MCALLEN, Texas – The three members of Congress representing the Rio Grande Valley voted in support of new legislation that would pump $25 billion into the U.S. Postal Service.
H.R. 8015, otherwise known as the Delivering for America Act, was passed handily by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday. It would also return Postal Service operations to the levels of service that were in place on January 1, 2020.
Such a level of service would be required for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency. The legislation would also require all election mail to be treated as First-Class mail.
The three members of Congress representing the Valley are Reps. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Filemon Vela of Brownsville, and Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen.
More than two dozen Republicans crossed the aisle and voted for the passage of H.R. 8015, including Reps. William Hurd and Michael McCall of Texas.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not let the House bill come up for a vote in his chamber. If it did it would likely pass as a handful of Republicans would likely join all Democrats in support.
“The facts show the USPS is equipped to handle this election, and if a real need arises, Congress will meet it,” McConnell said.
Rep. Cuellar pointed out that the USPS Board of Governors had requested an additional $25 billion. He noted that the board is composed of 100 percent President Trump appointees.
“The Postal Service is essential to the fabric of our communities, providing Texas families and all Americans with critical services, including the delivery of life-saving prescriptions, Social Security benefits, paychecks, tax returns and ballots,” Cuellar said.
“Therefore, in the name of our democracy and the Texas veterans, seniors, families and small businesses who depend on the Post Office, I proudly joined my colleagues to pass the Delivering for America Act to undo the damage and ensure the Postal Service has the resources necessary to fulfill its vital role at this pivotal moment.”
Cuellar said the Delivering for America Act would prohibit:
- Any change that would generally 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.
“I stand with my fellow Democrats and millions of Americans in Texas and across the country to oppose the Administration’s dangerous attacks on the Postal Service, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of Texas families and the life of our American Democracy,” Cuellar said.
“I will continue fighting to address the damage done to the Postal Service and ensure that every American can freely exercise their sacred right to vote in a safe and healthy way.”
Rep. Vela said the Delivering for America Act would:
- Appropriate $25 billion, as 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 stoppage 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.
“I am proud to support legislation that protects and upholds the vital services the post office provides to millions of Americans” Vela said.
“Americans and countless small businesses rely on the USPS to securely deliver medicine, food, packages, paychecks, tax refunds, and election ballots in a timely manner. When the founding fathers crafted the U.S. Constitution, they intentionally placed language empowering Congress to establish the United States Postal Service.”
Vela said he would work with House colleagues to protect the USPS and ensure that “every residential and business address in the United States continues to benefit from the affordable, reliable, and universal mail delivery service that USPS provides.”
Rep. Gonzalez claimed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a top Trump donor, recently implemented sweeping new operational changes that have delayed mail for Americans and threatened the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections.
He said DeJoy quickly rescinded implementation in response to widespread public outcry and planned congressional action.
Gonzalez noted that the Postal Service itself warned voters that even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines, “manufactured delays” may disenfranchise voters in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
“Millions of Americans rely on the Postal Service for life-saving prescriptions, Social Security benefits, Census surveys, paychecks, tax returns and absentee ballots, including in our most remote communities,” Gonzalez said.
“I am proud to vote in favor of the Delivering for America Act, which will safeguard the U.S. Postal Service and our democracy.”
To read the full text of the bill, click here.