The U.S. Postal Service on Friday reported a $2.2 billion second-quarter loss and with potential losses over the next two years of roughly $20 billion as the economic ravages of the pandemic took a further toll on the already troubled agency.

The financial troubles for USPS come as Democrats want the postmaster general investigated over operational changes that have slowed mail delivery. In a letter to an agency watchdog group, Democrats' expressed concern over possible problems with mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 general election.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday the changes imposed by postmaster general Louis DeJoy “threaten the timely delivery of mail, including medications for seniors, checks for pay for workers and absentee ballots for voters, which is essential for millions of Americans."

On Friday, a letter signed by prominent Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pressed for Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb to evaluate DeJoy and other Trump administration officials' policies of cutting overtime hours and eliminating extra trips to deliver mail on time. It also requests a review of financial holdings from DeJoy and his wife that includes up to $75.3 million in USPS' competitors or contractors.

The letter comes as DeJoy on Friday admitted to a financial crisis for USPS. 

“Our financial position is dire, stemming from substantial declines in mail volume, a broken business model and a management strategy that has not adequately addressed these issues,” DeJoy, a former logistics executive, told the postal board of governors at a Friday meeting in his first public comments since accepting the position in June. “Without dramatic change, there is no end in sight.”

The 50% increase in package deliveries over the second quarter was not enough to offset the continued decline in first-class and business mail for the agency. Additionally, the pandemic has presented new costs, such as protective equipment for its workers and replacing those who got sick or opted not to work.

The USPS is seeking help from Congress to help it continue operating in the years to come. Their requests include $10 billion in funding to cover operating costs and removal of a regulation that requires the agency to pre-fund retirement and healthcare benefits.

DeJoy also said he has worked to tackle inefficiencies in the agency’s operations since taking the position two months ago.

“By running our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring unnecessary overtime or other costs, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and... continue to provide high-quality, affordable service,” DeJoy said.

DeJoy, 63, is a noted supporter President Trump and a Republican donor. He is the first postmaster general who was not a career employee of the agency.

He also used his address to the postal board to shoot down rumors that the USPS was slowing down election mail in response to its troubled finances. He assured that the agency would have the means to handle “all election mail securely and on time.”

“While I certainly have a good relationship with the president of the United States, the notion that I would ever make decisions regarding the Postal Service at the direction of the president or anyone else in the administration is wholly off base,” DeJoy said.

“Let me be clear that with regard to election mail, the Postal Service and I are fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process. Despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down election mail or any other mail.”

He said any slowdown incidents have been isolated rather than systemic.

US Postmaster General Megan Brennan says the Postal Service expects to lose $13 billion in revenue this fiscal year alone as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis US Postmaster General Megan Brennan says the Postal Service expects to lose $13 billion in revenue this fiscal year alone as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB