House passes USPS bill
The United States Postal Service is one of the backbones of our economy and an important part of every American’s life. The USPS is not only critically important to people who live in the rural areas that private delivery companies won’t serve, but to the millions of other Americans who rely on the Postal Service to get life-saving medications and checks.
Unfortunately, the Postal Service faces serious financial challenges.
COVID-19 Damages USPS Finances
The Postal Service relies heavily on First-Class and marketing mail, which has declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing USPS revenues to drop dramatically. As a result of the pandemic, USPS expects a loss of $13 billion in 2020, $22 billion over the next 18 months, and more than $54 billion in all - and USPS has warned that because of the decrease in mail volume, the Postal Service may run out of money next year.
Congressional Action to Help USPS
Congress included a $10 billion loan for the USPS in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which became law with Congressman Doyle’s support in March. The CARES Act also provided relief to households, small businesses, the unemployed, health care providers, and state and local governments.
Believing that the USPS needed more help than that, Congressman Doyle cosponsored H.R. 6425, the Protect Our Post Offices Act, in April. This legislation would allocate $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS. These funds could be used to make up lost revenue, to purchase and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front-line postal workers, and for other expenditures that are necessary to support continuing operations by the Postal Service.
Mail Delays Have Also Been Caused by USPS Changes
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has made changes in how the USPS operates which have drastically delayed mail deliveries. These changes include removing sorting machines and prohibiting overtime even when mail is backlogged. These changes are particularly harmful to vulnerable individuals who during the coronavirus pandemic rely on the Postal Service as the only safe way they can receive medications or other critical documents and materials.
USPS Delays Could Affect Mail-In Votes
These changes are being made not only at a time when postal delivery services are essential because of the pandemic, but also in the lead-up to this year’s elections. Delays in mail delivery could mean that many mail-in ballots won’t reach election officials in time to be counted.
Because of Postmaster General DeJoy’s history of partisanship and ties to the President, it is especially troubling that many of the policy changes that are slowing down mail delivery were put in place after the President began expressing his strong opposition to providing additional funding for the Postal Service and falsely claiming that mail-in ballots are more susceptible to fraud. For these reasons, Congressman Doyle joined a number of his colleagues in sending a letter to Mr. DeJoy, demanding transparency on the USPS operational changes.
After an overwhelming backlash from Congress and the public, the Postmaster General has announced that he will be suspending any further changes to the Postal Service until after the election. Unfortunately, he also said that the USPS will not roll back any of the changes already made.
Postmaster General DeJoy’s refusal to repair the damage he’s already done came soon after the USPS informed 46 states, including Pennsylvania, that it may not be able to deliver all of their official election-related mail by the deadlines set by law.
For these reasons, Congressman Doyle believes that Mr. Dejoy can no longer be trusted to fairly run the USPS - and he joined many of his colleagues in urging his removal from the position of Postmaster General.
House Approves Bill to End Mail Delays
With the pandemic still raging across the country, voting by mail will be critically important to ensuring that all Americans can vote safely this year. Congressman Doyle wants to make sure that the Postal Service can deliver all mail-in ballots in time for them to be counted.
Congressman Doyle joined a majority in the House in voting for $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service in H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, which the House approved on May 15. The Heroes Act has been sitting in the Senate since then, however, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell has indicated that he will not allow the Senate to vote on it.
With Postmaster General Dejoy refusing to reverse the changes that are slowing down mail delivery, and with the Senate refusing to consider the Heroes Act, the House approved H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, with Congressman Doyle’s support on August 22. This legislation would require the USPS to reverse any actions it has taken this year that are causing delays in processing or delivery of mail - or, even worse, are causing non-delivery of mail; this provision would remain in effect for the duration of the coronavirus emergency or through January 2021, whichever is later. The Delivering for America Act would also provide the $25 billion in relief that was included in the Protect Our Post Offices Act and was approved by the House as part of the Heroes Act. This legislation must still be approved by the Senate in order to become law.
Congressman Doyle has pledged to continue to work to enact legislation that will protect the Postal Service and its workers. It is essential that the government continue to provide this vital service during these uncertain times.
Congressman Doyle is also continuing to work to enact swift additional relief for all of the Americans struggling to deal with the health threats and economic hardships caused by COVID-19.