USPS May Get More Bioterror Funds for 2003

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The U.S. Postal Service likely can count on more money to tackle bioterrorism. Mitchell Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the fiscal 2003 budget that President Bush will send to Congress Feb. 4 will include $26 billion for homeland defense.

Daniels' remarks came at a breakfast for Washington newsmakers hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

The amount targeted for the USPS has not been revealed, though the money would be used for security measures -- not to help the agency make up for lost revenue.

Still, the mailing community said this may be good news for mailers.

"If the money to cover bioterrorism costs doesn't come from an appropriation, there is only one other place for it to come from, and that is rates," said Ed Gleiman, the former Postal Rate Commission chairman who is spearheading the DMA's postal reform initiative. "If the president's budget addresses bioterrorism costs, those are costs that ultimately don't have to be borne by mailers, so that's good."

Neal Denton, executive director at the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, Washington, said that as costs of new security and biohazard detection measures continue to grow, many will look to Congress for even more funding.

"It is very likely that additional security funding will be coupled with modest postal reform measures," he said.

The USPS received $500 million to be spent on security measures as part of a defense appropriations bill Bush signed this month. A USPS official said the agency expects to send a report to Congress by February on how it plans to spend the money. In addition, the postal service received $175 million for security measures shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks and anthrax exposures.


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