U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform late last week in a video that unless the U.S. Postal Service gets a federal bailout it will run out of money by the end of September.
Mail volume has fallen steeply in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and the federal agency is expecting the same downward turn in revenues.
Huffington Post Australia reported on the dilemma and what it means for consumers:
Postal workers remain on the front lines of the crisis, handling prescription drug shipments, lab test materials and medical supplies that are crucial to efforts to contain the virus. Mail-in voting has also allowed the democratic process to survive in the era of social distancing.
The Postal Service, which employs 650,000 people, is asking for $75 billion in aid from the government, and, according to the New York Times, another $14 billion to pay off debt related to a retirement benefits program ― a whopping $89 billion total.
“At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business,” Brennan said in the statement. “The Postal Service relies on the sale of postal products and services to fund our operations, and these sales are plummeting as a result of the pandemic. The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover.”
“The USPS said the pandemic will increase its net operating loss by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months and by over $54 billion over the coming years,” Huffington Post reported.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), who is on the oversight committee, tweeted about his talks with Brennan and criticized Trump, who Connolly claims does not want to help the Postal Service.
“The Postal Service will collapse without urgent intervention, and it will happen soon,” Connolly tweeted:
I spoke with the Postmaster General again today. She could not have been more clear:
The Postal Service will collapse without urgent intervention, and it will happen soon.
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) April 9, 2020
The Postal Service did not get specific funding in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief legislation, but deserves help, its union president said in a statement last month.
“The USPS and the mailing industry it supports ($1.6 trillion in sales and 7.3 million private sector workers) is every bit as important as the aviation industry,” National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said in a statement.
“The agency’s problems, though, predate the coronavirus crisis as a result of a widespread shift to digital messaging and a federal mandate that the USPS pre-fund its retirement benefits,” the Huffington Post reported.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter