Case Calls the Administration's Actions Undermining the United States Postal Service an Attack on Democracy
The Congressman says a fully functioning USPS is critical to weathering the COVID-19 pandemic and achieving full, fair and free 2020 elections
Washington, August 18, 2020
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) today called on the Trump Administration to immediately reverse course and commit fully to strengthening the United States Postal Service as a critical core government service to weather the COVID-19 crisis and assure a full, fair and free election.
“The Administration’s various actions to date, though explained as necessary to ‘improve’ the USPS, can in fact only be viewed a direct and coordinated attack on the USPS,” said Case.
“I also consider the Administration’s actions as motivated at least in part to disrupt and call into question voting by mail in this year’s crucial elections, and that is an attack on our democracy itself.
“The USPS is a creature not of statute but of our Constitution because our founders recognized it as critical to a functioning government, democracy, economy and society. The USPS is not a business; it is a service that we all contribute to as a core function of government.”
Case continued: “The COVID-19 crisis has only magnified that importance. Now more than ever, the USPS is essential to continuing to address so many goals and needs, from business (especially small businesses) to health care (especially prescription drugs), Social Security, disability, veterans, unemployment and other benefits and assistance, tax returns and refunds and more.
“Let’s take Hawaii’s over 110,000 veterans and their ‘ohana as just one of many examples. For those receiving medicines, some 80% do so by mail; delaying these critical prescription deliveries could seriously jeopardize their health. More broadly, a fully functioning USPS was critical to so many Americans receiving desperately needed CARES Act assistance in the initial months of this crisis.
“But nowhere this year is the USPS more essential than to ensure a full, free and fair general election. In a time of required social distancing when in-person voting is not a safe option for whole segments of our country, vote-by-mail is the only practical option to ensure the widest possible access to the ballot box for all voting Americans.
“Any claim that vote-by-mail does not result in higher election accessibility and results in widespread fraud is specious, as we in Hawai‘i just demonstrated to ourselves and the rest of the country with a very smooth all-mail election with virtually no fraud claims or disputed election results and the highest voter turnout in our history.
“The Administration’s antipathy to the USPS predated COVID-19, but the current crisis has only heightened a series of highly questionable decisions taken under the guise of responding to COVID-19 which taken together are far more than attempts to improve the USPS.
“For example, the USPS directive eliminating overtime for mail carriers and instructing them to deliver the days’ remaining mail the following day is contributing to a slowdown of mail delivery at a critical time when delivery must remain constant and dependable,” said Case.
“The USPS Inspector General is examining potential ethics violations within the USPS, and our President has politicized efforts to help the USPS by saying his opposition to emergency funding to the USPS ‘means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it’.
“Any President who was committed to a strong USPS through such a critical time would not have undertaken those actions. Instead she or he would have fought for the $25 billion in assistance urged by the USPS’ own bipartisan Board of Governors, and already passed by the U.S. House. She or he would further have long ago convened an emergency committee to assure that the USPS is fully prepared in all of resources, equipment, personnel and funding to not only handle voting by mail without delay but to achieve the same result nationally as we were able to achieve in partnership with the USPS here in Hawai‘i. This President has done none of that.
“To avoid any claim or excuse by anyone that the $25 billion of emergency funding is entangled in the ongoing larger negotiations over the next COVID-19 emergency assistance package, this Saturday my U.S. House is poised to pass our Delivering for America Act, focused exclusively on implementing the Board of Governors’ recommendations on assuring the continued viability and full functioning of the USPS through the 2020 general elections and beyond.
“Our bill will aim to block any change that would delay mail or increase the volume of undelivered mail. Any refusal by the Senate majority to pass this bill or further opposition from the Administration can only then mean opposition to the critical functioning of the USPS not only for so many in need but to the right of all eligible Americans to vote.”