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New USPS rescue bill this week? What it is and why it can happen



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USPS collection bins near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Erin Scott / Bloomberg / Getty Images

This story is part of Val 2020, CNET̵

7;s coverage of the reason for the November vote.

The US House of Representatives will return from the August poll early to vote later this week on legislation the latest changes to the US Postal Service which can affect the ability of people to vote by mail during the presidential election in November in the middle of coronavirus pandemic. But Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Tuesday that he will shut down all operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service until after the election, to “even avoid the emergence of any impact on election mail.”

This means that the USPS will not change its opening hours or close e-mail processing facilities, and mailboxes will remain where they are, according to DeJoy. But it is likely that the USPS will still need the planned deposit of money that separate bills proposed by Democrats and Republicans will reportedly try to provide. And some Democrats have said that operational change must be reversed, not just temporarily halted.

The Democratic bill is still being finalized, leaders of House Democrat members said in a conversation on Monday. However, it will contain a version of the democratic rope. Carolyn Maloney’s Delivering for America Act, which was introduced last week in response to the changes proposed by DeJoy and is said to undermine the USPS’s operations and organizational structure. Because of these changes, USPS election officials in 46 states warned that post-in votes could not be delivered on time, which could potentially disrupt Presidential election in November – in particular as up to 80 million ballot papers are expected during the parliamentary term this term.

A final version of the bill is expected on Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members. It will include a $ 25 billion request in funding for the USPS, she said Tuesday. This funding was originally part of a larger coronavirus stimulus, but negotiations between House Democrats and Republicans broke down before the congress was adjourned on 7 August.

“Our postal service should not become an instrument of party politics, but instead must be protected as a neutral, independent entity that focuses on one thing and one thing – delivering the mail,” Maloney said in a statement on August 12.

Senate Republicans said Monday they would introduce a new coronavirus relief bill that includes $ 10 billion for the USPS. The text of that bill is also expected on Tuesday.

Here’s all you need to know about the “Delivering for America Act” and when Congress is expected to vote on it.

What is the controversy with the USPS?

The current controversy involving the USPS began in June, when DeJoy, a major GOP donor, took on the role of postmaster general. President Donald Trump instructed DeJoy to try to make the postal service more profitable. DeJoy rolled out a series of cost-saving measures, including cutting overtime, reorganizing the agency’s structure and demanding that late mail be delivered the next day. This has resulted in a national slowdown in mail.

“Millions of people rely on the postal service every day to communicate, access critical medicines and vote,” Maloney said. “A pandemic of a century is no time to implement changes that threaten the reliability and transparency of services. The law of supply for America would reverse these changes so that this basic American service can continue unhindered.”

On August 12, Democrats from the House and Senate signed (PDF) letters expressing concern that DeJoy’s policies would cause delays in ballot papers, including post-in and absentee ballots, allowing more states to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

“Despite some claims to the contrary, we are not slowing down election mail or other mail,” DeJoy said Friday. “Instead, we continue to use a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all election mail.”

DeJoy will testify before a Senate Committee on Home Security and Government Affairs in advance on Friday, and before the House Monitoring Committee on Monday, on the latest changes to the USPS.

For a more in-depth look, read our article on what happened to the USPS.

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Voting, or absent, voting is seen as a safe way for millions of Americans to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. It requires a fully functioning USPS that can handle the increased load.

Jason Redmond / Getty Images

What exactly does the new USPS bill mean?

Democrats plan to present the final version of the bill on Tuesday, according to CNN. However, the current US Delivery Act states that from the date of its adoption until either January 1, 2021 or the last day of the COVID-19 pandemic – whichever is later – the USPS may not implement or approve any change to its operations or service level, except those that entered into force on 1 January 2020.

Changes that would be prohibited if this version of the bill is approved include:

  • Any change in the nature of the postal services that will generally affect the service on a national basis.
  • Possible revision of service standards.
  • Possible closure or consolidation of post offices or reduction of construction hours.
  • All prohibitions on overtime pay to USPS officers or employees.
  • Any changes that would prevent the USPS from meeting its service standards or causing a decrease in performance.
  • Any changes that would delay email or increase the volume of undelivered email.

The purpose of the bill is “to maintain fast and reliable postal services during health care COVID-19 and for other purposes,” it says.

It is not yet clear how this bill can be changed now that DeJoy is reportedly planning to return the operational changes to the USPS.

Read more: The threat to vote by mail is not fraud. It is misinformation and sabotage






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When will Congress vote on the USPS Bill?

On Sunday, Pelosi called on the House to return from its break early to vote on the law of delivery for America.

“In a time of pandemic, the postal service is central,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Congress on Sunday. “Life, livelihood and the life of our American democracy are threatened by the president.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN on Sunday that he was open to “piecemeal” legislation around the US Postal Service, as well as around stimulus relief.

“If we can agree on mail, let’s do it. If we can agree on stimulus controls“Let’s do it,” said Meadows. Congress must come back and collect its actions. ”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that the USPS would be “just fine” and that the Trump administration was willing to spend up to $ 10 billion “just to make sure the post office has a solid foothold during the November election. “as part of negotiations on another coronavirus package.

The vote on the US Delivery Act is expected to come on Saturday, after the Democratic National Convention has been convened. We do not know for sure if that will happen then, but we will update this article when more information becomes available.


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