Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT, ranking member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter last week to two members of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee in support of emergency preparedness funding for the U.S. Postal Service.
Lieberman's request was part of an overall request for increased homeland security spending for next year.
In the letter to Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee chairman Thad Cochran, R-MS, and Subcommittee ranking member Robert Byrd, D-WV, Lieberman sad he supported the postal service's request for $779 million to purchase and install equipment to detect biological or chemical agents transmitted through the mail.
The funding was not included in President Bush's 2005 fiscal year federal budget
Postmaster general John E. Potter urged a Senate subcommittee last week to include the emergency preparedness funding in the federal budget. The USPS last received emergency-preparedness funding in the 2002 fiscal year, when it got $762 million.
Insiders have said that if this money is not included in the federal budget, it would have to be built into postal rates. The USPS is expected to start seeking approval in early 2005 for its next rate increase, which would take effect about a year later.