(The Center Square) – Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin was joined by other Democrats from Illinois on Monday to draw attention to United States Postal Service cuts and to call for the Senate to pass the Delivery for America Act.
Louis DeJoy, who became the Postmaster General on June 15, has come under fire for making changes such as cutting overtime pay and other expenses. DeJoy said concerns about mail deliveries were a “false narrative,” but vowed not to implement major reforms until after Election Day.
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Democrat who represents the 6th Illinois district, voted in favor of the Delivery for America Act, which is designed to stop the Postal Service from implementing operational changes that could reduce the speed of mail delivery. It also allocated $25 billion for Postal Service operations.
“The overwhelming majority of the American people care about whether people get their medications, they care about whether we are defending democracy, and if you are nervous about whether the majority of the American people are going to express their will in November, that’s a threat,” Casten said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, of Taylorville, also voted in favor of the Delivery for America Act.
“We should not be politicizing the Postal Service and in turn, the thousands of hard-working employees that serve each of our districts,” Davis said in a statement. “I do not believe the post office is trying to sabotage our elections, as some Democrats have claimed. I’m voting for this bill because we’re in the pandemic, the Postal Service is vital to our society, and they need our help.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood opposed the bill. He said the legislation would only prevent the Postal Service from addressing long-term challenges designed to make it more efficient and financially stable.
The bill approved Saturday next goes to the Republican-led Senate. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement that accused House Democrats of “ignoring the urgent needs of American workers and families.”
The U.S. Postal Service, which at one time was a self-sufficient service, has been mired in red ink. The Government Accountability Office wrote in a May report that the agency’s “current business model is not financially sustainable.”
The Postal Service has lost $78 billion since 2007, the report said.