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Susan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail'

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans MORE (R-Maine) called on the postmaster general Thursday to address "delays in mail delivery" that have been reported following the Trump administration's efforts to change some operational procedures at the U.S. Postal Service.

In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyGaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to country: 'Turning peril into possibility' Senate panel advances Biden's Postal Service nominees MORE, the senator wrote that though she supports returning the Postal Service to a financially stable path, it cannot be done at the expense of Americans.

"I write to request that you promptly address the delays in mail delivery that have occurred following recent operational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS)," wrote Collins. "I have talked to postal employees and received calls from my constituents in Maine who expressed concern regarding the delays in delivery of critically needed mail, including prescriptions."

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"I share the goal of putting the USPS back on a financially sustainable path," she added. "However, this goal cannot be achieved by shortchanging service to the public."

DeJoy announced earlier this month that he is making sweeping changes to the agency including removing two of the top officials in charge of day-to-day operations. In addition, 23 postal executives were reassigned or displaced and five staffers joined the agency's leadership from other positions.

DeJoy said in a statement on USPS's website that, "This organizational change will capture operating efficiencies by providing clarity and economies of scale that will allow us to reduce our cost base and capture new revenue." 

Collins's request comes as the Postal Service is caught in a political fight amid the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats worry that DeJoy, a Trump donor and appointee, is trying to undercut the delivery of mail-in ballots in the November election. 

Nearly 200 House Democrats including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) have called on DeJoy to reverse recent changes at the Postal Service, including a decision to downgrade the priority of election mail.

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The Maine senator's letter also comes following comments made by President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE, who suggested earlier on Thursday that he is opposed to funding for the USPS in the next round of coronavirus legislation because it would prevent access to universal mail-in voting this fall. 

"They want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots," Trump told Fox Business. "Now in the meantime, they aren't getting there. By the way, those are just two items. But if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail-in voting, because they're not equipped to have it."

"Now, if we don't make a deal that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting," the president added. "They just can't have it. So, you know, sort of a crazy thing."

Later in the day Thursday, Trump told reporters at a press conference that he would be willing to sign legislation that includes funding for the postal service, but rejected the notion that the agency should reverse policies that Democrats believe will hamper mail-in voting. 

Collins, who is up for reelection in November, faces a strong challenge for her seat in the form of state Rep. Sara Gideon (D), who leads Collins by 8 points in a poll released Tuesday.