Yves here. It’s a shame, but also revealing, that the Democrats have ignored the need to protect the Post Officer from privatizing grifters until the pandemic made vote by mail important. What about “public utility” don’t you understand?
By Jake Johnson, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams
Declaring that Congress must act swiftly to “stop the Trump administration’s deliberate sabotage” of the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the November elections, House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled legislation that would reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s disruptive new policies and prevent additional changes at the agency until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the Delivering for America Act (pdf) would bar USPS leadership from implementing or approving “any change to the operations or the level of service provided by the Postal Service from those in effect on January 1, 2020, that would impede prompt reliable, and efficient services.”
Specifically, the legislation would prohibit:
- Any change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis;
- Any revision of service standards;
- Any closure or consolidation any post office or reduction of facility hours;
- Any prohibition on payments of overtime pay to Postal Service officers or employees;
- Any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards or cause a decline in measurements of performance relative to those service standards;
- Any change that would have the effect of delaying mail, allowing for the non-delivery of mail to a delivery route, or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.
“Our Postal Service should not become an instrument of partisan politics, but instead must be protected as a neutral, independent entity that focuses on one thing and one thing only—delivering the mail,” Maloney said in a statement. “Millions of people rely on the Postal Service every day to communicate, to access critical medications, and to vote.”
“At this juncture in our nation’s history, when the number of Americans voting by mail for this presidential election is expected to more than double from the last, Congress must protect the right of all eligible citizens to have their vote counted,” Maloney added. “A once-in-a-century pandemic is no time to enact changes that threaten service reliability and transparency.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a House Oversight Committee member and co-sponsor of the new bill, tweeted that “Congress must stop the Trump administration’s deliberate sabotage to disrupt mail service in the leadup to November elections.”
During talks with the Trump administration over a broad Covid-19 relief package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) demanded the reversal of DeJoy’s policies barring overtime and prohibiting postal workers from sorting mail ahead of their morning deliveries.
But the relief negotiations collapsed last week, leaving the postmaster general’s policies in place and the USPS without desperately needed emergency funding.
The Delivering for America Act comes as DeJoy—a major Republican donor to President Donald Trump—is facing a Senate investigation and growing calls to step down over his sweeping policy changes, which have resulted in major mail backlogsnationwide and sparked concerns about the timely delivery of mail-in ballots in November.
In a statement Wednesday, Connolly said “Postmaster General DeJoy could better use his time by shelving his ‘reorganization plan’ and instead imploring Republicans and the president to provide the Postal Service the financial resources needed to ensure a smooth process of mail-in ballots for the November election.”