House Approves Sweeping Legislation to Protect U.S. Postal Service
After sweeping operational and organizational changes at the United States Postal Service resulted in delays in mail across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives today, by a vote of 257 – 150, approved legislation to protect the nation’s postal system from Trump’s sabotage.
The Delivering for America Act – supported by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) – prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020 and provides $25 billion in critical funding to support the Postal Service. This level of funding was recommended by the USPS Board of Governors, which is composed entirely of Trump appointees.
“What Trump’s cronies have done to the United States Postal Service, one of our nation’s most esteemed and essential institutions, should never have been allowed to happen,” Blumenauer said. “In recent days, I have heard from nearly 10,000 constituents who are terrified that their lives and livelihoods will be threatened by this administration’s attack on our mail system, and that their voices will not be counted in the upcoming election. More than 500 people have also shared with me harrowing personal stories about how mail delays have already impacted their ability to receive medicine, run businesses, and more. The legislation passed today will reverse these disastrous policies and protect our postal system and all those who depend on it.”
While Postmaster General Louis DeJoy claimed earlier this week that he was pausing operational changes until after the November election, there has been no confirmation that changes already in place would be reversed – something Blumenauer has demanded. On Friday, DeJoy told a Senate panel that he has “no intention” to reinstall mail-sorting machines that were recently removed from service.
Specifically, the bill passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit:
- Any change that would generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis.
- Any revision of existing service standards.
- Closing, consolidating, or reducing the hours of any post office or postal facility.
- Any prohibition on paying overtime 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 standards.
- Any change that would have the effect of delaying mail or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.
The Delivering for America Act also makes several key protections to postal operations, including:
- Requiring the Postal Service to treat all official election mail as First-Class mail.
- Prohibiting the removal, decommissioning, or other stoppage of mail sorting machines, other than for routine maintenance.
- Prohibiting the removal of mailboxes.
- Explicitly reversing any changes already implemented to the operations or policies of the Postal Service that delay mail delivery.
These protections would remain in effect for the duration of the coronavirus crisis or through January 2021. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.