Trump Administration Could Veto House Democrat Bill That Seeks to Freeze USPS Changes

August 22, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

The White House has come out in opposition to a bill introduced by House Democrats that seeks to reverse certain changes to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) operations and prohibit new ones while providing $25 billion to the financially distressed agency, with the Office of Management and Budget saying if the legislation reaches the desk of President Donald Trump, it would recommend a veto.

The office said in a statement Friday (pdf) that it “strongly opposes” the bill, called H.R. 1805 (pdf), arguing that it would add to USPS woes by making it more vulnerable to lawsuits, while freezing reforms undertaken to set the financially beleaguered agency on a course of market viability, and showering it “arbitrarily” with billions in taxpayer dollars.

“USPS does not need a $25 billion bailout. It needs reforms that will return it to a trend of longterm financial self-sufficiency,” the statement said, adding that the agency is in a strong cash position and has entered a deal with the Treasury Department to receive up to $10 billion in emergency funding if necessary to fund operations amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

“As a result, there is no reason to suspect that USPS, which handled an average of 2.7 billion pieces of mail per week in 2019, will have any difficulty handling mail volume associated with the 2020 election unless Congress puts in place new requirements that make this important work more difficult,” the statement reads, arguing further that the measure would “impose burdensome new requirements on USPS that would make it even harder for USPS to deliver election mail.”

The Democrat bill is sponsored by Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). It calls for a range of actions including putting a freeze on any decommissioning of sorting machines, prohibiting reduction of post office hours and overtime, and “any change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis.” The freeze would be in effect until the end of the CCP virus pandemic or until Jan. 31, whichever comes first.

“On Saturday, the House is reconvening for a special session to vote on my bill, the Delivering for America Act,” Maloney said in a statement. “This legislation will provide the $25 billion the Postal Service requested, which was supported unanimously by the Postal Service Board of Governors, all of whom were appointed by President Trump; and it will return delivery standards to the way they were before the Postmaster General’s sweeping changes.”

Epoch Times Photo
A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) post office in Philadelphia, Penn., on Aug. 14, 2020. (Rachel Wisniewski/Reuters)

Democrats have accused Trump of trying to squeeze USPS operations to suppress mail-in voting in November’s election, with the president being a vocal critic of vote-by-mail arrangements, arguing they are prone to fraud, for which evidence is scant.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that has long raised the alarm about the risks of mail-in ballot fraud, in its own database of all reported instances of election fraud, dating back to 1979, lists only 1,296 “proven instances of voter fraud.” However, the organization’s communications manager told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that “the database is only intended to represent a small sampling of the types of voter fraud that can occur—it is by no means a comprehensive report of all the voter fraud that happens around the country.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said that the USPS is in a financially untenable position, but he maintains it can handle this year’s election mail.

“Although there will likely be an unprecedented increase in election mail volume due to the pandemic, the Postal Service has ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on time in accordance with our delivery standards, and we will do so,” he told the Postal Service’s governing board recently, while in Friday’s testimony before a Senate panel, DeJoy vowed to prioritize mail-in ballots over other mail in November and insisted the agency is “fully capable” of delivering election mail on time.

DeJoy has introduced changes at the Postal Service, including cutting overtime and halting late delivery trips that are sometimes needed to ensure mail arrives on time, arguing they are needed to return the agency to financial and operational viability.

Democrats have blasted the changes, alleging that DeJoy’s cost-cutting initiatives and other changes might create problems during Election Day, as some states have unveiled plans to expand absentee ballots and mail-in voting in a bid to curb the spread of the CCP virus.

Following the outcry, DeJoy announced that he would put a freeze on some of the operational changes to the USPS until the election is over.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said this week. DeJoy did not specify what initiatives he would be suspending and vowed to expand a task force on mail during the election.

In its statement, the White House criticized the bill as “an overreaction to sensationalized media reports that have made evidence-free accusations that USPS has undertaken reforms to achieve political rather than operational objectives.”

DeJoy is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

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