Saturday Vote Planned to Aid Postal Service Ahead of Likely Mail-In Vote Surge

August 18, 2020 by Dan McCue
Mail trucks outside the Hicksville Post Office in New York. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the chamber back to the Capitol ahead of a vote on legislation to block recent cost-cutting measures at the U.S. Postal Service and ensure the agency can handle a surge in mail-in ballots ahead of the November elections.

The move, announced in a letter to colleagues on Sunday, comes amid growing concerns that the Trump White House is trying to undermine the agency ahead of the election.

It also comes with a warning from the Postal Service it might not be able to deliver ballots in time for them to be counted.

“In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central,” Pelosi wrote. “Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy are under threat from the president.”

House Democrats are said to be particularly wary of the president’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a contributor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who took over the agency earlier this summer.

His tenure has been marked by an outcry over delays, new prices and cutbacks in services.

In a statement Monday, Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, the co-chair of policy for the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats, said the Postal Service “is a lifeline for Americans across the country, particularly those in rural communities.”

He went on to say the coalition supports the House Oversight Committee’s decision to invite DeJoy to testify before it next Monday, and says if he declines to do so voluntarily, “he must be subpoenaed.”

Dejoy announced Monday afternoon that he intends to show up.

Robert Duncan, the chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, has also been asked to testify.

“In addition to tampering with the mail, Postmaster General DeJoy’s actions to sabotage the USPS are tampering with the health, safety, and economic security of American citizens,” O’Halleran said.

“Not only is there potential for a delay in delivering voting ballots, Postmaster General DeJoy’s actions are hurting Americans across the country. Our constituents, particularly veterans and the elderly, are seeing weeks of delays for deliveries of life-saving prescription drugs, paychecks, and other necessities. This is unacceptable,” he added.

President Trump defended Dejoy on Monday’s “Fox & Friends” program saying his hand-picked postmaster general is working diligently to “make the post office great again.”

Later, at the White House, Trump denied the White House is behind any effort to slow down the mail ahead of the election.

Aside from voting by mail, many states also allow for early in-person voting so that people can avoid potential lines on Election Day. Voters may also have the option of receiving a ballot in the mail and then dropping it off in person at the local election office or designated drop box ahead of Election Day.

It’s unclear if the GOP-controlled Senate will act on any legislation passed by the House.

The Senate recessed last week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told a Kentucky TV station Monday he believes “The Postal Service is going to be just fine.”

“We’re going to make sure that the ability to function going into the election is not adversely affected,” McConnell speaking in Horse Cave, Ky.

On Monday, two Democratic lawmakers called on the FBI to investigate whether DeJoy or members of the Postal Board of Governors may have committed a crime in slowing the mail.

Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, cited reports that mail-sorting machines were being dismantled and policy changes have delayed mail delivery.

“It is not unreasonable to conclude that Postmaster General DeJoy and the Board of Governors may be executing Donald Trump’s desire to affect mail-in balloting,” they wrote in the letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

While all this is going on, the Postal Service is seeking a short-term, end-of-the-year rate increase stating the increase was needed due to the heightened demand for online packages due to the coronavirus pandemic and an expected increase in holiday mail volume.

The plan would raise prices on commercial domestic competitive parcels, including Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, first-class package service, Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service.

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

Boeing Resumes 787 Dreamliner Deliveries
Aviation
Boeing Resumes 787 Dreamliner Deliveries
April 13, 2021
by TWN Staff

Boeing's massive aircraft assembly facility in North Charleston, S.C. has resumed deliveries of the aerospace giant's 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, after the discovery of structural flaws in some of the planes led to five months of engineering analysis and inspection work. "Our commitment to safety and... Read More

Maryland Enacts Sweeping Reforms to Make Police More Accountable
In The States
Maryland Enacts Sweeping Reforms to Make Police More Accountable
April 13, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland's General Assembly on Saturday enacted the nation’s most sweeping police reform legislation to make officers more accountable to the public. The new rules place more restrictions on use of force and no-knock warrants. Other provisions require body cameras and give civilians a... Read More

Congress to Honor 2nd Capitol Police Officer Slain This Year
Law Enforcement
Congress to Honor 2nd Capitol Police Officer Slain This Year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday during the second such memorial ceremony this year for a force that has edged close to crisis in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.President... Read More

Biden Aims for Bipartisanship But Applies Sly Pressure
White House
Biden Aims for Bipartisanship But Applies Sly Pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has begun publicly courting Republicans to back his sweeping infrastructure plan, but his reach across the aisle is intended just as much to keep Democrats in line as it is a first step in an uphill climb to any bipartisan... Read More

US Recommends 'Pause' for J&J Vaccine Over Clot Reports
Health
US Recommends 'Pause' for J&J Vaccine Over Clot Reports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they... Read More

Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist
Congress
Biden Wants Infrastructure Deal, But GOP Doubts Persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden wants Congress to know he's sincere about cutting a deal on infrastructure, but Republican lawmakers have deep-seated doubts about the scope of his proposed package, its tax hikes and Biden's premise that this is an inflection point for the U.S.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top