President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to dismantle the United States Postal Service or revamp the agency in a way that has angered Democrats and others who said it’s a tactic to prevent mail-in voting for the upcoming election.
The CARES Act passed in April authorized the postal service to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury Department for operating expenses if it’s deter- mines that, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the post office would not fund operating expenses without borrowing money.
“They have withheld that money. They have broken the law,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass told BlackPressUSA during a livestream inter- view last month. Other Democratic law- makers, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), also told BlackPressUSA that the president is try- ing to dismantle the postal service.
Trump has steadfastly opposed funding the postal service. Despite recently vot- ing with his wife by mail in a Florida primary election, the president said he’s against mail-in voting.
“Trump is not stupid. He knows if there is a decent-sized turnout in this election, he loses,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. “He and his friends believe they can suppress the vote by destroying the post office. We aren’t Toulouse Oliver (D), Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin (R), Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) joined in signing the letter.
“State and local election officials are busy planning for the November general election, and many expect an increase in the use of absentee and mail ballots, along with other election-related mailings,” the state officials wrote. “We view the [United States Postal Service] as a vital partner in administering a safe, successful election and would like to learn more about any planned changes around USPS service due to COVID-19, preparations for increased election-related mail, USPS staffing levels and process- ing times, and other pertinent issues.”
The postal service has sent letters to warn 46 states that it could not guarantee all mail-in ballots cast for the November election would arrive in time to be counted.
Some states, like Maryland and Vir- ginia, received a “heightened warning” that the postal service could not meet state-mandated deadlines.
In response, a large group of protesters staged a “noise demonstration” on Satur- day, August 15, 2020 outside of Post- master General Louis DeJoy’s home in Washington, D.C.
The demonstration was organized by the direct action group “Shut Down D.C.” The organization said they believe DeJoy is “dismantling” the U.S. Postal Service in favor of President Donald Trump’s reelection. They said his actions contribute to voter suppression. “DeJoy has fired or reassigned much of the existing USPS leadership and ordered the removal of mail sorting machines that are fundamental to the functioning of the postal service. Meanwhile, mail delivery is slowing down under other decisions made by DeJoy, such as eliminating overtime for postal workers,” the organization wrote in a statement.
This week, the U.S. Inspector General opened an investigation into DeJoy’s policy changes at the post office.
According to some lawmakers, those changes are reportedly taking a toll on military veterans who are experiencing much longer wait times to receive mail order prescription drugs. Slowdowns at the post office have reportedly also resulted in seniors receiving their medications late and other important mail like social security checks. It has also angered those who work for the agency.
Postal workers throughout the country have reported low morale, and many have cited the actions of Dejoy, who was ap- pointed by Trump. On Friday, August 14, 2020, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), a union that boasts nearly 300,000 active and retired postal workers, endorsed Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden.
“Vice President Biden is, was, and will continue to be a fierce ally and defender of the United States Postal Service, letter carriers, and our fellow postal brothers and sisters,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said in a statement. “Together, Biden and [vice presidential running mate] Sen. Kamala Harris fully exhibit the experience, dedication, thoughtfulness and steady hands that will work to ensure that letter carriers and working families are put first.”