The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is in danger of running out of funds by the end of the fiscal year unless it receives financial assistance from the federal government.
The service could see a decline in revenue of $13 billion due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Postmaster General Megan Brennan warned the House Oversight and Reform Committee on April 9.
The figure works out to be roughly 18 percent of the Postal Service’s annual budget, and would leave it out of money by the end of September, Brennan told lawmakers Thursday. She added that over the next 10 years, the USPS could lose a further $54.3 billion.
Brennan said that the USPS was at a “critical juncture.”
“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,” she said in a statement obtained by The New York Times. “The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover.”
The loss of revenue has been caused largely by a drop in mail volumes as Americans stay at home to curb the transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. The agency employs more than 650,000 across the nation.
During the meeting, Brennan asked the Treasury to grant the USPS $25 billion in loans in “unrestricted borrowing authority.”
The agency’s bipartisan Board of Governors, appointed by President Donald Trump, also requested a $50 billion bailout from Congress to put toward “shovel ready” modernization projects, and to cover its losses due to the CCP virus pandemic.
The agency is due to receive roughly $13 billion after Congress passed a $2.2-trillion economic stimulus package last month.
“The Postal Service is holding on for dear life,” Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Unless Congress and the White House provide meaningful relief in the next stimulus bill, the Postal Service could cease to exist.”
House Oversight and Reform Committee member Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) meanwhile said it is “imperative” during a Census and election year that the United States has “a fully functional Postal Service to ensure Americans across the country can participate in our democracy.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) thanked USPS employees for their efforts during the pandemic.
“Reminiscent of their courageous service in response to 2001 anthrax attacks, the dedicated employees of the U.S. Postal Service are serving a critical role in our nationwide pandemic relief efforts—from delivering essential medical supplies and protective equipment to facilitating voting by mail in preparation for the 2020 election,” he said.
As an essential government service, we are committed to providing critical support to people across the country, while keeping employees and customers safe. Stay up-to-date on how we’re addressing COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/elgqeL9ioQ
— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) March 31, 2020
The USPS has adopted a number of measures to prevent transmission of the virus, including carriers maintaining safe distances with customers, knocking on the door instead of ringing the doorbell, and asking for a name instead of collecting a signature on a mobile device.