House Oversight chair introduces new bill to reverse organizational changes at USPS

House Oversight chair introduces new bill to reverse organizational changes at USPS. By Chandelis Duster and Sam Fossum, CNN

(CNN) -- A new bill aimed at reversing organizational and structural changes undertaken at the United States Postal Service by the new postmaster general was introduced to Congress Wednesday.

The Delivering for America Act, introduced by House Oversight and Reform chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, is the latest action over the agency's cutbacks and slow mail service ahead of the 2020 election in November that is already upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Republican donor and ally to the President, on Friday announced a hiring freeze on leadership positions in the agency and a reorganization of top leaders.

The new procedures for the USPS were laid out in a memo in July and include hours being cut back within the agency. Overtime, including late trips and extra trips by USPS workers, is no longer authorized or accepted, according to the memo. This is explained as a cost-cutting measure that could save the financially struggling USPS around $200 million. The memo also states any mail left behind will be reported with the "root causes" of the delays addressed the next day, with the intention of the volume of delayed mail shrinking over time, but the reality of that remains unclear as the changes are new.

Maloney's proposal would "prohibit the Postal Service from implementing any changes to the operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020" until the coronavirus pandemic has ended.

"Our Postal Service should not become an instrument of partisan politics, but instead must be protected as a neutral, independent entity that focuses on one thing and one thing only -- delivering the mail," Maloney said in a statement. "Millions of people rely on the Postal Service every day to communicate, to access critical medications, and to vote. At this juncture in our nation's history, when the number of Americans voting by mail for this Presidential election is expected to more than double from the last, Congress must protect the right of all eligible citizens to have their vote counted."

The Democrat continued to say that the coronavirus pandemic "is no time to enact changes that threaten service reliability and transparency," and added that the bill would "reverse these changes so this fundamental American service can continue unimpeded."

Democrats have accused the Trump administration of trying to sabotage the mail service as voters across the country are set to cast their votes by mail in November. Maloney, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and other top Democrats have asked the USPS inspector general to investigate the recent changes.

DeJoy told the Postal Service Board of Governors on Friday, "We will do everything we can to deliver election mail in a timely manner consistent with our operational standards."

"Despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down election mail or any other mail," he said. "Instead we continue to employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all election mail."

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