Speed Reads

Nice Postal Service You Have There...

The Trump administration reportedly wants control over U.S. Postal Service in return for emergency loan

In its $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, Congress authorized a $10 billion loan for the U.S. Postal Service, projecting a $13 billion shortfall this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its hit on mail, catalogs, and advertisements. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a bipartisan push for a USPS bailout in the package, and before he approves the emergency USPS loan, he wants unprecedented leverage over how the independent agency is run, The Washington Post reports.

Mnuchin has been pushing for significant changes at the USPS since President Trump named them as a priority in an Oval Office meeting more than a year ago, the Post reports. Trump has publicly criticized the Postal Service for years, usually pairing his grievances with USPS management and Amazon and its owner, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Post.

Mnuchin, like Trump, wants the USPS to charge higher rates for package delivery — Trump reportedly wanted to double Amazon's rate, specifically — and Treasury officials tell the Post that Mnuchin is also seeking authority to review senior hiring decisions, appoint the next postmaster general, and drive collective bargaining strategy to squeeze concessions out of the powerful postal unions. The USPS is also expected to play a larger role in the November election as people mail in their ballots.

Loan discussions are still ongoing. The USPS's business decisions are typically made by the five-member board of governors, appointed by the president, and the independent Postal Regulatory Commission. The board of governors has previously rejected Mnuchin's restructuring recommendations, the Post repots. Trump has frequently singled out Amazon in his USPS tweets and comments, claiming incorrectly that the Postal Service loses money by delivering Amazon's packages.

Raising the prices for package deliveries, the bright spot in USPS finances, could ease the Postal Service's financial woes — or it could push more package deliveries to FedEx, UPS, and Amazon's own delivery service, hurting USPS's bottom line.