President Donald Trump ordered the creation of a task force to review business practices at the United States Postal Service, a move that could affect one of the president’s favorite. corporate targets: Amazon.com Inc.
“The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout,” according to an order from the president tonight. The order calls for an examination of the Postal Service’s pricing, policies and workforce costs.
The Postal Service has lost more than $65 billion in the last decade as more Americans have used online services to transmit messages, according to the executive order. The task force will be chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin or his designee, according to the order.
In a series of Twitter messages, Trump has accused Amazon of draining the Postal Service of money it cannot afford to lose.
A White House official said the presidential order was intended to come up with solutions to the problems at the Postal Service. The official did not deny that the task force’s recommendations could affect Amazon. A second White House official disputed the notion that the order was directed at Amazon, and also said that the task force was charged with improving the mail service. Both officials were granted anonymity, to discuss administration deliberations.
Trump has claimed that Amazon was “costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” a situation that puts “many thousands of retailers out of business.” He repeated a claim that the postal service loses “$1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon” and said “only fools, or worse” believe the Postal Service makes money from doing business with Amazon.
Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which has aggressively covered the Trump administration.
Since signing a landmark five-year contract in 2013 to deliver packages on Sundays, Amazon and the Postal Service have declared their business relationship a success.
The Postal Service says it makes money on the Amazon deal, and it’s legally prohibited from charging shippers less than its delivery costs. E-commerce revenue provides “essential support to pay for the network and infrastructure that enables us to fulfill our universal service obligation,” David Partenheimer, a spokesman for the Postal Service, wrote in a January op-ed. “All users of the mail benefit.”