Congress urges Postal Service to undo changes slowing mail

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., joined by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers from both parties are calling on the U.S. Postal Service to immediately reverse operational changes that are causing delays in deliveries across the country just as big volume increases are expected for mail-in election voting.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that changes imposed by the new, Republican postmaster general "threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans.''

In separate letters, two Montana Republicans, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, also urged the Postal Service to reverse the July directive, which eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and mandates that mail be kept until the next day if distribution centers are running late.

And 84 House members — including four Republicans — signed yet another letter blasting the changes and urging an immediate reversal.

"This action, if not rescinded, will negatively impact mail delivery for Montanans and unacceptably increase the risk of late prescriptions, commercial products or bill delivery,'' Daines said Thursday in a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

"Delaying mail service is unacceptable,” Gianforte wrote to DeJoy. “Do not continue down this road.”

In their letter, the 84 House members said it is "vital that the Postal Service does not reduce mail delivery hours, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages.'' The letter was led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, who has called DeJoy to testify at a hearing next month.

The flurry of letters came as the top Democrat on a Senate panel that oversees the Postal Service launched an investigation into the operational changes.