidemic.
But Republicans and President Trump want significant reforms implemented before providing new funding. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters she’ll include a $25 billion bailout of the Postal Service in a massive economic aid package that is likely to top $1 trillion.
"We have to fight for the Postal Service," Pelosi said this week. "And people across the country are all tweeting and writing to me and stuff like that, saying we really — protect our post office." The post office bailout proposal is similar to a plan House Democrats proposed earlier this year. It was ultimately excluded from the $2.2 trillion spending bill passed by Congress on March 27.
House Democratic leaders are eager to get federal aid for the Postal Service in the next round of economic aid.
“It is an essential service that we need to maintain, and I think there is a consensus in the House of Representative's Democratic Party leadership and the members that that is necessary and appropriate,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said. “So, we want to see that included.”
Republicans and Trump say the post office is in need of significant reforms needed to boost revenue and cut costs. A Government Accountability Office report released this week reported the USPS suffered a net loss of $78 billion from 2007 to 2019.
“USPS’s current business model is not financially sustainable due to declining mail volumes, increased compensation and benefits costs, and increased unfunded liabilities and debt,” the GAO reported. “Absent congressional action on critical foundational elements of the USPS business model, USPS’s mission and financial solvency are increasingly in peril.”
The GAO called on Congress to consider new reforms to the Postal Service to improve operations and financial health. Congress last implemented post office reforms in 2006, but Republicans say new measures are needed.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January asked Postmaster General Megan Brennan for a 10-year business plan to restore financial stability to the USPS. Brennan has yet to produce that plan.
The top Republican on Oversight who requested the plan, former Rep. Mark Meadows, is now Trump’s chief of staff.
House Oversight Republicans issued a statement Friday, urging Brennan to “finally provide the Committee with the USPS proposal for a sustainable, long-term business plan that was promised over a year ago.”
Hoyer told reporters this week he talked to White House officials in March about providing money to the post office.
Brennan warned Friday it cannot keep operating without a bailout due to accelerated revenue loss caused by the pandemic. The USPS calculates it will lose $13 billion this year due to the coronavirus and $54.3 billion in additional losses over the next decade.
"Although the pandemic did not have significant impact on our financial condition in our second quarter, we anticipate that our business will suffer potentially dire consequences for the remainder of the year, and we are already feeling those impacts during the last half of March,” Brennan said Friday. “At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the pandemic is starting to have a significant effect on our business with mail volumes plummeting as a result of the pandemic.”
In April, the Postal Service Board of Governors asked Congress to appropriate $25 billion to offset coronavirus-related losses, $25 billion to modernize the post office, and another $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority from the Treasury.
The White House has so far frowned on providing significant new revenue to the USPS without reforms.
Trump signaled last month he wants the Postal Service to find a way to increase revenue, suggesting they charge companies such as Amazon more money to deliver its packages.
Brennan is retiring next month. Trump has appointed Louis DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman and top Trump donor, to serve as the next postmaster general, beginning June 15.
“The post office should raise the price of the packages to the companies, not to the people,” Trump said on April 24. “And if they did that, it would be a whole different story.” Trump added, “If they don’t raise the price, I’m not signing anything.” READ MORE