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Daily Archives: April 26th, 2020


This is another deflection and a dig at Jeff Bezos of Amazon, as the article shows below, the reason for the USPS cash issues results from a 2006 law requireing pre funding 75 years of pensions. MA 

Grace Panetta

Apr 24, 2020, 12:18 PM

 

  • Trump confirmedWashington Post reporting that his administration is considering using a $10 billion emergency loan as leverage to require the cash-strapped US Postal Service to make big changes.
  • The CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last month, includes $10 billion in additional borrowing power subject to approval by the US Treasury Department. 
  • Top Trump administration officials are considering requiring the Postal Service to charge higher rates on its package delivery services and weaken the authority of powerful postal service unions.
  • On Friday, Trump called the Postal Service “a joke”and suggested that the Postal Service quadruple the rates they charge for shipping packages if they want federal government assistance.

 

In Friday comments to reporters, President Donald Trump confirmed a Thursday Washington Post report that the administration is considering using a $10 billion emergency loan as leverage to require the cash-strapped US Postal Service to make big changes to its structure and management.

The Postal Service, which doesn’t take taxpayer funding and operates based on the postal fees it charges, has been particularly hard-hit by the decline in mail caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress last month, includes $10 billion in additional borrowing power subject to approval by the US Treasury Department.

Now, Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, want to use the promise of the loan to force the agency to implement long-sought-after changes, multiple sources told the Post. Both Trump and Mnuchin have previously quashed efforts to provide emergency relief to the Postal Service.

In his Friday bill signing of a new $484 billion coronavirus relief package, Trump called the Postal Service “a joke” and confirmed the Post’s reporting, suggesting that the Postal Service quadruple the rates they charge for shipping packages if they want federal government assistance, the Post’s Phil Rucker reported.

But Trump sang a markedly different tune on his Twitter feed later that afternoon, saying he would “never” let the agency “fail.”

Donald J. Trump

✔@realDonaldTrump

 

 

I will never let our Post Office fail. It has been mismanaged for years, especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology. The people that work there are great, and we’re going to keep them happy, healthy, and well!

The Post reported on Thursday that Trump administration officials are considering requiring the Postal Service to charge higher rates on its package delivery services, exerting greater control of the selection of top postal service officials, and weakening the authority of powerful postal service unions that represent thousands of employees around the country as conditions for approving the loan.

In total, the changes would shift much of the decision-making power over the Postal Service’s management and business operations away from the agency’s Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission to the Treasury Department.

The Post stressed, however, that none of these concessions are finalized since the Postal Service has not officially asked for the $10 billion loan included in the CARES Act.

Representatives for both the Postal Service and the US Treasury Department confirmed to the Post that while the agencies are in early talks on what the conditions for the loan could look like, officials haven’t formally agreed on any terms.

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Gerry Conolly, who runs the subcommittee that oversees the Postal Service, sounded the alarm a month ago that the agency could run out of funding altogether by June if Congress doesn’t act.

“Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House,” the two said in a March 23 joint statement, calling on Congress to appropriate $25 million in emergency funds to the agency.

On April 9, Postmaster General Megan Brennan told lawmakers that the massive expected decline in mail volume is expected to cause losses of up to $13 billion this year. He estimated that the agency wouldn’t be able to continue providing reliable service and pay its over 600,000 person workforce by September without immediate help.

The agency’s Board of Governors is now requesting $25 billion to help the agency deal with the immediate consequences of the pandemic, $25 billion in grant money to help it adapt, and an additional $25 billion in borrowing authority, CBS News reported. 

But Trump, who has vocally criticized the way the USPS is structured and the rates they charge, is actively opposed to any measures to help the Post Office. He refused to sign the CARES Act if it included a bailout for the agency, the Washington Post reported on April 11.

“We told them very clearly that the president was not going to sign the bill if [money for the Postal Service] was in it,” an administration official told the Post. “I don’t know if we used the v-bomb, but the president was not going to sign it, and we told them that.”

The Post reported that while Congress initially intended to give the Postal Service a $13 billion grant, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stepped in to quash it, telling lawmakers, “you can have a loan, or you can have nothing at all.”

Connolly told the Federal News Network in March that the $10 billion in credit “is, frankly, a meaningless gesture. It’s a slap in the face, and it’s not what they need … they don’t need more debt capacity, they need debt forgiveness.”

Trump has frequently criticized the Postal Service for, in his view, not charging high enough rates to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon for package delivery, or charging enough in its contracts with private logistics companies like FedEx and UPS to deliver packages to “last mile” areas.

But as the Post noted, USPS raising its package delivery rates could make it more difficult for them to compete with Amazon and other shipping companies like UPS and FedEx, hurting their financial state in the long run.

The significant decline in Americans using the Postal Service during the COVID-19 outbreak is only exacerbating existing financial woes, which were manufactured in part by Congress.

The agency is especially burdened by 2006 legislation that required the agency to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of employee pensions in advance. The service saw its annual losses double to $8.8 billion in 2019, and currently has $11 billion in outstanding debt.

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BRIAN NAYLOR

President Trump has repeatedly attacked Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service in recent days for acting as Amazon’s “delivery boy” and implying the online retailer has been getting a sweetheart deal for delivery of its packages.

President Trump has been insisting in recent days that the post office has been undercharging Amazon for delivering its packages to homes around the country. Here’s the president yesterday at a White House meeting.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The post office is losing billions of dollars, and the taxpayers are paying for that money because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost.

KELLY: NPR’s Brian Naylor takes a look at that charge and finds that’s not quite the case.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The U.S. Postal Service delivers an estimated 40 percent of Amazon’s packages. And per package, while we don’t know for sure, they probably do pay less than we would if we were mailing a present to Aunt Ruth, in part because the logistics are a bit different, too.

MICHAEL PLUNKETT: When Amazon hands a package over to the Postal Service, they’re doing it very close to its destination, and it’s ready to be handed over directly to the carrier who’s going to deliver it, unlike when you or I take a package into our local post office.

NAYLOR: That’s Michael Plunkett, who was a vice president at the Postal Service and now leads PostCom, an association of large mailers.

Plunkett says no one really knows what kind of deal Amazon made with the Postal Service because the details are sealed. But he says contrary to what the president tweeted – that they lose a fortune – the Postal Service does not lose money delivering Amazon’s or anyone else’s packages.

PLUNKETT: The Postal Regulatory Commission does review the Postal Service’s contracts, and they’ve concluded the opposite – that the Postal Service does make money from its shipping contracts.

NAYLOR: Plunkett says the Postal Service’s deal with Amazon is probably unlike what it has arranged with other shippers.

PLUNKETT: Amazon probably looks very different from the rest of the Postal Service’s shipping business because they have enough volume in their own network of distribution centers, so the vast majority of their packages are being entered locally, and they’re very cost-efficient for the Postal Service to handle for the most part.

NAYLOR: In fact, package deliveries have been the bright spot in the Postal Service’s financial picture the last several years. It reported more than $19 billion of revenue from package deliveries last year – an increase of 11 percent.

Still, that wasn’t enough to put the Postal Service into the black. In part, that’s because fewer people are mailing first-class letters and bills. The Postal Service lost some $2.7 billion last year. Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware says there’s another reason for the red ink – something few, if any, other businesses have to deal with.

TOM CARPER: The other thing that’s hurting the Postal Service’s bottom line is a requirement to pay off, over a 10-year period of time, health care costs for their pensioners. That’s what’s really choking the Postal Service – that and the decline in first-class mail.

NAYLOR: Carper and other lawmakers have proposed allowing the Postal Service to pay its future retirees health benefits over a 40-year period, rather than 10 years, and to shift retirees onto Medicare. If the president wants to have a say in postal matters, there’s one thing he could do, Carper says. Appoint some members to the Postal Board of Governors.

CARPER: There are no folks on the Postal Board of Governors now who come from outside the Postal Service. And this is like, imagine one of the two or three largest companies in America not having a board of directors. It would be unheard of. Well, that’s essentially where the Postal Service is.

NAYLOR: There are three nominations to the board pending, but even if they were confirmed, the board would still be short of a quorum needed to meet. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.

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