Democratic leaders of committees overseeing the Postal Service have urged the Treasury Department to quickly make available to the USPS the funds approved in a recent Coronavirus relief law, while additional funds may be included in a planned further relief bill.
The measure provides the USPS with authority to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury, following a warning from postal management that otherwise the agency could run out of operating cash by the end of the current fiscal year, September 30.
The USPS could lose up to $12.6 billion in revenues this fiscal year as a result of Coronavirus pandemic, the USPS said, raising the possibility that without a cash infusion it would need to cease operations.
However, questions have arisen regarding issues such as the interest to be charged on a loan and whether the Treasury Department would impose conditions on the USPS; the Trump administration has consistently favored cost-cutting measures such as limiting rights of postal unions to bargain on compensation while potentially privatizing some services.
“We expect the Treasury Department to fully comply with federal statutes and refrain from setting any conditions that would infringe on the Postal Service’s statutory authorities,” said a letter to the department from Democratic leaders of several House and Senate committees.
The recently-enacted law, the “CARES Act,” falls well short of the provisions of a House bill that was offered as an alternative but which was set aside in the push to get the CARES Act in effect.
That alternative bill would have cancelled the debt the Postal Service owes to the Treasury for not meeting its obligation to pre-fund retiree health insurance for years and would have provided $15 billion in borrowing authority.