Trump demands U.S. Postal Service hike prices for customers amid pandemic
25 Avril, 2020, 09:56 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future Covid-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices-a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.
"Now, when Americans need affordable and reliable package delivery service more than ever, Congress must fight to guarantee emergency relief for the Postal Service and stop this package tax", said coalition Chairman John McHugh in an email statement.
Trump has railed for years against what he sees as mismanagement at the Postal Service, which has been battered by a decline in first-class mail in the Internet age - but which has found profitability with package delivery. "And if they don't do it, I'm not signing anything and I'm not authorizing you to do anything", he said, referring to Mnuchin and, apparently, to documents that wold OK the loans.
Under the stimulus plan, Mr Mnuchin's Treasury Department was authorised to loan up to US$10 billion to the postal service, which has not officially requested the funds, the Postreported. "Because they're handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies and every time they send a package, they lose money on it", Trump said.
Trump accused USPS of refusing to raise package prices "because they don't want to insult Amazon and they don't want to insult other companies perhaps that they like".
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting loss of mail volume is expected to increase the Postal Service's net operating loss by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months, "threatening our ability to operate", Postmaster General Megan Brennan said this month.
Trump said the changes the administration will insist on will make it a "whole new ballgame" at the Postal Service.
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"We are going to post certain criteria for (a) postal reform program as part of the loan", Mnuchin said.
Amazon's rapid expansion of its own dedicated delivery network has made it much less reliant on the U.S. Postal Service, which delivered about one-third of all Amazon packages in 2019, down from more than 60% two years earlier, according to Rakuten Intelligence.
Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post.
The Package Coalition, whose members include Amazon, eBay and others, said that raising prices to deliver packages would mean Americans would pay higher prices.
He went on to claim it's been mismanaged for years, "especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology".
The president tweeted Friday afternoon: "I will never let our Post Office fail".
"We are going to be depending on the Post Office to deliver people their ballots and then have them return their ballots through the mail".
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Britain remains one of the worst-hit by the pandemic and has been under stringent social distancing rules for a month. Another 15,000 tests were expected to take place at drive-through testing centres on Friday, he added.
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Bryan said this testing was done at DHS' advanced bio containment lab in Maryland, just outside the national capital. The researchers are also experimenting with the effects of other disinfectants on the virus, Bryan added.
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