House passes bill to reverse U.S. Postal Service changes
The House voted 257-150 on Saturday to give the U.S. Postal Service $25 billion and to block and reverse the operational changes that are leading to widespread mail delays. 26 Republicans supported the measure, but the bill is unlikely to move forward after a White House veto threat.
Why it matters: More Americans than ever are expected to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, but on-time delivery for priority and first class mail has continued to drop since early July.
- Six states are suing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on the grounds that his cost-cuts were "unlawful" and designed to impede efforts to conduct "free and fair elections."
Catch up quick: DeJoy this week suspended his proposed cost-cuts to the USPS until after the 2020 election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail."
- Democrats' bill would keep USPS leaders from making changes that "impede prompt, reliable, and efficient services" to mail delivery through January 2021.
- The bill would require all election mail to be handled as first class and ban removing or decommissioning sorting machines and collection boxes — following reports from Oregon, Montana, Manhattan and Pennsylvania that the Postal Service was unbolting and hauling away mailboxes.
What they're saying: The bill, introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), received total support from Democrats, who argue the policies previously implemented by DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor, fed President Trump's efforts to "sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service," as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it in a letter to colleagues last week.
- GOP support: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), who voted in favor of the bill, called for a bipartisan effort to "address serious challenges USPS has been facing for quite some time now." Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said he believed "a healthy, functioning Post Office is critical to our nation's wellbeing."
- Maloney released an internal USPS briefing prior to the House vote that detailed ongoing delays for priority and first class mail. "To those who still claim there are 'no delays' and that these reports are just 'conspiracy theories,' I hope this new data causes them to re-think their position and support our urgent legislation today," she said.
- Trump tweeted ahead of the vote: "Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes."
The other side: During a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Friday, DeJoy asserted that the Postal Service "is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail fully and on time."
- He later said he was "extremely highly confident" that any ballots mailed seven days before the election would be delivered on time, and denied having any substantive policy conversations with Trump about USPS reforms.
What's next: DeJoy will testify before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.
- Maloney chairs the committee.
The USPS declined to comment.