President Donald Trump’s frustration with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is not a consideration of a government task force created to investigate the finances and operations of the U.S. Postal Service, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “It has nothing to do with that issue, let me be clear,” Mnuchin, who will head the new panel, told FOX Business’ Liz Claman during an interview on Thursday. “The Post Office is losing lots of money. The Post Office is not supposed to be cutting subsidized deals in the packaging business.” The creation of the task force came 10 days after the president blasted the e-commerce giant on Twitter, criticizing what it pays the USPS to deliver its packages. American taxpayers, he said, pay “many billions of dollars" because of the unfair deal.
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"I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy," Trump wrote on Twitter in early April. "Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer."
Some have suggested Trump's attacks are actually because of unfavorable coverage of him in The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos. The Post Office has been hemorrhaging money for years. In fiscal 2017, it reported revenue of $96.6 billion, down $1.8 billion from the previous year, largely driven by a decline in first-class mail. While mail volume decreased by roughly 5 billion pieces, or 3.6%, package volumes grew by 589 million pieces, or 11.4%, part of a multiyear trend.Amazon and USPS have a negotiated contract regarding shipping services, but it’s not publicly available. According to federal law, the Postal Service can’t strike bulk-rate deals that lose money. But Mnuchin said Treasury Department officials -- who prompted the audit -- want to verify that USPS isn’t intentionally underpricing its package business in order to finance regular mail delivery.
The task force will meet with lawmakers, regulatory agencies and Postmaster General Megan Brennan over the course of the next few months to look into the issue, he said.
“This is about postal reform,” Mnuchin said. “We need to have a Postal Service that does fit taxpayers, but we also need to be sure that taxpayers aren’t subsidizing giant losses at the expense of creating subsidies for e-commerce companies.”