Schumer: McConnell must bring Senate back early if House passes Postal Service bill
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that a key Senate panel should hold public hearings with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) leadership and that the chamber should return early if the House passes related legislation.
Schumer, speaking at a press conference in New York, said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) should schedule a hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and USPS board of governors Chairman Robert Duncan.
If DeJoy refuses to testify, Schumer added that he should be removed from his job.
“I am demanding Chairman Johnson convene a hearing in his committee with the postmaster general and the chairman of the Postal Service board of governors as soon as possible for them to answer serious questions and be held accountable for the damage they have caused at one of America’s most important and sacred public institutions. And if the postmaster general refuses to come before Congress, he should be swiftly removed by the board of governors,” Schumer said.
House Democrats are considering coming back to Washington, D.C., as soon as this week or next week to try to pass legislation related to the Postal Service, according to multiple reports. The House is currently scheduled to be out of town until mid-September.
Schumer on Sunday said that if the House is able to pass legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should bring back the Senate. The Senate is currently scheduled to be out of town until Sept. 8, and the GOP leader noted late last week that it would take consent from every senator to hold any votes before then.
“In addition to hearings, I will push for new legislation that will undo the changes that have slowed down the mail and ensure all mail-in ballots for the upcoming election are treated as first-class priority. Accordingly, if the House acts on legislation, Leader McConnell must bring the Senate back into session so we can quickly pass their legislation to reverse these harmful changes,” Schumer said.
In addition to mulling stand-alone legislation, Democrats also want to include more funding for the Postal Service and election assistance in a fifth coronavirus package, talks over which have largely stalled since the negotiations collapsed earlier this month.
DeJoy is coming under growing bipartisan criticism that cost-cutting measures will leave the Postal Service ill-equipped to handle a rise in mail-in voting in the November election.
The Washington Post reported Friday that a top USPS official sent letters to 46 states and Washington, D.C., warning that it could not guarantee all ballots cast via mail for the upcoming election would arrive in time to be counted even if they followed state guidelines for mail-in voting.
Compounding concerns for Democrats, Trump has repeatedly railed against mail-in voting and defended DeJoy on Saturday, calling him a “fantastic” man.
“He wants to make the post office great again,” Trump said of DeJoy, a major Republican donor Trump tapped to lead the Post Office in May.