WASHINGTON (CN) — It is all but a foregone conclusion that it will be killed on arrival, but in a rare Saturday session the Democrat-controlled House sent its message express to the Republican-majority Senate: With a 257-150 vote, the U.S. Postal Service must have its $25 billion ahead of the November election and any cutbacks to operations must be stopped.
Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern, the chair of the House Rules Committee who led a bitter legislative session on the Delivering for America Act just 24 hours before the special weekend vote, said from the House floor Saturday that lawmakers were insistent on passing the bill because “democracy is being eroded” by President Donald Trump and his megadonor, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“It is under siege on all fronts,” McGovern said, pointing to ubiquitous calls from Trump to end the use of mail-in ballots even as the Postal Service predicts ten times the normal amount of election mail this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The president fears that if more people vote, the less likely he is to win a second term,” McGovern remarked.
The legislation was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, in response to weeks of austerity unfolding inside of the Postal Service where DeJoy slashed overtime for mail carriers and reduced delivery rates for “efficiency.”
The revelations on DeJoy’s changes only went public after a leaked internal PowerPoint presentation in mid-July revealed stark warnings on the agency's insolvency and an unequivocal directive to deliver mail the next day or later and to leave mail behind at distribution centers if an employee’s shift ran into overtime.
On Saturday, as lawmakers debated on the floor, new internal documents from the Postal Service were brought forward by Maloney. Part of an internal briefing delivered to DeJoy on Aug. 12 included slides showcasing a significant decline in service standards since July 1, well after DeJoy began his tenure. These were more severe than DeJoy led lawmakers to believe during a recent visit to the Senate, Maloney said.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and others have regularly contended mail delays were “manufactured” and part of a “conspiracy theory” designed by Democrats to harass Trump.
DeJoy, who served as a deputy finance chairman to the Republican National Committee in 2017, has donated over $1.2 million to the Trump Victory Fund since 2016 and more than $3 million to various Republican political groups. He also donated significant sums to the campaigns of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to data compiled by the FEC.
His open affinity for the president and his appointment by the USPS Board of Governors, all Trump appointed, have made him a lightning rod for criticism that his role is really that of a political operative queued up to privatize the postal service long at the president’s behest.
An extensive report by NPR on DeJoy weaves together the story of his ascendancy and notes concerns raised by a recently resigned board member that DeJoy was not suitable as postmaster general. He is also one of only five officials to come to the position without rising through the agency’s ranks first.
DeJoy is the former CEO of supply chain provider New Breed Logistics, which he sold for $615 million to XPO Logistics, a company offering competing services to USPS before founding a real estate investment and consulting company.
Disclosures provided to Congress by DeJoy and his wife Aldona Wos depict a lucrative portfolio: Between the two, DeJoy and Wos hold roughly $30 to $75 million in assets and investments, most of which stem from XPO Logistics.