Key Republican leaders in Congress have raised further doubts as to whether the USPS will receive the financial help it has requested, saying that the latest data suggest that the agency is in better shape than earlier suggested.
One of the virus relief laws already enacted provided for additional authority for USPS to borrow $10 billion from the Treasury, following its projections that it might not be able to meet payroll as early as September.
A later virus relief bill that has passed the House would provide $25 billion of further financial help but that measure has been stalled by Senate Republican leadership, in part because of that issue. Separate legislation (HR-7015) providing the $25 billion with requirements for oversight by the postal service IG has been introduced in the House, with some Republican support.
However, a letter Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., ranking Republican on the House subcommittee on government operations, challenges the need for further aid.
“According to recent numbers from USPS, the agency’s revenues were higher during the first three months of the coronavirus crisis and were even higher than their revenues from the same period last year. This conflicts starkly with the picture the agency painted at the beginning of the U.S. outbreak, which it has used to justify its requests for a multibillion-dollar taxpayer bailout,” said a letter to the USPS.
“USPS revenues were down initially, but they have since recovered dramatically due to an increase in package volume that is apparently rivaling volumes leading up to Christmas,” they added.
The White House has opposed additional aid to the Postal Service unless it is accompanied by operational changes that it has not specified in detail but that apparently would include charging more for parcel delivery, a main financial bright spot for the USPS through its financial troubles of recent years.