The Southwestern Illinois area’s three Republican congressmen all bucked their party to support emergency funding for the United States Postal Service.
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis, John Shimkus and Mike Bost sided with the House’s Democrat majority 309-106 to back the Delivering for America Act, which provides emergency funding and prohibits operational changes at USPS during the pandemic. In all, 26 Republicans crossed over to approve the measure. Every one of the Democrat members voted for it
“The Postal Service is a lifeline to the communities I represent,” said Davis in a statement. “The men and women of the Postal Service are working tirelessly during this pandemic, and we need to do everything we can to support them, which is why I support the Delivering for America Act. Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked across the aisle to support the Postal Service, which is why I was so disappointed when somehow the Postal Service became a political weapon. We should not be politicizing the Postal Service and in turn, the thousands of hard-working employees that serve each of our districts. 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.”
Proposed cutbacks to the Postal Service were ordered delayed last week by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has been criticized of acting to suppress the November vote, a move he has vehemently denied. Advocates said no measure should be taken that could impede voting during a pandemic.
Said Bost: “On Saturday, I flew back to Washington to vote on an additional $25 billion to help the United States Postal Service manage challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated surge in votes by mail in the upcoming presidential election. I have consistently supported the USPS and have worked to ensure that it has the resources necessary to fulfill its constitutional mission. Over the years, I have fought against planned service cuts, proposals to end Saturday delivery, and efforts to close rural postal facilities.”
Bost addressed the vote-by-mail issue.
“While I supported this additional funding, I still share President Trump’s concerns over the process in place for counting an unprecedented number of votes by mail. We’ve already seen ballots go uncounted in primary races this year due to poor planning by local election officials and it would be a disaster for this country if it happened again this fall,” he said in a statement.
The Delivering for America Act, H.R. 8015, appropriates $25 billion in emergency funding for the USPS and prohibits them from making changes to operations or levels of service from those that were in effect on January 1, 2020. The private right of action provisions of the legislation were removed from this bill prior to the vote. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
Davis submitted a statement for the Congressional Record that further explains his vote. Davis notes that while he supports additional support for the Postal Service, he is disappointed that the USPS has become a political weapon and that the legislation will not solve our country’s election administration problems.
In early May, Rodney co-signed a letter sent to Republican leaders urging them to support the USPS in negotiations over COVID-19 relief legislation.
The letter requested:
• A “public service” appropriation of at least $25 billion to the Postal Service to alleviate some of the strain caused by the pandemic.
• An authorization for a continued “public service” appropriation for the difference between USPS revenue and expenses for the duration of this public health crisis.
• A mechanism to reimburse the Postal Service for any COVID-19 related leave pay provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127).
• Ensure equal treatment for postal employees in any legislation that authorizes, and funds hazard pay for other front-line workers exposed to health risks related to the COVID-19 virus. Such legislation should cover postal workers, who face heightened exposure risks to the virus on a daily basis.
Additionally, Davis said he has co-sponsored legislation to provide additional support to the USPS:
H. Res. 33 – expresses a sense of congress that the USPS should remain an independent entity of the US government and NOT be subject to privatization
H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act – repeals the mandate that USPS has to pre-fund future retirement health benefits. Passed House in February
H. Res. 23 – door delivery for residential and businesses
H. Res. 54 – USPS should maintain their 6-day delivery schedule
H. Res. 60 – Service Standards – USPS should maintain the service standards set in 2012