Murkowski Joins Colleagues in Push to Aid the U.S. Postal Service
In an effort to help the United States Postal Service (USPS) overcome the detrimental impacts of COVID-19, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Jon Tester (D-MT) as a cosponsor of S. 4174, the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act. This legislation would provide USPS with up to $25 billion to help address revenue losses and cover operational expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also requires the Board of Governors to transmit to Congress a plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of USPS.
“I continue to hear deep concern from Alaskans over the future of the USPS. Nowhere is this agency more important than the state of Alaska. It connects our communities to each other, to the Lower 48, and to others around the world. With our vast and difficult terrain, a number of communities unconnected by road, and spotty internet connection for many communities, the Postal Service is a primary source of knowledge, commerce, and basic necessities,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “This legislation will be critical to helping the USPS address financial difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. For Alaskans, this is truly a necessity—not a convenience.”
On May 7, 2020, Senator Murkowski led a letter alongside Senators Collins and Feinstein asking leadership to provide “significant emergency appropriations” to USPS in the next stimulus package.
The Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act is supported by: the American Postal Workers Union, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, National Active and Retired Federal Employees, National Association of Postal Supervisors, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the Package Coalition, the PRINTING United Alliance, and United Postmasters and Managers of America.
ADDITIONAL BILL DETAILS:
- Establishes in the Treasury the Postal Service COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
- Appropriates $25 billion to the Fund, to remain available until September 30, 2022.
- Requires the USPS to certify in its quarterly and annual reports to the Postal Regulatory Commission the expenditures necessary to cover lost revenue or operational expenses resulting from the pandemic, with copies to HSGAC and House Oversight.
- Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to transfer from the Fund such amounts, up to the available $25 billion, to the Postal Service within 15 days of any filing with the PRC such amounts necessary to cover pandemic-related losses and expenditures for purposes considered appropriate by the USPS.
- Requires USPS to prioritize the purchase and availability of PPE (including gloves, masks, and sanitizers) to Postal Service employees and facilities and conduct additional cleaning and sanitizing of facilities and delivery vehicles.
- Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to lend the amounts authorized in the CARES Act to the USPS and set the terms and conditions of the loan as those in place on September 29, 2028.
- Requires the new Postmaster General and the Board of Governors to provide to Congress a plan for the long-term solvency of the USPS within 9 months of the bill’s enactment and brief Congress within 6 months.