USPS Seeks $5 Billion in Emergency Funding from Congress

Washington–In a hearing on Nov. 8 before the Senate Subcommittee on Treasury and General Government Committee on Appropriations, Postmaster General Jack Potter asked for at least $5 billion in emergency funding from the Treasury to cover the damages and costs related to the Sept. 11 attacks and bio-terrorism in the mail, as well as subsequent lost revenue.

But the panel, chaired by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), appeared likely to only come forward with the $3 billion that would cover the costs associated with the attacks, and not the other $2 billion that Potter says he expects the total terrorism-related revenue shortfall to amount to.

In his testimony, Potter outlined the key costs associated with the attacks:

* damage to facilities and equipment loss in New York

* medical testing and emergency treatment of employees exposed to anthrax

* protective equipment for employees (masks and gloves)

* environmental testing and, where necessary, cleanup of postal facilities

* communication and education of employees and customers

* purchase of equipment to sanitize mail entering our system

* disruption of operations and mail rehandling costs

* implementation of new security procedures

The panel “is saying in not so many words” to the USPS “that you’re on your own relative to the impact on your business,” says Gene Del Polito, president of the Arlington, VA-based Association for Postal Commerce. “Realistically, the USPS will get $3 billion or less to cover direct expenses.”

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