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December 22, 2020
On December 21, Congress passed $908 billion in coronavirus relief and an end-year omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 133). The combined legislation includes $10 billion in COVID-19 assistance for the U.S. Postal Service. Specifically, the postal provision converts the $10 billion line of credit enacted as part of the CARES Act (H.R. 748), into direct aid to the Postal Service, without requiring repayment. (The CARES Act was signed into law in March 2020.) The $10 billion in postal aid is intended for operational costs and other expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the bill provides a repreive from full implentation of "manifesting" all inbound foreign parcels conveyed by the USPS. The provision would permit international shipments that USPS or Customs and Border Protection determines to be at low risk of violating laws and regulations to be exempt from an electronic information requirement.
The appropriations component of the bill provides $55.3 million to the Postal Service to reimburse the agency for the postage incurred by overseas voting and mail for the blind. The appropriations section also retains the annual requirement to maintain six-day mail delivery, and prohibition against the USPS closing rural or small post offices. Finally, under pressure from the Senate, the bill deleted the House-passed provision to establish postal banking pilot programs.
The entire bill now goes to President Trump where he is expected to sign it into law.
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