White House rejects bailout for U.S. Postal Service battered by coronavirus

www.boston.com
6 min read
fairly difficult
"We are at a critical juncture in the life of the Postal Service."
Through rain, sleet, hail, and even a pandemic, mail carriers serve every address in the United States, but the coronavirus crisis is shaking the foundation of the U.S. Postal Service in new and dire ways.

The Postal Service's decades-long financial troubles have worsened dramatically as the volume of the kind of mail that pays the agency's bills ― first-class and marketing mail ― withers during the pandemic. The USPS needs an infusion of money, and President Donald Trump has blocked potential emergency funding for the agency that employs around 600,000 workers, repeating instead the false claim that higher rates for internet shipping companies Amazon, FedEx and UPS would right the service's budget.

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Trump threatened to veto the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or Cares Act, if the legislation contained any money directed to bail out the postal agency, according to a senior Trump administration official and a congressional official who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if [money for the Postal Service] was in it," the Trump administration official said. "I don't know if we used the v-bomb, but the president was not going to sign it, and we told them that."

Instead, Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., added a last minute $10 billion Treasury Department loan to the Cares Act to keep the agency on firmer ground through the spring of 2020, according to a Democratic committee aide.

Lawmakers originally agreed to a $13 billion direct grant the Postal Service would not have to repay. That effort was blocked by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who warned such a move could blow up the relief bill. A committee aide said Mnuchin told lawmakers during negotiations: "You can have a loan or you can have nothing at all."

Only the $10 billion loan to the Postal Service made it into law, over Mnuchin's…
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