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What the new USPS bill means for the next stimulus bill



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USPS collection bins near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Erin Scott / Getty Images

This story is part of Val 2020, CNET̵

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

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed legislation banning it the latest changes to the US Postal Service which can affect the ability of up to 80 million people to vote by mail during Presidential election in November middle of coronavirus pandemic. The bill also provides $ 25 billion in additional funding for the USPS. Although the House returned from its August withdrawal early for the vote, it did not vote for another coronavirus relief package, so we still do not know when one will come or when you can get yours second stimulus control.

$ 25 billion in funding for the USPS was originally part of a larger coronavirus stimulus package, but negotiations between House Democrats and Republicans broke down before the congress was adjourned on 7 August. At a press conference on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was not in favor of dividing the pro-democracy party. Heroes Act coronavirus relief package, but that the USPS situation was “an emergency” and that the bill passed includes additional USPS policies not found in the Hero Act.

Although it is unlikely that the bill will reach it through the Republican-led Senate, it could start negotiations on other, smaller stimulus bills, which could include a second stimulus check.

Votes on the bill, a revised version of the U.S. Delivery Act (PDF) introduced by Democrats Aug. 12 in response to changes proposed by Postmaster Louis DeJoy, fell along with the parties, with Democrats supporting it. USPS had warned the election officials in 46 states that post-in votes may not be delivered on time. DeJoy testified at a hearing committee hearing on Friday and will testify again on Monday (more below).

Here is everything you need to know about what the bill contains, what happens next when it comes to negotiating stimulus packages, what Republicans say and what the controversy is about in the first place. For a more in-depth look, scroll to the end to get a summary of the controversy and read our deep dive what happened to the USPS.

What’s happening to the USPS bill now?

The Delivering for America Act now passes to the Republican-led Senate, where it is not expected to pass. On Friday, the White House released a statement on administrative policy that said the administration “strongly opposes” the bill and that if presented to President Donald Trump, “his advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday that it is unlikely the Senate will approve a bill addressed only to the USPS. Instead, Senate Republicans plan to introduce a “lean” coronavirus stimulation package that could include $ 10 billion set aside for the USPS, along with $ 300 in weekly unemployment benefits that could be similar to an executive measure signed by Trump.

McConnell told the Courier-Journal that Saturday’s vote “could open up the possibility of discussion of anything less than what the speaker and Democratic Senate leaders insisted on in a curse.”

Would a USPS team help or harm the incentive bill?

Right now we do not know. A couple of different scenarios can play from here:

  • The Republican proposed “lean” coronavirus fee is approved by the Senate. This bill contains some provisions of the HEALS Act, including additional unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week through December and funding for schools and COVID-19 tests. It would also allocate $ 10 billion to the USPS. But that does not include funding for a second stimulus control.
  • The House and Senate stop passing a couple of smaller bills involving the USPS and coronavirus relief, rather than either with Republican support HEALS Act or the democratically backed heroic deeds. These smaller bills may possibly include a second stimulus check.

Legislators on both sides agree on the need for a second stimulus check – the only question is when a bill will pass. Both Republicans and Democrats also say they would consider leaving smaller bills for coronavirus relief. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said last Sunday that he was open to “piecemeal” legislation around the U.S. 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 gather its action. ”

On Wednesday, more than 100 House Democrats signed a letter asking Pelosi to vote on a bill to extend unemployment benefits during Saturday’s session. But in a letter to colleagues on Thursday, Pelosi said this would be addressed at a later stage to ensure that the priorities of the Hero Act are not jeopardized.

We will continue to update this story as the situation develops.

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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 include?

The Democratic USPS Bill (PDF) that passed the House on Saturday states that from the time it was adopted until either January 1, 2021 or the last day of the COVID-19 pandemic – whichever is later – the USPS cannot implement or approve all changes in its operations or service level, other than those that entered into force on 1 January 2020.

In terms of financing, the bill requires an additional payment of $ 25 billion to the USPS.

Changes that would be prohibited if this bill becomes law include:

  • Any change in the nature of postal services that will generally affect services 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.
  • To treat election mail as something other than first-class mail, even if this requires the service to pay employees overtime.
  • Remove, turn off, or otherwise stop email sorters for anything other than routine maintenance.
  • Delete all mail collection boxes that are available to the public.
  • Adopt any rules, policies or standards that cause a delay in mail delivery to or from a government agency.
  • Establish any employment freeze.

The bill also requires that all policies that prevent mail delivery and for the processing of election mail on the same day be revoked.

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






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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 and rolled out a series of cost-saving measures to make the postal service more profitable, in the aftermath of Trump. This includes reducing overtime, reorganizing the agency’s structure and requiring late arrivals to be delivered the next day, which has resulted in a national decline in mail.

Mail sorting machines and collection boxes have also been removed, raising doubts that there will be sufficient infrastructure to support post-in ballots.

DeJoy announced on Tuesday that the USPS will not change its opening hours or close e-mail processing facilities, and mailboxes will remain where they are until after the election, to “even avoid the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

However, after speaking with DeJoy, Pelosi released a statement calling the pause for change “insufficient.”

“The postmaster general frankly admitted that he did not intend to replace sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime, which is crucial for fast delivery of mail, do not exist in the works, said Pelosi in the statement .

DeJoy testified about the recent changes made to the USPS during a Senate committee on home security and government issues on Friday. He said that mail volume has fallen in recent years as parcel volume has increased, especially during the pandemic. He therefore has no intention of getting back the 671 e-mail sorting machines that have been removed so far, because “they are not needed,” he said during the hearing. No changes will be made to the ballot, he added.

DeJoy will also testify about the USPS changes before the House Monitoring Committee on Monday.


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