Virginia officials respond to House vote protecting USPS

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(WAVY) — The House approved Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015) that would reverse recent changes and prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from changing any operational or service-related functions on Saturday.

The legislation would also send $25 billion in emergency funds to shore up the agency ahead of November’s presidential election.

Officials throughout the Commonwealth responded to the recent news.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) released a statement on her vote in support of the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015).

“Millions of Americans rely on the USPS to maintain their livelihoods as they deliver medication, essential goods, and learning materials that people need. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially critical for us to protect this indispensable institution,” said Luria.

“Additionally, veterans make up a significant portion of the USPS workforce, as almost 100,000 USPS employees served our nation in the Armed Forces. The USPS should not be a political bargaining chip when Americans’ lives are on the line. I urge the Senate to pass this critical bill.”

Recently, Luria joined a bipartisan letter to the Postmaster General asking about operational changes that are causing Coastal Virginians to experience significant delays in mail delivery.

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued a statement after the House of Representatives passed the act.

“Families, veterans, seniors, small businesses, and nonprofits across the country rely on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive medication, essential goods, learning materials, and more. However, the Trump Administration has implemented operational changes that have caused egregious mail delays all over the nation.”

He continued, “These delays are unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic when constituents are relying on timely mail delivery for much-needed items, including prescription drugs, tax refunds, economic impact payments, and absentee ballots.”

“By President Trump’s own admission, this is a blatant effort by the Administration to try to make it harder for people to vote by mail. The President is trying to dismantle a critical part of everyday American life because he thinks it may help his electoral prospects. That is why I was proud to vote for the Delivering for America Act, which will prevent any additional meddling with USPS. This legislation would maintain service standards at USPS as well as the integrity of our elections.”

According to Scott’s statement released, the act would prohibit: 

  • Any change that would negatively affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis; 
  • Any revision of existing service standards;
  • Closing, consolidating or reducing the hours of any post office or postal facility; 
  • Any prohibition on paying overtime to Postal Service officers or employees; 
  • Any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards or cause a decline in measurements of performance relative to those standards; and
  • Any change that would have the effect of delaying mail or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.

This legislation will also:

  • Include $25 billion requested by the Postal Service and supported unanimously and on a bipartisan basis by the Trump-appointed Postal Board of Governors;
  • Require the Postal Service to treat all official election mail as First-Class mail; 
  • Prohibit the removal, decommissioning or other stoppages of mail sorting machines, other than for routine maintenance; 
  • Prohibit the removal of mailboxes; and
  • Explicitly reverse any changes already implemented to the operations or policies of the Postal Service that delay mail delivery and restore delivery standards to the levels in effect on January 1, 2020.

Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) issued a statement after voting “No” on H.R. 8015.

“The USPS plays a vital role in our nation and provides critical service to millions of Americans, especially during this pandemic and many folks in the First District rely on the postal service for important deliveries, including medications. I support the USPS and want to ensure they improve service and support efficient and fair elections processes.”

“However, the bill put forward by House Democrats, H.R. 8015, is purely partisan politics put forth to give Democrats another anti-Republican talking point. It does not allow enough flexibility for the USPS to address the issues around the country and that is why I could not support it. It will not correct the structural problems at USPS and provides $25 billion in taxpayer funding to the USPS without any reforms.”

Wittman continued that the USPS is still in financial trouble but its existing funding will cover necessary resources to deliver the mail-in ballots for November’s election.

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