Aug 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi, Schumer demand postmaster general reverse USPS cuts ahead of election

Schumer and Pelosi
Schumer and Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday calling for the recent Trump appointee to reverse operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that "threaten the timely delivery of mail" ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: U.S. mail and election infrastructure are facing a test like no other this November, with a record-breaking number of mail-in ballots expected as Americans attempt to vote in the midst of a pandemic.

  • President Trump has relentlessly stoked fears that mail-in ballots could lead to voter fraud and "rig" the election, but has provided little evidence for his claims.
  • Election experts say there's a good chance that the presidential race won't be decided on election night — and could drag on for days — because so many people will vote by mail to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Driving the news: Pelosi and Schumer met on Wednesday with DeJoy, a former fundraiser for Trump and the Republican National Committee, in the wake of reports that his operational changes have caused days of mail backlogs.

  • The changes include the reduction of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transporting trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies, and the reduction of the number and use of processing equipment, according to Pelosi and Schumer.
  • The House Oversight Committee has called on DeJoy to testify about these changes on Sept. 17.

What they're saying: "We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail—including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters—that is essential to millions of Americans," Pelosi and Schumer wrote.

  • "While it is true that the Postal Service has and continues to face financial challenges, enacting these policies as cost-cutting or efficiency measures as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues is counterproductive and unacceptable. "
  • "During our meeting, you committed to being more forthcoming and transparent with Congress and the American people regarding these changes, including providing documentation of the operational changes you have made and will be making since beginning your term and the Postal Service’s plan to successfully deliver election mail during the 2020 elections."

Read the full letter.

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