[guest post by Dana]
This is a good move by Trump supporter and Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy. It comes in advance of his testifying Friday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the “finances and operations of the postal service during COVID-19 and upcoming elections.”:
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is suspending certain changes at the U.S. Postal Service until after the 2020 election in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
DeJoy, whose sweeping cost-cutting measures at USPS have raised alarms about widespread mail delays that could impact the November race, said in a statement that he is temporarily halting “some longstanding operational initiatives” that “predate my arrival at the Postal Service.”
He didn’t cite which specific initiatives he was suspending. He did, however, provide some assurances.
DeJoy’s statement said that retail hours at post offices will not be changed, mail processing facilities will not be closed and that mail processing equipment will not be moved. He also said that “overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.”
Attorneys general from at least 14 states are filing a federal lawsuit saying the Trump administration violated procedure when changes were made by the postmaster general, claiming DeJoy acted outside his authority to make service cuts by limiting workers’ overtime hours and removing some sorting equipment. The lawsuit says DeJoy should have sought approval from the post office’s regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission.
You can read DeJoy’s statement in full here. DeJoy reassures Americans right off the bat:
The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.
I want to assure all Americans of the following:
Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
No mail processing facilities will be closed.
And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.
Now, hopefully Trump will stop undermining confidence in the election:
As millions of Americans consider casting their vote this November, they’re confronted by an abject failure of presidential leadership. Rather than taking the lead in resolving the manageable challenges of voting in a pandemic, President Trump has decided to stoke fears of an illegitimate election. Large majorities of Republicans now indicate that they distrust the vote count, and this wholesale loss of confidence creates a real concern. Only a clearly-decisive victory by one candidate or the other can avoid casting into doubt the legitimacy of the election and – in an extreme scenario – the orderly transfer of American power.
Last week, Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that he opposed additional funding for the Post Office in part because blocking that money could block universal mail-in balloting.
“They need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”
Ultimately, this is the President we are dealing with:
Once again, President Trump faces a looming national challenge. Once again, he has chosen to double down on division and protect his partisan interests rather than accept his role as the president of all Americans. Never forget former secretary of defense James Mattis’s warning, published this June: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try.”
Division is the one thing that Trump has proven he excels at. Our nation’s response to the pandemic lags behind the vast majority of the world, our economy falters, and multiple cities still struggle – months after George Floyd’s death – with persistent, violent unrest. But while Trump fails to govern, he succeeds at setting neighbor versus neighbor, and the most bitter political and constitutional consequences of his pugilistic partisanship may be yet to come.
I don’t see any response from the President about DeJoy’s announcement. And I can’t find confirmation whether this move was prompted by Trump or not. Regardless of who made the decision to put a stop to some changes, it’s a good and necessary move and should reassure both Democrats, Republicans, and voters alike. Especially given that the changes were put in motion during the runup of the presidential election, which is just 77 days from now, and during a pandemic, in which mail-in voting will play a very significant role.