House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently warned that “dangerous new policies” made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who took the top job at the US Postal Service in June, will prevent mail-in ballots from being counted. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has charged that there is a conspiracy afoot to “undermine and dismantle the post office ahead of the November election.”
This is rank, irresponsible scaremongering. Consider two central facts.
(1) The USPS is ready to handle mail-in voting. Even if every voter in the United States relied on the mail instead of voting in-person, first-class postal volume would increase by a minuscule 2 percent. That’s nothing. Yet at most half that number, about 80 million, are expected to vote by mail. Keep in mind: The post office handles a staggering 472 million pieces of mail a day.
(2) The USPS has enough cash on-hand to pay bills and meet payroll until August 2021. It doesn’t need emergency funding. What it needs is overdue reform.
Ignoring these facts, Pelosi called the House into a rare Saturday session to pass a bill giving $25 billion in “emergency” funding to the post office. That bill was sheer theatrics. It will go nowhere in the Senate. Nor should it.
As for DeJoy’s new policies, they are urgently needed.
The main reason for them is that with e-mail and other technologies, people are using first-class mail less, and the USPS is bleeding money.
To stop the losses, DeJoy began unplugging some automatic mail sorters, which are expensive to run and are operating way below capacity.
Makes sense. Any business faced with less demand tries to cut overhead costs. He is also trimming overtime, which has soared almost 100 percent in the last decade. That’s unpopular with the letter carriers’ union, which backs Joe Biden.
Democrats depict these reforms, which were proposed long before DeJoy’s appointment, as a criminal conspiracy. At a hearing Monday, House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney claimed Americans “want to go back to the way things were.” Nonsense, taxpayers don’t want their money wasted running unneeded machines.
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) had the gall to ask DeJoy if he was counting on a pardon like Roger Stone, intimating that bringing efficiency to the postal office is illegal.
Every year since 2009, the Government Accountability Office has rated the USPS a “high-risk agency” nearing failure. Congress has done nothing but shovel in money. The post office, which is supposed to earn enough revenue to cover its own costs, has sustained $78 billion in losses since then.
In May, the GAO reported that USPS’s “current business model is not financially sustainable.”
Democrats portray DeJoy as a stooge. Though he has donated large sums to the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign, he was named postmaster general by a bipartisan board of governors, which supported him unanimously. He built a successful trucking business out of nothing. Just the skills the USPS needs.
Yet Democratic lawmakers accuse him of being “an accomplice to the president’s campaign to cheat in the election.” No facts support that charge. In 2016, it was Russian meddling. This time, Democrats are concocting a different story — postal meddling.
With real crises facing the nation — including a pandemic and business failures — the left is wasting time and money on this fake crisis.
At Monday’s hearing, DeJoy said the postal service will be ready for the election. But state election officials need to allow a week for mailed ballots to reach voters, and another week for voters to return them. A two-week turnaround.
New York, are you listening? Thousands of ballots went uncounted in the June primary, because they didn’t even get to the voters who requested them until the day before the primary.
Dejoy was asked about states that are mailing ballots to all registered voters. What can the USPS guarantee? He answered that his agency’s job is to deliver mail to the address shown. Period. He cannot guarantee a registered voter lives there or will be the one who uses the ballot.
Looks like it’s the states that have work to do to ensure a fair election. The USPS is ready.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.
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