Democratic lawmakers may cut recess short to deal with USPS crisis: reports

Democratic lawmakers may cut recess short to deal with USPS crisis: reports

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are considering cutting short their legislative recess to deal with growing concerns about the alarming developments at the U.S. Postal Service, sources told Politico and CNN.

The USPS appears to be dissolving in front of Americans’ eyes ahead of an expected groundswell of mail-in ballots as voters seek to avoid the COVID-19 contagion risk of in-person voting in the Nov. 3 elections. The House may return to address the agency problems within the next two weeks, sources told Politico. The next votes for the chamber are scheduled for the week of Sept. 14.

The possibility of an early return to work was discussed Saturday in an emergency leadership phone call, Politico reported. Lawmakers have come under fire for taking a break without forging a new COVID-19 package — or addressing the USPS mess.

Under consideration for an early return may be passing some version of a bill introduced by House Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) that would prohibit the USPS from implementing a planned overhaul or major service changes before mail-in voting.

Democratic lawmakers have accused President Donald Trump and his hand-picked postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, of deliberately sabotaging the mail system to manipulate the vote in Trump’s favor.

The president as much as admitted Thursday that he’s blocking much-needed funding for the cash-strapped USPS to hamstring its handling of a massive influx of votes.

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Just as the USPS should be gearing up for a spike in mail volume, DeJoy banned overtime and imposed new limits on mail delivery times in an internal memo last month. In addition, the USPS is eliminating some 15% of its automated mail-sorting machines that speed processing and delivery — and the agency earlier this week began ripping out scores of letter collection boxes in a number of states.

As DeJoy — a prominent Trump campaign contributor — eliminated equipment and slowed service, the agency warned in a letter to 46 states that voters could be disenfranchised because their mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to make election deadlines, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement Friday accused Trump and Republicans of waging an “all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election.”

Trump “made plain that he will manipulate the operations of the Post Office to deny eligible voters the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election,” the statement added. “The president’s own words confirm: He needs to cheat to win.”

The inspector general of the USPS has launched an investigation into service cuts — and into ethics concerns involving DeJoy, CNN reported Friday. DeJoy still holds a $30 million equity stake in his former company, XPO Logistics, a USPS contractor, which could conceivably partner with a competitor if the agency stumbles. That means DeJoy could profit from the crisis he’s creating.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.