Espaillat Votes to Save the U.S. Postal Service and the Right to Vote From the Trump Administration’s Assaults

August 24, 2020
Press Release
Critical Vote Comes As New USPS Internal Documents Detail True Extent of Postmaster General’s Damaging Delays

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, with the U.S. Postal Service under assault from the Trump Administration, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) voted to pass H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act. The Delivering for America Act requires the Postal Service to return to the Postal Service operations and levels of service that were in place on January 1, 2020 throughout the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency and requires all election mail to be treated as First-Class mail. It also provides $25 billion in critical funding for the Postal Service – the same level of funding recommended by the USPS Board of Governors, which is composed of 100 percent President Trump appointees.

The vote comes at the same time as newly uncovered internal Postal Service documents warning Postmaster General DeJoy about steep declines and increasing delays nationwide over the last two months, delays that are far worse than originally believed.

Yet despite the urgent need for action, Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration have repeatedly claimed that there are “no delays” with the mail and “no data,” suggesting the delays are no more than “conspiracy theories.”

“The Postal Service is essential to the fabric of our communities, providing New York families and all Americans with critical services, including the delivery of life-saving prescriptions, Social Security benefits, paychecks, tax returns and ballots,” said Rep. Espaillat.

“Yet, the Trump Administration and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have waged an outrageous campaign to degrade postal operations and delay mail delivery in the middle of a pandemic and just months before a Presidential election, threatening to sabotage the election and disenfranchise countless voters. While the committed activism of Democrats and the American people forced the Postmaster General into announcing a so-called ‘pause,’ it is a wholly insufficient step that does not reverse damage already wreaked. The Postmaster General even admitted that he has no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for overtime, which are critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works. Therefore, in the name of our democracy and the New York veterans, seniors, families and small businesses who depend on the Post Office, I proudly joined my colleagues to pass the Delivering for America Act to undo the damage and ensure the Postal Service has the resources necessary to fulfill its vital role at this pivotal moment.”

The Delivering for America Act would prohibit:
• Any change that would generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis;
• Any revision of existing service standards;
• Closing, consolidating or reducing the hours of any post office or postal facility;
• Any prohibition on paying overtime to Postal Service officers or employees;
• Any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards or cause a decline in measurements of performance relative to those standards; and
• Any change that would have the effect of delaying mail or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.

This legislation will also:
• Include $25 billion requested by the Postal Service and supported unanimously and on a bipartisan basis by the Trump-appointed Postal Board of Governors;
• Require the Postal Service to treat all official election mail as First-Class mail;
• Prohibit the removal, decommissioning or other stoppage of mail sorting machines, other than for routine maintenance;
• Prohibit the removal of mailboxes; and
• Explicitly reverse any changes already implemented to the operations or policies of the Postal Service that delay mail delivery.

In addition to this vital legislation, House Democrats have taken swift action to hold the Postmaster General and the Trump Administration accountable. Democrats have written to the Postmaster General three times to demand answers and key documents and information, and to call for a reversal of policies that have worsened the crisis and exacerbated a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail. And on Monday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold an urgent hearing with Postmaster General DeJoy to answer to the American people as to why he is pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten the health of Americans during a pandemic and silence the voices of millions just months before the election.

“I stand with my fellow Democrats to protect the rights on my constituents and millions of Americans across the country to oppose the Administration’s dangerous attacks on the Postal Service, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of families and the life of our American Democracy,” continued Rep. Espaillat. “I will continue fighting to address the damage done to the Postal Service and ensure that every American can freely exercise their sacred right to vote in a safe and healthy way.”

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