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White House to USPS: No Bailout for You

Lawmakers knocked aid down to a loan
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2020 11:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Postal Service is in serious need of money; marketing and first-class mail have dried up since the pandemic began. And the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package obliged, until President Trump found out. Administration officials told lawmakers the president wouldn't sign the legislation, which at the time included a $13 billion grant that wouldn't have to be repaid. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers that money for the Postal Service could bring the entire bill down, the Washington Post reports, making the choice clear to them: "You can have a loan, or you can have nothing at all." So two senators, one from each party, substituted a $10 billion loan to keep the agency going for a few months. Mnuchin objected to the loan, too, but it was included in the version that became law.

Senate Republicans says the loan is enough for now, but the postmaster general asked Congress for more on Thursday. He wants $50 billion, plus a $25 billion loan. Otherwise, Rep. Gerald Connolly warned, the agency, which employs 600,000, might have to cut payroll and service this fall. The president says the Postal Service would be fine if it would just double what it charges Amazon—both are frequent Trump targets. That's not true, Vox points out. "I'm so frustrated at how difficult it has been for a long time to galvanize attention and action around an essential service," Connolly told the Post. "And maybe the pandemic forces us all to refocus on this service and how essential it is and how we need to fix it while we can before it gets into critical condition." ("The Postal Service needs America's help," House members told Mitch McConnell.)

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