Following the House's passage over the weekend of legislation that would reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service, progressive advocacy groups are demanding that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "stop playing politics with our right to vote" and immediately call his chamber back from recess to approve the bill.
"President [Donald] Trump and U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy's efforts to undermine the USPS and block election funding to suppress Americans' votes is egregious, especially during a pandemic when many Americans depend on this vital service more than ever," said Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a diverse coalition of more than 160 progressive organizations.
"The Senate—under the so-called leadership of Mitch McConnell, who has sole power over what gets voted on and when—remains in recess, with senators scattered who knows where while Trump and DeJoy openly sabotage our democracy."
—Robert Weissman, Public Citizen
"We call on the Senate to swiftly pass the Delivering for America Act so the USPS can continue to have the resources it needs to protect the security and integrity of our elections," Morgan added.
On Saturday, the House approved the Delivering for America Act by a margin of 257-150, with 26 Republicans voting yes. Sponsored by House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the bill would reverse DeJoy's operational changes, bar any additional mail service changes until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, require that all election mail be treated as first class, and provide USPS with $25 billion in emergency funding.
In an email to supporters on Monday, Public Citizen president Robert Weissman applauded the House vote and urged McConnell to urgently bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.
"The Senate—under the so-called leadership of Mitch McConnell, who has sole power over what gets voted on and when—remains in recess, with senators scattered who knows where while Trump and DeJoy openly sabotage our democracy," Weissman wrote. "Tell Mitch McConnell: Stop playing politics with our right to vote. Stop helping Trump sabotage our democracy."
The DeJoy-led USPS said in a statement Sunday that it is opposed to the House bill, claiming it would "constrain the ability of the Postal Service to make operational changes that will improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ultimately improve service to the American people."
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McConnell, for his part, indicated over the weekend that he has no intention of allowing a vote on the Delivering for America Act and dismissed widespread concerns about documented mail slowdowns under DeJoy as "overblown conspiracy theories."
A stunning statement from the man who's been blocking the HEROES Act for 99 days.
McConnell says the Senate GOP is committed to USPS, but they won't pass Speaker Pelosi's "partisan stunt" because Trump doesn't like it. I guess he didn't notice that 26 Republicans voted for it... https://t.co/Q6AADlAQ3x
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) August 23, 2020
In a statement Monday, Weissman said "McConnell's choice is clear: do the bidding of Trump or listen to the clarion call of Americans—of all political parties and persuasions—to defend the Postal Service from sabotage from within."
"Thankfully, with Americans across the country rising up to defend the Postal Service, the House has voted to reverse Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's moves to delay delivery and to give the Postal Service the funding it needs to offset coronavirus-related losses," said Weissman. "Now it is time for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to call the Senate back from recess and schedule an immediate vote on this legislation."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) echoed Weissman's demand in a tweet Saturday, writing, "Show some political courage and finally stand up to Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell."
"Call back the Senate and let us vote," Warren added.