Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday night (August 16) that she and House Democratic leaders have called the House back to session for this week in an effort to stop President Trump’s blatant attempts to cripple the United States Postal Service (USPS), Politico reports.
According to Politico:
The House is expected to vote as early as Saturday, Aug. 22, on a proposal to block the Trump administration’s plan for overhauling the Postal Service. This is weeks earlier than Pelosi and the House Democratic leaders had originally planned to return to Washington. But the revised House schedule comes amid a national uproar over a crisis within the Postal Service ahead of a national election that will see an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.
Democrats are horrified by the president’s apparent attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to slow services at the USPS, according to Politico. All of this comes during the lead up to the November 3 presidential election. According to Politico:
Democrats allege Trump’s appointee to lead the Postal Service, Louis DeJoy, has overseen substantial operational changes to the agency that has led to backlogs and service interruptions—an immense concern as millions of Americans prepare to receive and return their ballots through the mail.
In a letter obtained by Politico, Pelosi on Sunday night urged fellow House Dems to end their vacations early to stop Trump, who has long claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud.
“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Pelosi said in her letter. “That is why I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week to vote on Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman [Carolyn] Maloney’s ‘Delivering for America Act,’ which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020.”
During an interview on Cadence13’s Campaign HQ podcast released Friday (August 14), President Barack Obama told David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager, that Trump is engaging in behavior we’ve never seen before. “What we’ve never seen before is a president say, ‘I’m going to try to actively kneecap the Postal Service to [discourage] voting, and I will be explicit about the reason I’m doing it.’ That’s sort of unheard of,” Obama said.
As Colorlines previously reported, a lack of support for the USPS will have the most dire consequences for communities of color:
The United States Postal Service is one of the largest employers of people of color and women in the U.S. Out of a workforce of over 7.3 million USPS workers, 40 percent of USPS employees are people of color with Black people making up over 20 percent of their non-white employees.
…And people of color don’t just occupy USPS’ workforce. They, along with low-income and disabled folks, also rely on USPS’ services, which have remained low-cost, especially in comparison to its private counterparts. With so many retail stores shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, USPS’ delivery provides access to essential supplies.
According to Politico, Pelosi and her team of Democratic leaders said they will conduct “aggressive oversight of DeJoy, a Trump donor and loyalist, and have demanded the postmaster general appear for an emergency committee hearing on Monday, Aug. 24.”
DeJoy has significantly reduced overtime hours for postal employees, restricted certain deliveries and has provided “conflicting information on the timeline for mail-in ballots,” Politico reports.