House passes bill to give $25 billion to U.S. Postal Service, Trump vows veto

GOP lawmakers blast House leadership for planning to pass $25 billion of USPS rescue funding before Postmaster General hearing

Updated: August 23, 2020 - 7:57pm

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The Democrat-controlled House on Saturday passed a measure to reverse recent changes in U.S. Postal Service operations and give $25 billion in emergency money to the agency before the November elections.

The vote count was 257-to-150, with 26 Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the legislation.
The measure — amid concerns that the postal service's mail delivery has slowed, delaying the arrival of critical items like prescriptions — is not expected to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate and President Trump has vowed to veto the bill.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy earlier this week, ahead of the vote, said that he would delay the implementation of recent changes until after the elections and vowed that the agency is "fully capable and committed to delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time."

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., argues that House legislation to bail out the U.S. Postal Service favors unions that support the Democratic Party and could prompt a flood of lawsuits.

“This bill does nothing to help the Postal Service modernize and improve its services. In fact, it prevents the Post Office from doing anything to address operational issues and subjects it to a never-ending string of potential lawsuits,” Comer said during a House Rules Committee meeting on Friday.

“There’s been talk about whether the Postal Service needs a bailout for some months now, but the Postal Service’s own financials show it is not in need of such funding,” he added.

Comer said Democrats and their “union-task masters” oppose Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s efforts to reform the Postal Service and its “broken business model.”

“Democrats want to dump billions of tax dollars into a broken system that they are now handcuffing through the rest of the pandemic,” he said. “The Delivering for America Act does not deliver for all Americans but it does favor Democrat-backed unions.”

Comer pointed out that 12,000 mailboxes were removed during the Obama years but said he didn’t hear Democrats outraged at the time.

The latest version of House Oversight Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Delivering for America Act includes increased funding for USPS, a provision related to civil lawsuits and suspends changes at USPS through January 31.

“A person who is harmed by a violation of this Act may bring a civil action against the Postal Service in an appropriate district court for injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to the violation,” the bill read.

The National Postal Mail Handlers Union issued a statement “in full support” of the bill and praised the $25 billion of emergency funding.

“As a nation, we cannot stand by while deliberate delays are put in place that undermine the nation’s most trusted federal agency and that threaten our electoral process,” the statement read. “During this national health crisis, every American household and business needs to be assured they can continue to rely on the Postal Service."

Rep. Tom Cole, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, criticized the House Democratic leadership for planning to pass the bill before hearing from DeJoy. As of now, the vote on USPS funding is expected to take place on Saturday.

A hearing is scheduled Monday with DeJoy in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. DeJoy told the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Friday the service can and will deliver mail-in ballots on time for the November election.

“When the Democrats took the majority, they made a promise – and enshrined it into a rule – that no bills would come before the Rules Committee that had not received both a hearing and a markup in the committee of jurisdiction,” Cole said.

“Sadly, the majority is once again violating that promise, just as they did last month and just as they have repeatedly done since the beginning of this Congress and to make matters even worse, they are moving this bill now, despite scheduling a hearing with the Postmaster General in the House next Monday," he added.

Cole argued that USPS has “sufficient funds” to handle election mail during the pandemic.

“The Postal Service has sufficient cash on hand to continue operating well into 2021,” he said. “Postmaster Joy has repeatedly said the Postal Service can and will meet its obligations with respect to delivering election mail.”

Democratic lawmakers began the push for a USPS bailout before their current debate with President Trump over the handling of mail-in voting.

In May, the $3 trillion HEROES Act included $25 billion in rescue funds for USPS to help them cope with revenue loss during the pandemic.

In early July, a bill was introduced in the Senate, the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act, that would provide $25 billion help make up for lost revenue at USPS due to the pandemic.

Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro told Just the News on Friday that she expects the Democratic-led House to vote on Maloney's USPS bill with the $25 billion to help USPS handle mail-in voting ahead of the November election. She said the bill lawmakers vote on would likely not include other provisions on un-related issues.

“It is my understanding as we get ready to depart for Washington that we are essentially going to be voting on Congresswoman Maloney’s legislation, which does talk about the $25 billion for the Post Office in addition to asking for the restoration on overtime,” DeLauro said.

“The return of the equipment that’s been taken out. The use of first class postage for election mail and a variety of other things but I believe that’s the issue we will be voting on tomorrow and I haven’t heard about anything else yet that’s been added to it,” she added.

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