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Rep. Jennifer Wexton Joins 174 House Democrats in Calling on Postmaster General to Reverse Assault on Postal Service

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From Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10).

Wexton Joins 174 House Democrats in Calling on Postmaster General to Reverse Assault on Postal Service

Washington, DC — In a new letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and 172 other House Democrats yesterday calling for the reversal of policies that have worsened the crisis facing the Postal Service and exacerbated a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail.

“The Postal Service is essential for our small businesses to function, our veterans to get their medications, and our elections to operate safely and securely this November,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “USPS is a nonpartisan institution that is older than the country itself, but the steps taken by this administration over the past few weeks make it clear that this essential government service is being abused as a tool for political purposes. The President himself admitted that these actions, including refusing to support critical emergency funding, are being done in an effort to cripple the agency’s ability to process mail-in ballots — it is nothing less than sabotage with no concern for the collateral damage and a threat to the integrity of our elections.”

Yesterday, President Trump explained in an interview with Fox Business that the White House opposes emergency funding for the Postal Service in the next COVID-19 relief bill because it would allow for universal mail-in voting. Additionally, new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has implemented sweeping changes over the past few weeks, reassigning or displacing 23 postal executives and deactivating mail sorting machines without explanation. These and other changes have led to reports of significant delays in mail and package delivery.

Below is the text of the letter to the Postmaster General.

August 12, 2020

Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza West, S.W.
Washington, DC 20260

Dear Postmaster General:

We write to follow up on the letter that was sent on August 6 to you regarding many serious concerns about operational changes that you have implemented since assuming the position of Postmaster General, which have worsened the crisis facing the Postal Service, and specifically have exacerbated a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail impacting mail delivery times and quality of service for Americans.  We wrote last week, and sadly, the letter sent today to the Oversight Committee is insufficient.

As you know, the United States Postal Service is a pillar of our American Democracy that is enshrined in the Constitution, which empowers Congress to “establish Post Offices and Post Roads.”  The Postal Service provides critical services for the American people: delivering medicine to seniors, paychecks to workers, tax refunds to millions and absentee ballots to voters.

It is always essential that the Postal Service be able to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner.  During the once-in-a-century health and economic crisis of COVID-19, the Postal Service’s smooth functioning is a matter of life-or-death, and is critical for protecting lives, livelihoods and the life of our American Democracy.

The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing Post Offices to no longer treat all election mail as First Class.  If implemented now, as the election approaches, this policy will cause further delays to election mail that will disenfranchise voters and put significant financial pressure on election jurisdictions.  Because many states have traditionally allowed voters to request absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots within a few days of the election, it is essential that standard delivery times remain short and pricing remain consistent.

We also remain concerned about a significant operational restructuring, done without any apparent analysis and consultation, which will weaken the ability of the Postal Service to respond to local needs.  These changes were made without sufficient consultation with Congress, and include reductions of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of Post Offices, and the reduction of the number and use of processing equipment at mail processing plants. These changes compound the operational and service delays that you have instituted.

During our meeting with Leader Schumer on August 5, you committed to greater transparency and accountability with the Congress and the American people regarding the changes that you have made, which directly reach into the lives of the American people.  We remind you of your pledge to provide documentation of the operational changes that you have and are currently making, and of the Postal Service’s plan to successfully deliver election mail during the 2020 elections.

The Postal Service motto states, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  Let us keep the promise provided for in the Constitution to the American people.

We await your swift reply.

 

Sincerely,