USPS' critics now help lobby for aid

WASHINGTON: The United States Postal Service (USPS), still reeling

from the spread of anthrax through its facilities and the resulting

deaths of two Washington, DC carriers, is at least enjoying the support

of many of its harshest critics as it appeals to the federal government

for financial assistance.

Such appeals by the postal service are normally met with accusations

from groups such as the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) who say

that the USPS wastes money, and should be forced to cut its overhead

rather than raise rates or receive help. But this time, the MPA and

others are lending their support in the form of an ad-hoc coalition

claiming that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

"Because this was an act of war, this is something that the government

should be backing them on," said Ronni Faust, VP of communications at

the MPA. The money the USPS is asking for will be used to install

greater security measures to protect against future bioterror attacks,

and to compensate for lost business during decontamination.

The coalition, unnamed but led by Pitney Bowes CEO Michael J. Critelli,

includes what Gene DelPolito of the Association for Postal Commerce

calls "virtually all of the major customers of postal service," who

would face a rate hike should the government deny the assistance.

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