WASHINGTON (WUSA9) — As Americans wait out the coronavirus, a lot of us are relying on Amazon and other internet companies to deliver things right to our front doors.
Bad news: That could get more expensive.
New reporting from our editorial partners at the Washington Post reveals the Trump Administration wants the U.S. Postal Service to raise rates so it costs more to mail packages.
Just over two weeks ago, WUSA9 anchor Adam Longo got President Donald Trump to admit he wants the post office to start charging more.
"They lose a lot of money per package. And they should raise their prices," Trump during the April 7 Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House.
The Treasury Department is considering taking unprecedented control over key operations of the U.S. Postal Service by imposing tough terms on an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which would fulfill President Trump's longtime goal of changing how the service does business, according to two people familiar with the matter.
At that news conference, WUSA9 anchor Adam Longo asked reporter Emilie Munson from the D.C. bureau of Hearst Newspapers if she would ask Trump a question on his behalf during his briefing.
Access to the White House briefing room has been extremely limited since the White House Correspondents Association initiated social distanced seating among reporters per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Longo's question to Trump was about concerns from Congress and reporters that Trump had personally intervened and stripped $25 billion that would have helped the USPS out of the $2 trillion CAREs Act stimulus bill.
In a lengthy response, the president took issue with being blamed by Connolly for hastening the demise of the Postal Service. He pointed to the the fact that the Postal Service has been operating while losing billions year after year.
"They lose money anytime they deliver a package for Amazon or any of these other internet companies," Trump said.
That statement from the Trump is false, according to the Package Coalition, an alliance of America’s largest retail, e-commerce and logistics companies, including Amazon.
The Postal Service is required by law to ensure that delivery prices cover all its costs. Large companies like Amazon get bulk discounts, but USPS is not losing money because of it. In fact, in USPS’ most recent annual report, package delivery and "other" were the only line items that saw a financial increase over the year before.
Representative Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chairs the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations which, among its purview, oversees the Postal Service.
"The Trump White House is exploiting an unprecedented pandemic to make a mafia-like takeover of the U.S. Postal Service," Connolly said to WUSA9. "Americans rely on and support the postal workers who serve every household and every business every day.”
Instead of the $25 billion that was in the House version of the CAREs Act, the measure approved by the Senate and signed by Trump includes the ability for the Postal Service to take a $10 billion loan from the Treasury Department.
The Washington Post report, however, indicates that Secretary Steve Mnuchin is considering attaching conditions to that loan, including a requirement that the Post Office raise package rates.
The Postal Service has lost nearly $14 billion over the last two years alone. The Postmaster General told the House Oversight Committee because of reduced volume during the pandemic, it could lose another $54 billion.
Connolly fears without additional funding, the Postal Service could run out of money completely by this summer.