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A U.S. Postal Service worker pushes a cart with deliveries through the streets of midtown New York in December 2020. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service has asked the Biden administration for a 120-day extension to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Post from deputy postmaster general Doug Tulino to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The big picture: The request comes days before the Supreme Court holds oral arguments to consider legal challenges to the president's vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

  • “We respectfully suggest that the nation cannot afford the additional potential substantial harm that would be engendered if the ability of the Postal Service to deliver mail and packages is significantly negatively impacted,” Tulino wrote in the letter dated Tuesday.

Context: The Postal Service is an independent federal agency that did not fall under the administration's official government-wide mandate, but it is subject to compliance under OSHA’s large-employer rule.

The move is the latest in a long string of decisions that have roiled congressional Democrats and the Biden administration under postmaster general Louis DeJoy.

  • Democrats have been looking at ways to respond following many of DeJoy's modifications to staffing and policies, which a 2020 Inspector General report found had an adverse effect on Postal Service operations, leading to slower and less reliable mail delivery.

Go deeper

Jan 14, 2022 - Health

America's vaccination drive runs out of gas

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The U.S. is likely reaching the end of the road on new vaccinations, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for large employers.

Why it matters: Cash prizes and other incentives barely moved the needle on vaccinations. So the government turned from carrots to sticks — but now it has lost its biggest stick.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.