The stimulus bill that was introduced yesterday by Democrats in the House contains a $25 billion emergency bailout for the Postal Service which is described as being put forth to replace “revenue forgone due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
In addition to the emergency appropriations, the bill would eliminate the current debt of the Postal Service and reset its borrowing authority to the level in current law ($15 billion) by eliminating its current $11 billion debt to the Department of Treasury. The proposal would require Treasury to lend to the Postal Service if requested and eliminate the $3 billion annual borrowing limit in current law.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) are pushing the Senate to take up the House stimulus bill to “save our nation’s Postal Serivce” and called the situation with the Postal Service “a national emergency.”
In a letter sent today to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the lawmakers wrote, “Postal Service officials warn that, without immediate intervention, the precipitous drop off in mail use across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic could shutter the Postal Service’s doors as early as June.”
The Postal Service is no stranger to losing money, often losing billions each fiscal year, with its losses now spanning over a decade. Its last annual report stated that it suffered an $8.8 billion net loss in fiscal year 2019.
The Trump administration has warned before that at the rate the agency has been losing money, a taxpayer bailout might eventually be necessary. If what Maloney and Connolly have said about the Postal Service’s current situation is accurate, the coronavirus may be the event that finally pushes the Postal Service over the edge and forces the government to prop it up financially.
The Postal Service likes to say that it receives no taxpayer funds and operates independently. In its last earnings report, the closing line reads, “The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.”
If the House lawmakers are successful in enacting this legislation, it appears that will no longer ring true.