Ruppersberger Votes to Support U.S. Postal Service and Protect Americans’ Right to Mail in Ballots
(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger on Saturday voted in favor of critical legislation reversing operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service amid steep declines in service over the last two months. H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support and now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
In addition to requiring USPS to return to its level of service in place at the beginning of the year for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislation requires all election mail to be treated as First-Class mail. It also provides $25 billion in critical funding for USPS as recommended by its Board of Governors, all of which were appointed by President Trump.
The vote comes as internal Postal Service documents warning Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about increasing mail delays nationwide were made public.
“Over the last few weeks, I have heard from scores of constituents throughout the Second District who have not been receiving their mail regularly or at all – and these documents show that the delays are far worse than originally believed,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “The Postal Service provides Maryland families and all Americans with critical services, including the delivery of prescriptions, paychecks, tax returns and ballots. 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.”
Over the last several weeks, the USPS, under DeJoy’s direction, has reduced overtime, removed blue mailboxes and taken mail sorting machines offline, even as more Americans turn to USPS during the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming November election. President Trump has been explicit in his campaign against mail-in ballots, even so far as falsely suggesting ballot drop boxes are not “COVID sanitized.” DeJoy on Monday will appear before the House Oversight Committee to answer to the American people as to why he pushed these dangerous new policies that threaten the health of Americans during a pandemic and silence the voices of millions just months before the election.
Specifically, the Delivering for America Act prohibits:
- 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 also:
- Includes $25 billion requested by the Postal Service and supported unanimously and on a bipartisan basis by the Trump-appointed Postal Board of Governors;
- Requires the Postal Service to treat all official election mail as First-Class mail;
- Prohibits the removal, decommissioning or other stoppage of mail sorting machines, other than for routine maintenance;
- Prohibits the removal of mailboxes, and;
- Explicitly reverses any changes already implemented to the operations or policies of the Postal Service that delay mail delivery.