Shaheen to Trump Administration: Don’t Privatize the U.S. Postal Service

May 10, 2020

**SHAHEEN & SENATORS: “Enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the USPS has always provided an invaluable service — delivery to anyone with an address, regardless of living in an urban versus rural area, being rich or poor, or old or young”**

 **Treasury Department has yet to provide $10 billion support loan for the U.S. Postal Service, which provides essential delivery services to 160 million American homes and businesses**

 **On Friday, Senator Shaheen blasted the Trump administration’s decision to select a political fundraiser to lead the USPS**

(Washington, DC) – This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and a group of Senators in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, urging him to reject politically motivated conditions on financial relief for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), including privatization. The Senators expressed their strong opposition to the use of coronavirus as a pretext to pursue privatization of USPS, which is widely rejected by the American people.

The Senators’ letter comes as the Treasury Department considers a $10 billion loan to support the USPS, which continues to see mail traffic, and thus revenue, drop immensely during this COVID-19 pandemic, all the while becoming an even more important lifeline to Americans and businesses. President Trump recently publicly threatened that he will not approve the loan unless the USPS quadruples postage rates.

“Enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the USPS has always provided an invaluable service —delivery to anyone with an address, regardless of living in an urban versus rural area, being rich or poor, or old or young,” wrote the Senators. “Now, during the COVID-19 crisis, millions of people are receiving their much-needed relief checks through the mail. An affordable delivery service is needed more than ever in these times—to ensure everyone is able to get their essential medicine prescriptions, purchase items not available in their area, or to keep in touch with loved ones in a time of social distancing. U.S. businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses that are suffering greatly because of lost revenue because of the coronavirus, also rely on receiving goods through the USPS’s affordable pricing structure.”

The Senators went on to express deep concern with the President’s public statements threatening approval of the $10 billion loan unless specific conditions are added, such as hiking prices perhaps to even four or five-times as high as current levels. These threats appear to be thinly-veiled attempts to retaliate against what he sees as a vocal critic of his presidency, the Washington Post, and its owner Jeff Bezos. President Trump has a history of invoking another of Bezos’ assets, Amazon, in conjunction with calls to increase prices charged by the USPS, strongly suggesting personal and political motivations on this matter. The Senators wrote, “It would be highly inappropriate and unacceptable for the Department of Treasury to act on such motivations when considering the USPS loan or other USPS relief.” 

The Senators further outlined their opposition to privatizing USPS, “We similarly oppose, in the strongest possible terms, using the coronavirus crisis as a way to push through a privatization of the USPS. The White House Office of Management and Budget in 2018 advocated for privatization of the Postal Service, an idea which has been around for a long time but is extremely unpopular with the American people.” 

Before concluding, the Senators added, “Taking advantage of this pandemic by raising prices on shipping companies or pursuing privatization for political purposes will only mean one thing—increased prices for everyday consumers, as well as the huge numbers of businesses that depend on the mail service. These reported planned conditions President Trump seeks to impose on the $10 billion loan to the USPS stand in stark contrast with the relative lack of strings placed on monies made available to corporations in recent relief efforts, no matter how badly a company might have been managed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to Shaheen and Udall, the letter was signed by 28 Senators. It can be read in full here.

Last month, Senator Shaheen led the New Hampshire congressional delegation in a letter to congressional leadership, urging them to include relief for the U.S. Postal Service in future COVID-19 relief legislation.