Congresswoman Judy Chu joined her colleagues this week in defending the U.S. Postal Service against what she described as “sabotage” ahead of a presidential election that is expected to lean heavily on vote-by-mail ballots.
Speaking Tuesday outside the Pasadena Post Office, Chu — whose San Gabriel Valley district includes South Pasadena — admonished President Donald Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for their statements and actions regarding the USPS. She also indicated that the fight isn’t over even though DeJoy announced earlier in the day that he would suspend any changes until after the election in November.
“Fortunately, we raised the alarm and the American people spoke out loudly in opposition to this clear assault on our election, forcing the administration to suspend their plans,” she said. “But suspending is not enough. So much harm has already been caused to the post office that we must also restore the USPS back to full functioning and prevent these harmful changes from going into place even after the election.”
Trump has repeatedly suggested, without evidence, that widespread voting via mail-in ballots would result in pervasive fraud and undermine the legitimacy of the election. He has also been critical of pandemic relief packages proposed by congressional Democrats that include funding to shore up USPS operations and infrastructure.
“The president has made clear in multiple interviews, tweets, and statements that he intentionally set out to sabotage the post office in order to undermine the ability of Americans to vote from home,” Chu said. “This is not only a threat to our democracy, but also to people’s health, as voting from home is necessary to help contain the spread of the coronavirus this year.
“It’s not only the election that’s at risk,” she added. “People depend on the mail for checks and medicines. And small businesses — which are relying on mail more than ever thanks to this pandemic — would be devastated by this arbitrary slowdown in services.”
DeJoy, who was approved as USPS head by the organization’s governing board in June, has said that efforts to remove the USPS’ trademark blue drop-off bins, dismantle older mail sorting machines and scale back overtime hours have been part of a streamlining effort to eliminate wasteful spending. Critics of the outcry have also pointed out that similar actions occurred under President Barack Obama’s administration with no fanfare.
Nonetheless, DeJoy on Tuesday announced he was expanding a task force to coordinate with state and local officials ahead of the election and suspended the actions that prompted the national outcry to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election,” DeJoy said. “In the meantime, there are some long-standing operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
Chu is co-sponsor of the Delivering for America Act that will be considered by the House of Representatives on Saturday.