In a historic Saturday session, the House of Representatives passed the Delivering for America Act, H.R. 8015, with a vote of 257-150. This bill, as introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight & Reform, called to provide the Postal Service with $25 billion in emergency appropriations; to suspend any changes to service standards between January 1, 2020 through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic; to prohibit the ban on overtime to ensure deliveries are made on time; and, to treat election mail as first class mail.
As many mail handlers know, the coronavirus pandemic caused the Postal Service to face severe financial losses, which brought into doubt if USPS could make it through the fiscal year. On top of that, the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who came to office in July and has no direct experience within the Postal Service, instituted draconian changes to service. His new directives called for removing sorting machines used for sorting first-class mail; barring overtime regardless of need; restricting truck deliveries resulting in undelivered mail left behind at facilities. This has led to significant delays in delivery. There has been testimony that veterans and the elderly received life-saving medications late; Americans have incurred fees as bills were not delivered on time; small businesses could no longer rely on the Postal Service to ship their goods; postal customers received newspapers and mailers days, if not weeks, late; and, the timeliness of government and personal correspondence has come into doubt.
Adding to these issues, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans do not feel safe voting in person and registered voters have begun to request mail-in ballots for the November election. Because of the operational changes put in place by PMG DeJoy, election officials in 46 states and the District of Columbia received warning that ballots might not arrive in time, nulling votes. Obviously, voters grew concerned on this potential suppression of the democratic process. Americans need assurances their votes will be counted, and their mail-in ballot will take priority.
Upon the passage of the bill, NPMHU National President Paul V. Hogrogian stated, “The Delivering for America Act will help the men and women of NPMHU and our fellow brothers and sisters in the Postal Service to continue to deliver for America. It is engrained in every mail handler, clerk, and carrier to get all pieces of mail to every American household and business in a timely manner. I’ve heard from NPMHU members across the country that they are unable to do their jobs because of the removal of equipment, unnecessary delays in the guise of cost cutting, and are risking their health due to COVID-19. We need assurances that our duty to deliver and serve the American public, during an election or not, but especially during a pandemic, will not be undermined. H.R. 8015 gives the dedicated men and women of the Postal Service the resources they need to get through this uncertain time in our country’s history. I thank Chairwoman Maloney for her dedicated work on this, and her continual support for NPMHU and all postal employees.”