Pelosi, Schumer, Top Committee Democrats Press Postmaster General for Answers on Partisan Campaign to Slow the Mail Before the Election

Aug 14, 2020
Press Release
Democratic Leaders Release Letters from Postal Service This Week Detailing Dangerous Operational Changes at Hundreds of Facilities Across the Country

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and the top Democrats from four Congressional committees with jurisdiction over federal elections and the Postal Service – Chairperson Zoe Lofgren of the Committee on House Administration, Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Ranking Member Gary C. Peters of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – sent a detailed ten-page letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy demanding answers to grave questions about sweeping changes he is making at hundreds of postal facilities across the country which are slowing the mail and therefore jeopardize the integrity of the election.

“Rather than strongly advocating for the Postal Service’s request for emergency funding, it appears that you are now using funding shortfalls—which are being aggravated by the President himself—to justify sweeping operational changes that experts warn could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail, jeopardize crucial deliveries such as prescription medicines and essential goods, and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming November elections,” the Democrats wrote.

Their letter comes in response to statements made by President Donald Trump on Thursday admitting that he is opposing the Postal Service’s urgent, bipartisan request for $25 billion as part of the coronavirus legislation pending in Congress because of his baseless objection to expanding main-in voting.

The House of Representatives passed this request 91 days ago as part of the Heroes Act, as well as an additional $3.6 billion in election assistance funding for states, but President Trump has refused to provide this crucial federal assistance.

As part of today’s letter, the Democrats also released two letters sent to Congress by Postal Service General Counsel and Executive Vice President Thomas J. Marshall.

  • The first letter admitted that the Postal Service now lacks the funding necessary to fulfill its core mission, warning:  “We are currently unable to balance our costs with available funding sources to fulfill both our universal service mission and other legal obligations.”  The letter went on to outline a number of drastic operational changes that the Postmaster General is attempting to implement in the name of cost-cutting.
     
  • The second letter (attachment) asserted in rosy language that “the Postal Service remains fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process by doing everything we can to handle and deliver Election Mail, including ballots, in a timely manner consistent with our operational standards.”  Yet, it went on to describe changes in longstanding practice that threaten to disenfranchise voters in the November election.

“We are writing today to request additional information and documents regarding your policies and practices, the specific changes you are proposing, the rationale for those changes, and the potential impacts of those changes,” the Democrats wrote today.  “The Postal Service should not make changes that slow down the mail or in any way compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail—including significant numbers of people who will be relying on the Postal Service to exercise their right to vote.”

This morning, the Postmaster General sent his own letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer, conceding: “I also recognize that there have been unintended consequences related to these efforts that have impacted overall service levels.”  Rather than support additional funding or reverse his recent changes, however, he argued that “the Postal Service is working feverishly to address service problems.”

The letter from the Democratic leaders asked for responses to questions and a host of documents within one week.

Click here to read the full letter.

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116th Congress