Yes, Congress, We Are Essential—and Always Were!
There has been a flurry of activity during the 2020 campaign season regarding the United States Postal Service with the effects of COVID-19 on operations. Specifically, whether the Postal Service can deliver election ballots in time to be properly counted in the 2020 national election.
Even more scrutiny has been placed on the Postal Service since the selection of Louis DeJoy as postmaster general and ill-advised directives that have contributed to delayed mail and reduced service across the country in advance of the November elections.
There has been a lot of conversation about the impact of postal operations on the country as a whole—not just the delivery of ballots, but also medications, packages, mail to our service members overseas and more. Certainly, COVID-19 and misguided operational decisions from L’Enfant Plaza have contributed to this conversation. But let’s take a step back a few years to when the problems surrounding the United States Postal Service began and how, if those issues had been corrected, the Postal Service and our country may not be in this current predicament.
Per Wikipedia, The “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act” (PAEA) was enacted by the 109th Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on Dec. 20, 2006. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Republican Tom Davis of Virginia and cosponsored by Republican John M. McHugh of New York and Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Danny K. Davis of Illinois.
As the chair of the Senate Oversight Committee, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine shepherded the bill’s passage through the Senate. The bill was approved during the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress and approved without objection on a voice vote.