Coronavirus Is Threatening One of Government’s Most Ubiquitous Services: The Mail.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, squashed a bipartisan attempt to send the agency emergency funds last month, insisting instead that his department be given new authority to lend up to $10 billion to the Postal Service on terms it helps set, other officials familiar with the negotiations said.

Ms. Brennan told lawmakers on Thursday that the agency was already in talks with the Treasury about the potential loan, but its revenue predictions suggest that money would not be enough if the crisis continues.

For now, the mail service, which operates under government-mandated service requirements, has continued uninterrupted. Even as scores of its more than 600,000 person work force have fallen ill and some have died, mail sorters and carriers have continued to walk their routes in every corner of the country, in many cases the only physical lifeline Americans now have to the outside world. They deliver medicines, election ballots, coronavirus test kits and packages ordered online.

But the administration’s position has fanned fears among some lawmakers, postal union representatives and others who rely on the service that Trump administration officials are willing to let the postal network essentially go bankrupt to force its leaders to accept an overhaul to the postal business model that many conservatives have long sought — one that could limit delivery service and aid commercial competitors like FedEx and UPS.

In a statement to The New York Times, Ms. Brennan said the Postal Service was “at a critical juncture,” quickly losing revenue because demand for its most profitable postal products was “plummeting as a result of the pandemic.”

“At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business,” she said. “The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover.”

She called on Congress to “shore up the finances of the Postal Service, and enable us to continue to fulfill our indispensable role during the pandemic, and to play an effective role in the nation’s economic recovery.”

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