Lowey Demands Answers, Rejects Attacks, and Pledges to Protect the USPS, One of America’s Most Revered Institutions

August 21, 2020
Press Release

The Congresswoman’s remarks may be viewed by clicking here.
 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after President Trump’s attacks on the U.S. Postal Service:

“The Postal Service is an institution as old as our country itself, enshrined in the Constitution and essential for the day to day operations of our businesses and communities. Time and time again, the Postal Service has proven its value: reliably delivering essential items in a quick manner to our veterans, seniors, & other citizens, including those who live in the most remote communities across the country.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Postal Service has continued to deliver for Americans: providing critical shipping services to small businesses fighting to keep their doors open, stimulus payments to those struggling to pay rent, and absentee ballots to Americans who want to safely exercise their fundamental right to vote.

“In fact, since the start of the pandemic, my office has been contacted more than 2300 times by constituents, all of whom have written about how important the Postal Service is to them. From small business owners and health care providers, to local government officials and former letter carriers, the message was clear: the Postal Service is a lifeline for all Americans, rural, suburban and urban, regardless of their age, gender, race, ability, or socioeconomic status.

“However, President Trump and his administration have done their very best to belittle and dismantle this vital agency, resulting in significant increases in the amount of delayed or undeliverable mail. For the millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service for their medications or their Social Security checks, the President’s delays pose a significant risk to their lives and their livelihoods. Trump even admitted that his administration’s efforts to undermine the Postal Service were intended to make it more difficult to vote by mail, yet another example of the President using the power of his office for his own political gain.

“In the face of this dire threat to democracy, House Democrats acted quickly. On August 12th, I wrote to Postmaster General DeJoy with Speaker Pelosi and 192 of my colleagues in the House criticizing these changes and demanding greater transparency and accountability. While Postmaster General DeJoy has since announced a temporary pause in the planned operational changes at the agency, this will not reverse the lasting damage that has already been done to the Postal Service nor will it ensure countless voters are not disenfranchised this November.

“That is why the House of Representatives will meet this Saturday to protect the Postal Service from further attempts to sabotage the agency by the President and his allies. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s “Delivering for America Act,” of which I am a cosponsor, is a critical first step. This bill would prohibit the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations the agency had in place on January 1, 2020 that would reduce performance or impede prompt, reliable, and efficient service. This bill also mandates that the Postal Service treat all election material as first class – including voter registration and absentee ballot applications and completed absentee or other mail-in ballots.

“Additionally, the Postal Service must postmark and indicate the date of receipt of all election mail and ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that election mail is processed and cleared from any postal facility or post office on the same day it is received. Finally, the bill includes an additional $25 billion in funds for the Postal Service - the same level of funding recommended by the USPS Board of Governors, which is 100 percent composed of Trump appointees. 

“The HEROES Act – which I authored and which the House passed more than three months ago – also included $25 billion for the Postal Service for lost revenue due to the pandemic, plus language providing additional protections to postal workers. The bill would also provide $3.6 billion in election security grants, which can be used for the “planning, preparation, and resilience of elections.” This funding can be used to support: early voting, vote-by-mail, and prepaid postage requirements; the hiring and recruitment of additional poll workers, PPE for poll workers, and sanitization of polling places; and election security, including cybersecurity of voter registration databases and post-election audits.

“However, Senator McConnell and Republicans in the Senate sat on their hands and refused to act on this crucial piece of legislation, deepening the crisis the Postal Service is facing today. House Democrats understand the critical role the Postal Service has played in all our lives for the past several months. It is time for the President and Senate Republicans to stop playing politics with this essential agency and work with Democrats to give the Postal Service the resources it needs to continue its vital work.

“Americans should not have to choose between their health and safety and their fundamental right to vote in November.”

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