House to vote Saturday on sending $25 billion to Postal Service as well as halting changes
(CNN) — Members of the House will vote on legislation Saturday morning to allocate $25 billion to the US Postal Service and ban operational changes that have slowed mail service around the country.
The bill is expected to pass largely along party lines, with Democrats supporting it. House GOP leaders are actively pushing their members to oppose the legislation, and it is not likely to be under consideration in the Republican-held Senate. On the eve of the vote, the White House threatened to veto the bill.
Democratic leaders introduced the measure, based on a bill sponsored by House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, after the Trump administration made policy changes at the USPS. Those moves included cutting overtime for employees, limiting post office hours, and removing some high-volume mail sorting machines from USPS facilities. Democrats argue the policies were intended to impede mail-in voting ahead of the November election. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an ally and donor of President Donald Trump, has denied the claims, saying the changes were intended to increase efficiency and save money.
DeJoy said earlier this week that he would halt the changes until after the November election. Congressional Democrats were unsatisfied with the announcement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to members on Thursday that DeJoy’s decision is “wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked.”
“Therefore, in the name of our democracy and the veterans, seniors, families and small businesses who depend on the Post Office, we will pass the Delivering for America Act,” Pelosi wrote.
In a Senate hearing on Friday, DeJoy said the Postal Service is able to handle election mail.
“As we head into the election season, I want to assure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time,” DeJoy told senators during the hearing. He also claimed he never spoke with President Donald Trump or anyone else at the White House about Postal Service changes or their potential impact on the November election.
DeJoy will testify again before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.
The House’s early return for votes on Saturday disrupted members’ August recess plans. The chamber had previously been scheduled to next return for votes in the middle of September.
Initially, Democrats sought to include funding for the USPS in a larger coronavirus stimulus package, but negotiations between congressional Democrats and the White House for such a bill have broken down. During talks over the relief bill, the White House did reach a tentative agreement to include $10 billion for the Postal Service, people involved with the talks told CNN.
Administration officials are opposed to a USPS-specific bill like the one set to pass Saturday. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has called instead for a measure that would include pieces of the relief talks where the two sides agree, like another round of direct payments for Americans.