BREAKING NEWS: House Passes Emergency United States Postal Service Funding Bill
In a rare Saturday legislative session, the House of Representatives just passed emergency legislation which extends $25 billion in emergency funding to the United States Postal Service so that it can handle the massive influx of mail-in ballots expected in November’s presidential election.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) summoned lawmakers back from recess earlier this week to vote on the Delivering for America Act, put forth by House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). The proposal “prohibits the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from making changes to operations or levels of service from those that were in effect on January 1, 2020.”
The final vote tally was 257-150, indicating that only 26 Republicans crossed party lines to caucus with the Democratic majority. It now heads to the Senate, which is still in recess until next month.
The Postal Service “may not, during the period beginning on enactment of this bill and ending on the last day of the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) public health emergency or January 1, 2021, whichever is later, implement or approve any change to the operations or the level of service that would impede prompt, reliable, and efficient services,” the legislation states.
Such changes include “changes in the nature of services that will generally affect service on a nationwide basis; revisions of service standards; closures or consolidations of post offices or reduction of facility hours; prohibitions on payment of overtime pay to USPS officers or employees; changes that would prevent the USPS from meeting its service standards or that would reduce measurements of performance concerning those standards;” and “changes that would have the effect of delaying mail, allowing non-delivery to a delivery route, or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.”
President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have been tirelessly hacking away at USPS personnel and infrastructure in order to cripple mail-in voting and thus help Trump steal the election.
Democrats have decried the crisis at USPS as a “five alarm fire.”
“This is an emergency,” Representative James McGovern (D-MA) said Saturday ahead of the vote. “And on top of that, we have a president who does not want every vote counted in the upcoming election because he believes that if we do count every vote he will lose. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. More and more people are going to be voting by mail.”
“This president is on a warpath to destroy the postal service,” Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) added.
For millions, mail-in voting is the only safe choice amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 176,000 Americans since March, and is expected to worsen in the fall and winter months.