The Postal Service: Needed Now More Than Ever
Hyatt Hotels, Carnival Cruises, United Airlines, Uber and other corporate interests besieged Congress for relief from the economic devastation wrought by the virus. Retail industries that also have been seriously impacted were seeking financial assistance. UPS and FedEx also would receive financial relief from the thus-far enacted stimulus packages.
As we have witnessed in the past, when the economy sputters, mail volume and postal revenue fall, risking postal sustainability. However, the White House apparently rejected substantive, congressionally crafted provisions in the third stimulus bill, enacted on March 27, to mitigate the damage to the Postal Service from lost mail revenue attributable to COVID-19. It is important to note that the stimulus legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) included a $25 billion appropriation for the Postal Service, $15 billion in additional debt authority, forgiveness for past debt and the ability to adjust delivery points in COVID-impacted communities and to prioritize the delivery of medical products.
The Senate language, crafted by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) under the watchful eye of the White House, provided only $10 billion in additional debt authority, albeit under conditions and limitations dictated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The bill also included House provisions regarding flexible delivery points and the prioritization of medical mail.
A Senate attempt to include a nominal postal appropriation in the bill was rejected by the White House. Ultimately, the Senate bill passed by a 96-0 vote; the House passed the same bill by voice vote.