Speaker Nancy Pelosi will reconvene a vacationing Congress this week over the crisis at the U.S. Postal Service. Members of Congress will probably return to Washington this weekend, with Pelosi urging them to vote on a bill sponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.
The legislation being prepared for the vote, the “Delivering for America Act,” would prohibit the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on Jan. 1.
“In a time of a pandemic, the Postal Service is Election Central,” Pelosi wrote Sunday in a letter to colleagues, who had been expected to be out of session until September. “Lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy are under threat from the president.”
It is very doubtful the bill will become law, with the GOP-led Senate showing no sign of following suit.
Congress is at a standoff over postal operations. House Democrats approved funds as part of a pending COVID-19 relief package but Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at additional funds for election security.
Louis Dejoy, Donald Trump’s new postmaster general and a Trump mega-donor and businessman, who took over the postal service in May, almost immediately introduced new policies, cutting back overtime, price increases, and discouraging extra trips by postal service. These are aimed at making the money-losing but mostly reliable agency more competitive, according to Dejoy, but which have had the effect of slowing down the mail for many Americans.
This, just as millions of Americans will be trying to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump on Monday defended the agency’s embattled new leader, a major Republican donor, but also claimed that mail-in ballots would be “a disaster.”
“I want to make the post office great again,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” Later at the White House he denied asking for a mail-delivery slow down and said the Post Office is “running very well.”
Funding a cash-strapped Postal Service has quickly turned into a top campaign issue as Trump presses his unsupported claim that increased mail-in voting will undermine the credibility of the election and Democrats push back.