Congressman Nadler Statement for the Record on H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act
Washington, August 22, 2020
Washington, D.C. —Today, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued the following statement for the record in support of H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act:
"I rise in strong support of the Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015), which would restore normal U.S. Postal Service (USPS) operations and prohibit the Trump Administration from implementing or approving any changes that would impede service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also provides $25 billion in emergency funding, matching the level requested by the bipartisan Board of Governors, and which the House passed as part of the Heroes Act in May.
"For over two and a half centuries, our nation's Postal Service has stood as an independent, neutral entity focused solely on connecting Americans and providing essential services. This independence has allowed the Postal Service to maintain its status as the country's most trusted government agency for decades.
"Over the past several weeks, the Trump Administration has turned the Postal Service into an instrument of partisan politics by enabling Postmaster General DeJoy to implement harmful and unprecedented operational and service changes at the Postal Service, such as reducing overtime, restricting deliveries, and eliminating sorting machines and mailboxes. These actions have resulted in unacceptable wait times for mail across the country, delaying timely delivery of prescription medication and other vital mail, and endangering our upcoming election.
"Following heavy criticism, the Postmaster General issued a wholly insufficient and misleading pause in operational changes. But it is now clear after his testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, that he has no intention of taking meaningful action to reverse the damage that the Postmaster General’s sweeping changes have inflicted. Additionally, the pause does nothing to ensure voters that their election ballots will be delivered in time if they mail their ballots account to their state’s deadlines. Finally, the pause is only temporary, and the damaging changes are set to return after the election. Two weeks ago, I called for the Postmaster General to resign. Today, I repeat that call and stand firm that he must step down.
"The Trump Administration's efforts to sabotage the Postal Service have endangered the lives and livelihoods of millions who rely on the USPS for essential services like delivering life-saving medications, medical equipment, Social Security benefits and paychecks. The Postmaster General’s decision to impose these dangerous changes in the middle of an ongoing pandemic has magnified the disruption of many of these vital services.
"The use of mail-order prescriptions, for instance, has increased by 20 percent during the pandemic. Due to the degradation of service, mail-order medications are reportedly taking weeks to be delivered, forcing patients to skip doses of life-saving medicines. Veterans throughout the country have reportedly faced wait times of three weeks or more for mail-order medications, which has left the Department of Veterans Affairs scrambling to find alternative delivery services.
"Stopping these changes and reversing the damage already done is not enough. We must provide the additional funding in this bill to ensure services continue uninterrupted through the election and the pandemic. But in the President's own words, he opposes any emergency funding because he believes that without it, the Postal Service will not be able to handle the estimated influx of mail-in ballots in the upcoming general election. The President himself has voted by mail in the last three elections but continues to attack mail-in voting as rife with fraud. In reality, voting fraud of all forms is extremely rare, and that’s especially true with mail-in voting, whose fraud rates are immeasurably small. Oregon, the first state to expand mail-in ballots to general elections, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented less than a dozen cases of fraud.
"With the number of Americans voting by mail for the election expected to more than double from the last due to the pandemic, Congress must protect the right of every American to vote. If Congress fails to act, we risk permanent damage to the integrity of our elections and our government institutions; we risk the livelihoods of farmers and workers around this country who rely on the USPS; and we risk the health and lives of our seniors, veterans, and millions of other patients who rely on mail-order medications during a pandemic that has now claimed the lives of nearly 175,000 people in the U.S. Finally, we risk the disenfranchisement of seniors and other higher-risk individuals whose safest option is casting mail-in ballots.
"Protecting the integrity of the Postal Service should never be a partisan issue. Congress must pass the Delivering for America Act, and work quickly to reverse the substantial damage inflicted by the Trump Administration.
"I urge my colleagues to vote Yay and the Senate to take up this bill immediately. I yield back the balance of my time."
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