Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Dist. 37) are calling on U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to promptly approve a $10 billion loan to the U.S. Postal Service, which faces massive financial burdens thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CARES Act has a provision allowing USPS to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury Department to fund operating expenses — but the terms of that loan must be negotiated between the Treasury and USPS, and ultimately approved by Mnuchin.
If Mnuchin refuses to approve the loan in a timely manner, the USPS could be forced to drastically limit or shut down operations by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. According to a news release from Griswold’s office, that would hamper Colorado’s ability to hold the November general election.
“Colorado’s elections are considered the national gold standard, in large part because we work with the United States Postal Service to mail a ballot to every registered voter,” Griswold said in the release.
“Our vote-by-mail system is the primary reason Colorado consistently has one of the highest voter turn-out rates in the nation. I urge Secretary Mnuchin to approve funds to the Post Office immediately to enable Colorado’s vote-by-mail election to continue unimpeded in this time of crisis.”
Sullivan added: “As a former Postal Service employee, I know first-hand how vital the USPS is to our communities. Even amidst this pandemic, the only vehicle you typically see driving through your neighborhood is a Postal Service truck, and it’s stopping at every house. The need for this service is magnified in our rural communities, for which the U.S. Postal Service goes the extra mile.”
On March 20, the USPS notified Congress that the coronavirus outbreak has caused a massive dropoff in revenue and indicated that the agency could lose $12.6 billion this fiscal year alone.
In Colorado’s March Presidential Primary, more than three million ballots were mailed to registered voters.
Ballots for Colorado’s June 30 state primary are scheduled to begin being mailed out by county clerks the week of June 8.
Read more about the financial crisis facing the U.S. Postal Service in the Business Journal’s April 24 editorial.