New York politicians and labor leaders are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s opposition to fund the United States Postal Service with $25 billion in COVID-19 relief ahead of the November 2020 elections.
President Trump told Fox News viewers on Thursday that he opposed providing the funding on the grounds that it would facilitate mail-in voting, which he predicts will be overwhelmed with fraudulently-cast ballots. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney issued a 10-page letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy calling for USPS to put force behind the request made earlier on in the crisis.
“The fact is, the coronavirus and the President’s all-out assault on the Postal Service has severely crippled USPS operations and their funds. Despite that, they have kept the doors open, the mail—and really the economy—moving, and now they need the help to sustain their pace, safely deliver the mail and prepare for the election,” New York Senator Charles Schumer said on Saturday.
Beyond the USPS funding troubles brought on by COVID-19, reports that mail sorting machines were being decommissioned from many branches alarmed Americans. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows denied these reports on Sunday morning which stemmed from an internal memo from DeJoy.
“They want three and a half-billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. They want three and a half-billion dollars for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said in a Thursday Fox News interview.
According to Maloney, cuts in service from USPS would not only be detrimental to the democratic process but could impact those most dependent on the postal service on a regular basis.
“This money was supposed to help the Postal Service, just like the federal funding that was made available to businesses, and other entities that are suffering as a result of this crisis,” Maloney said. She added that Postmaster General DeJoy outlined ‘operational changes’ in a memo last week that, “Won’t just disenfranchise voters. They will delay critical mail delivery to veterans, seniors who need medications, to small businesses, and to Americans across the country who are already hurting so much from the pandemic. And these delays are already happening.”
Also joining the chorus of voices of those opposed to any actions that would slow down or sabotage USPS’s operations were Congressman Max Rose, who claimed “It shouldn’t take political courage to say the mail should be delivered on time,” and union leaders representing USPS employees. Some of the cutbacks come in the form of eliminating overtime.
“Currently the USPS is experiencing a loss of revenue while seeing an increase in expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency funding is needed to provide the safety of our members and to ensure the USPS is fully operations not only to meet the demands of nation-wide mail-in voting but also the service Americans expect on a daily basis,” Yvette Johnson, Vice President of NMPHU Local 300, said.
Uncertainty regarding the postal service’s future operations comes after four months of Americans waiting nearly in vain for a new COVID-19 stimulus bill to be agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.