House set to vote on USPS bill amid mail-in voting controversy
Pelosi: “In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central.”
August 22, 2020, 7:27 PM
5 min read
The House is expected to vote on Saturday to provide $25 billion in funding to the U.S. Postal Service, while blocking operational changes that have slowed down service ahead of the election.
The “Delivering for America Act” would also require that all official election mail be treated as “first-class mail,” prohibit the removal of mail sorting machines and mailboxes, and reverse any already implemented changes that could delay mail delivery.
Democrats have accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a donor to President Donald Trump’s campaign, of engineering the changes at the agency in an effort to sow distrust in mail-in voting and impact the results of the election as Americans are expected to vote by mail in unprecedented numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“No American should ever have to choose between their health, safety and wellbeing on one hand, and their constitutional right to vote on the other,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Saturday. “Don’t mess with USPS.”
DeJoy, testifying before the Senate on Friday, called the accusations against him “outrageous” and said changes to the Postal Service were necessary to address its poor finances. He said the agency is “fully capable” of delivering ballots in a timely fashion this fall, but he committed to stopping additional operational changes ahead of the election. He did not, however, say he would reverse those already in motion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Saturday said the bill was an attempt to hold DeJoy to his commitment to deliver ballots after his “ambiguous” testimony.
“His comments are one thing, his actions will be another,” she said.
Democrats are expected to pass the measure Saturday without support from Republicans, who denied the need for new funding and policy changes and accused Democrats of turning the post office into a political football.
“This bill is a sham, it is a shame, it is not needed right now,” Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., said on the House floor Saturday.
“We have no crisis here. It is something they will be easily able to handle,” Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., said of the post office’s ability to handle the influx in mail-in ballots.
Earlier in the day, Steve Scalise, R-La., called the Democrats’ concerns a “conspiracy theory” in a tweet.
On Saturday, Democrats unveiled new data from the USPS on delays, claiming the information shows a direct link between new agency policies and the delays, which are “far worse than we were told,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has dismissed the need for a standalone bill, while the White House has threatened a presidential veto.
“They’ll be hearing from their constituents because this hits home — not receiving your mail in a timely fashion hits home. Not receiving your prescriptions, especially for our veterans, hits home in a way that is harmful to our country,” Pelosi said of Senate Republicans.