WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — In an unusual Saturday session, the House of Representatives will take up a bill that aims to protect the U.S. Postal Service.
The legislation is expected to pass down party lines. Democrats argue it is essential to stop any changes that could interfere with the election, but Republicans say they should instead act on the next coronavirus relief plan.
“This should not be a partisan issue,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, during a House Rules Committee meeting Friday. “The president of the United States thinks that we should make it more difficult for people to vote during the worst health crisis our nation has experienced in a century.”
Maloney created the Delivering for America Act after she and other Democrats accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of deliberately implementing cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail delivery and could threaten mail-in voting.
“These attempts to hurt the Postal Service and undermine our democracy must end,” Maloney said.
DeJoy has promised to suspend additional changes until after the election, but Maloney argues that won’t fix the damage already done. Her legislation would give $25 billion in emergency funding to the USPS, outlaw additional service cuts until at least the end of the year and require same-day processing of mail-in ballots.
Though he didn’t mention the bill by name, DeJoy told a Senate committee Friday he supports additional USPS funding for losses related to the pandemic.
“I also urge the Congress to enact legislation that would provide the Postal Service with financial relief to account for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial condition,” DeJoy said.
However, Republicans like Rep. Tim Burchett, R-TN, said the legislation falls short of delivering for the American people.
“It won’t even be brought up in the Senate,” Burchett said. “It’s just another political gamesmanship on the backs of the American taxpayers.”
Burchett and the White House said Congress should instead be voting on another coronavirus stimulus package.
DeJoy told senators Friday the Postal Service will send a letter to every household in September explaining the process for voting by mail and urging voters to send their ballots early to make sure they’re counted by Election Day on Nov. 3.
The postmaster general will testify before a House committee Monday.