Report: Treasury Looking at 'Unprecedented' Control of USPS

'WaPo': Administration may use $10B loan as leverage for more sway over Postal Service
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2020 9:52 AM CDT
Report: Treasury Looking at 'Unprecedented' Control of USPS
In this April 30, 2018, file photo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

As part of its $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief effort, Congress has authorized the Treasury Department to extend an emergency $10 billion loan to the struggling US Postal Service. But now the Trump administration is reportedly mulling tacking on conditions to that loan that would put some aspects of the agency under the "unprecedented control" of the Treasury, per the Washington Post. Sources tell the paper that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has to greenlight the loan, could use the funds as leverage to push for more sway over USPS delivery charges—President Trump himself has long said he thinks the agency is being exploited by companies like Amazon in this regard—and hiring decisions. That would include Mnuchin being able to personally select the next postmaster general, which has traditionally been decided by the USPS' five-member governing board.

Per Business Insider, current Postmaster General Megan Brennan noted earlier this month that the USPS looks to suffer up to $13 billion in losses by year's end, and that without help from the government, the agency won't be able to keep operating as usual by September. The USPS has also drawn over the years from a $15 billion line of credit authorized by Congress nearly three decades ago, one without any terms and with low interest rates to help the agency weather challenges like the decline in traditional mail delivery. The USPS pulled $3 billion from it on April 1, "bringing the agency up to $14.4 billion from that line of credit," per the Post. Reps for both the USPS and Treasury tell the Post that "preliminary discussions" about the loan have indeed taken place, but neither are commenting on the details. (Read more US Postal Service stories.)

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