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Carper, colleagues urge Trump administration to provide funds to USPS during coronavirus

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sens. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, and Gary Peters, D-Michigan, and Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York, and Gerald E. Connolly, D-Virgina, on April 3 pressed President Donald Trump’s administration to quickly disburse a loan of up to $10 billion authorized by Congress in the most recent coronavirus legislative package to address the U.S. Postal Service’s immediate financial needs.

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting decline in economic activity have dramatically reduced the USPS’ business activities and depleted the agency’s financial resources. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the members pressed the administration to quickly provide the loan to maintain this crucial lifeline for all communities, including seniors and Americans in rural areas, who may not have access to alternative services, during this public health emergency.

Despite the additional financial burdens brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, USPS has continued to deliver to every community and every address in the country. On March 20, USPS notified Congress that, due to the coronavirus outbreak and its resulting decline in revenue, it could be forced to limit or cease operations by the end of the fiscal year. At that time, USPS provided revenue projections indicating that the agency could lose $12.6 billion in revenue this fiscal year, which would devastate its ability to operate.

“The coronavirus emergency and resulting decline in economic activity have jeopardized the Postal Service’s ability to continue providing essential services to every American,” wrote the members. “During the coronavirus pandemic, the Postal Service is incurring additional costs as it continues to provide safe deliveries and services to every member of the public, including costs of additional facility cleanings, purchasing critical supplies and training staff on new procedures, in addition to regular operating costs.”

“Meanwhile, the Postal Service continues to provide universal, essential services in every community across the nation, delivering medications, emergency information, home supplies and more,” the members continued. “The Postal Service is a lifeline for seniors and for people in rural areas, who often have less access to other services, particularly during this crisis. Postal workers deliver mail and packages to 159 million households and businesses each day, including over 1 billion prescriptions last year.”

On March 27, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, which included a provision allowing USPS to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury Department, if the agency determines it “will not be able to fund operating expenses” without assistance. The act authorizes Mnuchin and the USPS to agree to the terms of the loan, at a time when the USPS has critical and urgent financial needs. In their letter, the members called on Mnuchin to make these funds available in a timely manner, under fair terms and conditions that comply with existing statute and the intent of the CARES Act.

Carper serves as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/349C5VA.