WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government, not people who buy stamps, should cover $5 billion needed to recover from anthrax attacks and make the mail safe, Postmaster General John Potter is telling Congress.
"They should be considered costs of homeland security," Potter said Thursday in prepared remarks to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. "Users of the mail should not be burdened with these extra costs through the price of postage."
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Postal Service has been battered by anthrax attacks that have left two workers dead, others sick and the public nervous about its mail.
Potter has said the attacks could cost the post office as much as $7 billion, for damages and losses from decreased mail volume.
Several lawmakers have said they want to include aid for the Postal Service as part of a new $20 billion package of spending related to terrorism. President Bush said Tuesday, however, he would veto any spending beyond the $40 billion Congress appropriated after the Sept. 11 airliner hijackings but before the outbreak of mailed anthrax.
Nonetheless, Potter was expected to get a sympathetic audience Thursday before the Senate subcommittee.
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