House Democrats Introduce Urgent Bill to End ‘Deliberate Sabotage’ of Postal Service by Postmaster General

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.

Postal workers have also blamed DeJoy’s new policies for drastic reductions in Post Office hours and removal of mail sorting equipment at USPS facilities across the country.

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.”

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54 comments

    1. lakecabs

      Yes Jeff Bezos is going crazy because the USPS won’t pay overtime to deliver his packages below cost.

      This is government capture at its finest.

      This is media capture at its finest.

      We must have mainstreet subsidize Jeff Bezos. He doesn’t have enough money.

      Reply
      1. flora

        If you don’t like Bezos’ monopoly power then break up Amazon. Instead, that’s only used as the excuse to destroy the Post Office while the govt at the same time approves Amazon’s ever expanding empire. “I don’t like X so lets destroy the Post Office, an essential govt service, while granting X ever more monopoly power. Yeah, that’ll show X!”

        Reply
        1. flora

          adding: govt. capture at its finest begins with a ‘K’ and an ‘A’, not a ‘B’. The octopus never sleeps.

          Reply
        2. lakecabs

          Making the USPS deliver packages for Amazon below cost is destroying it.

          Delivering packages for Amazon above cost will save it.

          Reply
          1. flora

            T has packed the Board of Governors (BoG) and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The BoG and the PRC set the rates. So… you’re saying T’s hand picked Board has set rates too low for Amazon (to help Amazon?) , so we should destroy the USPS for T’s board setting rates too low (in order to destroy the USPS). None of this adds up to anything other than a lame excuse for destroying the USPS in order to privatize it. (Amazon and FedEx pay approx same rates for USPS delivery service. At one time a FedEx exec was on the BoG, I believe.)

            How is removing paid for efficiency improving machinery from PO’s helping anything, btw? How does removing over 20 senior USPS execs from their area of expertise improve efficiency? None of this improves the USPS delivery service, it’s simple sabotage toward a desired end of privatizing the USPS.

            Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                The Postal Service does not get to set its own rates. Trump’s political commissars set its rates.

                Are you a Trump supporter? Is that why you affect to “not care”?

                Reply
              2. Laughingsong

                Delivers below cost for everyone including you, your neighbors, and the mountaintop hermit. That’s because it’s an essential service not a (family blog) business. Wake up ffs

                Reply
      2. cnchal

        The post office tried to make up for the losses to Bezos by raising rates up to 400% on the tiniest pinpricks of capitalism.

        It didn’t work, as everyone that survived the post office massacre fled to UPS.

        If post office management had any smarts at all, firing Amazon, just like FedEx did, would be the best move they could make.

        Reply
          1. cnchal

            Yes. Firing your profitable customers to concentrate on servicing one gigantic customer that you either lose money to or make almost nothing on would be part of the plan to rip the post office apart.

            At a minimum, all users of the post office should pay the same rate for the same package and service, no matter the volume of business.

            Where does the post office lose money?

            Two areas. Media mail and rural delivery, both of which Bezos abuses with the zeal of hunting and killing a weak gazelle.

            Reply
            1. Dirk77

              So anyone who works at the post office or follows it in detail knows what is the best direction, yet that path is not taken?

              Reply
            2. run75441

              USPS loses money by having to pre-fund a 75 year trust fund for USPS workers. Trump’s complaint is the Postal Service is making terrible deals. Maybe but maybe not. If he’s basing the argument on the fact that the Postal Service is losing money, it is important to remember that the Postal Service was designed to lose money. It is intentionally built to shovel funds back into the Federal budget, not through profits but from accounting trickery that saddles it with excess liabilities.

              By all measures the package business that Mr. Trump focused on is adding to the bottom line with regularity. It’s also important to remember that the Postal Service has only about a 16% share of the package delivery market. It really isn’t in a position to dictate prices.

              Much of the noise that followed Mr. Trump’s tweets seemed to ignore the fact that forcing the Postal Service to charge more for packages would give its competitors, UPS and FedEx, an excuse to raise their prices. In the end, consumers would end up paying higher prices. Plus, forcing the Postal Service to charge more for packages would not only violate the basic market principles it has supposedly been designed to serve but also the structure of the free market itself.

              Asking the Wrong Questions: Reflections on Amazon, the Post Office, and the Greater Good Mark Jamison, Retired Postmaster,

              Reply
              1. rd

                Congress:

                1. Requires pre-funding 75 years of pension costs, unlike Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, US government workers, local and state government workers, and corporate pensions covered by PBGC.
                2. Generally resists closure of post offices in zip codes with few customers. There are exceptions, but not many.
                3. Requires Saturday mail delivery for regular first class mail.

                Reply
        1. Mark K

          Or Congress could grant the Postal Service a monopoly over delivery of small packages to residences and end the crazy waste (read: environmental cost) of having four separate delivery outfits crisscrossing our neighborhood streets every day.

          There’s a reason networked entities used to be regulated monopolies before the deregulation fever of the seventies and eighties.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If post office management is a pack of secret agents for Yeltsinization, then they will use all their smarts to destroy the Post Office from the inside. And their decisions should be judged on whether they further destroy the Post Office or not. If they do, then those are smart decisions from the management’s own secret-agenda “destroy the Post Office from within” point of view.

          Reply
    2. Tomonthebeach

      Impeachment was likely not considered because the house saw what happened the last time they tried to impeach somebody. It will take to long and achieve nothing thanks to Senate Trump-enablers.

      Reply
      1. Randall Kroger

        Well impeachment is a tool probably best utilized for lower profile members of the executive branch (and judges) anyway, rather than a figure with the political high stakes of the president.

        Reply
  1. JohnnySacks

    Anything but revoking the 2006 Postal Accountability Act. Passed in house with 201 Dem votes and here they are a decade later playing heroes.

    Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        Indeed, The House bill limits it’s half measures until end of Covid or Jan 1, 2021. So the postmaster could do it again on Jan 1 and congress would still be out for weeks.

        https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/Delivering%20for%20America%20Act.pdf

        SEC. 2. PROMPT AND RELIABLE POSTAL SERVICES DURING 6COVID-19 PANDEMIC. 7(a) INGENERAL.—During the period beginning on 8the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the last day of the COVID-19 public health emergency or January 11, 2021, whichever is later, the United States Postal Serv-2ice may not implement or approve any change to the oper-3ations or the level of service provided by the Postal Service 4from those in effect on January 1, 2020, that would im-5pede prompt, reliable, and efficient services, including any 6of the following actions

        Reply
      1. Darius

        But…but…what about bipartisan?!! Kumbaya?!! Obama identified then that what we needed was for the party of the millionaires and the party of the billionaires to have public group hugs. Preventing the deliberate destruction of the Post Office wasn’t bipartisan so the Dems has an excuse not to do it. Although, to be fair, Obama did propose ending Saturday delivery. As if that was supposed to help.

        Reply
        1. ronnie mitchell

          This was the Obama administration talking…
          The cuts currently being debated are the beginning of the end, and they will start in rural areas where more locations don’t have the required business volume for sustainability.

          Donahoe suggests communities losing post offices might get smaller, authorized stations, or licensed local vendors to provide traditional postal services. In other words, the post office is increasingly privatizing its business, brokering out services of its retail centers. That strategy has been under way for years now, successfully in many locations. Now, it is the path the post office takes to serving communities with physical locations.
          https://www.ibtimes.com/us-postal-service-may-be-going-going-gone-end-ye

          Reply
    1. Laughingsong

      +100

      Noticed the same thing. My bet is that they’ll save it until and unless they’re in power, then they’ll parcel it out to their donors instead

      Reply
  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    If they are “too late” it is on purpose and by design. They want to look good while assuring that the Post Office is destroyed. Nancy Pelosi wants to protect her good friend and fellow Californian Dianne Feinstein’s husband’s lucrative revenue streams and profits from selling forcibly abandoned Postal Service properties.

    If the Democrats cared about protecting the Postal Service, they would have called their bill something like the Postal Service Protection Act or Postal Service Preservation Act or something. They would also in due course repeal that forced Retirement SuperPreFunding law and set the Postal Service free to reduce the setaside to normal levels found at other institutions , and then be free to spend the remainder on Postal Service Upgradement Invesments.

    I will say again, if the Black Lives Matter movement decides that the Postal Service matters to Black Lives, then they will make it their concern. No one else has and no one else will. Certainly not the insincere pose-striking Democrats in Nancy Pelosi’s House.

    Reply
  3. Pat

    If they are serious about this, they will do what the Republicans would do when serious. Hold everything the other party wants done hostage until this is a done deal. Meaning after the House passes this, NOTHING gets done until the Senate passes it. Except for hearings where they harass DeJoy and a few other others for their illegal financial ties, maybe two or three days on both him and DeVos and…

    Also helpful would be passing a corrective law declaring all pension funds the property of the employees that cannot be accessed by any purchaser or administrator for anything BUT those employees either as a pension or a distribution to be rolled over into a personal retirement fund or IRA of the employees choice for their future retirement. I mean removing the piggy bank couldn’t hurt.

    Oh but wait both of those would annoy their masters.

    Reply
    1. Keith in Modesto

      “If they are serious about this, they will do what the Republicans would do when serious. Hold everything the other party wants done hostage until this is a done deal.”

      This is 100% correct.

      Reply
        1. polecat

          It’s all Kubuki All The Time! The D’s are looking rather shabby though .. in their greasy, tattered costumes .. but they ARE fabulous at self-hobbling for personal gain.

          Reply
      1. marym

        +2 Trump said again yesterday he would oppose pandemic relief that included USPS funding. The Dems should absolutely not be introducing a performative stand-alone bill at this time.

        Reply
        1. marym

          He said again today.

          In an interview with Fox Business on Thursday, Mr. Trump criticized a $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by House Democrats in May, which included provisions that would provide $25 billion for the USPS and $3.5 billion in election assistance to states.

          “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-postal-service-funding-mail-in-voting/

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        The fact that the legislation would only prevent changes to the USPS until the end of the pandemic is a pretty obvious tell that they aren’t really serious.

        Reply
  4. orlbucfan

    Well, the yahoos have to get it through the Senate and then override a tRump veto. These clowns better do something as the voting turnouts are heavy. The plebes are paying attention, and coming out to vote. I refuse to hold my breath though!

    Reply
    1. Bob

      The Democrats should take a page from Rep. Virginia Foxx who got the house of representatives to vote some 50 times to abolish ObamaCare.

      Of course she knew it would not pass however there were advantages to keeping the pot stirred and keeping the issue in the forefront of the news cycle..

      The Congress has done nothing to prevent the looting of the Postal Service and its properties. And of course it has done so in a Bipartisan manner.

      Crooks

      Reply
  5. Keith

    Well, if passed, I suspect it will give the management the power to sit back and do nothing until it is legislated by Congress; otherwise they run the risk of facing someone’s wrath. Postal employees, in the meantime, will be able to run up OT and pad their salaries. As Congress legislates by crisis, this policy would likely stay in effect until the next crisis, leaving the Post Office without the ability to innovate or manage service to improve services. By then, Pelosi may be gone and a friend of privatization may be in charge.

    Also, this would set the Post Office up as the fall guy for vote by mail problems, giving politicians on both sides cover.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Slowly losing the last remaining shreds of his always-tiny mind. That’s where Biden is.

      Dead Joe Walking! Feel the dementum.

      Reply
  6. Glen

    Looking forward to when the USPS collapses, Bezos buys it and mail rates go up by at least a factor of ten.

    Saw this happen in Montana when they deregulated electricity. Rates jumped up so high, so fast that businesses closed.

    Reply
  7. lakecabs

    Your arguement seems to be we must defund the Postal Workers pension fund so we can deliver Amazon’s packages below cost.

    Do you really think the founding fathers would approve of the sweet heart deal Amazon has?

    I think they would have wanted everyone to have the same price.

    This has nothing to do with Trump. This is not a politcal issue.

    Should Amazon have their packages delivered belowed cost or not?

    Reply
    1. rd

      My understanding is that the Amazon cost is above the marginal cost for sorting and delivery. This is pretty common in business where you have a high fixed cost (real estate, trucks, workers already required for primary duties). As far as I can tell, they have a single large customer that can provide extra revenue and cash flow by using those same entities to sell an additional service where the marginal cost is extra drivers for Sunday. This is the same type of pricing you see in utilities etc. where a large industrial customer can get preferred rates especially if thay are large and can use the utility in off-peak periods where there is spare capacity.

      Reply
  8. Gnotti

    I am retiring from the post office in a couple of weeks. Just for the record the rural carriers are paid per shift and receive no overtime except during the holidays. I suspect the city carriers are the same. They have since the contract with Amazon put in between 1 to 4 hours of unpaid time daily. We have trouble retaining subs because they are not stupid enough to work all those unpaid hour for nothing and receive no benefits. The clerical staff is paid for overtime but work split shifts at the convenience of management. I am in a small office but I don’t know anyone getting overtime except plant workers.

    Reply
  9. lakecabs

    My mail lady is 60ish. She bids her route and Jeff Bezos is killing her. She has to make two trips instead of one and deliver to a door 30 to 50 times a day.

    Jeff Bezos Washington Post complains she is moving to slow.

    Reply
  10. flora

    USPS threatens Penn vote. Penn is a swing state. ‘Nice democracy ya got here, be a shame if something happened to it.’

    USPS says Pennsylvania mail ballots may not be delivered on time, and state warns of ‘overwhelming’ risk to voters

    The U.S. Postal Service has warned Pennsylvania that some mail ballots might not be delivered on time because the state’s deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards,” prompting election officials to ask the state Supreme Court to extend the deadlines to avoid disenfranchising voters.

    https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pennsylvania-mail-voting-deadlines-post-office-lawsuit-20200813.html

    Reply
  11. marym

    There’s a long-standing project to destroy the postal system as a public service; and the current project to destroy it to suppress the vote. The disenfranchisement project is doing further harm (delays of other vital mail), and will facilitate the the long-term project.

    Reply

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