WASHINGTON – Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., joined other members of the House of Representatives on Saturday to pass emergency legislation to protect the U.S. Postal Service from changes which appear to be intended to interfere with absentee and mail-in voting, and have also interfered with timely deliver of mail and packages, including medications.
The bill provides the $25 billion that the bipartisan Postal Service’s Board of Governors requested to address budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reverses the operational changes instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“The Postal Service is at the heart of rural life for many Vermont communities and will be a pillar of our democracy this November,” said Welch. “When it comes to our democracy, we cannot trust the word of Donald Trump or his handpicked cronies. This legislation will make sure that the Postal Service has the support and the funding it needs to quickly deliver medicines, unemployment checks and ballots all across America.”
The Delivering for America Act, H.R. 8015, requires that the Postal Service maintain the same operations and level of service that existed at the beginning of the year, prior to the changes carried out by Postmaster General DeJoy.
DeJoy, a multimillion dollar contributor to President Donald Trump’s campaign, initiated changes critics say have harmed the functioning of the post office such as:
- Removing efficient mail sorting machines from sorting facilities across the country.
- Removing post office boxes from communities.
- Ending the longstanding practice of prioritizing the delivery of election mail.
- Curtailing overtime and directing employees to leave mail behind at distribution centers.
- Reassigning 23 senior career postal employees.
In May, Welch voted for the HEROES Act, which includes the $25 billion that the Postal Service needs. In July, he warned of the “grave threat” to the Postal Service, and the need for further funding at a press conference with representatives from local postal unions.