Warren calls on McConnell to bring Senate back to address Postal Service
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Monday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should bring the Senate back into session amid criticism surrounding changes at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as the GOP leader faces growing calls to reconvene the chamber.
“Good for [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi for bringing the House back. I believe Mitch McConnell needs to bring the Senate back as well,” Warren told NBC’s “Today.” “People depend on the post office. We’re depending on it for our democracy.”
McConnell is facing growing calls to bring senators back to Washington from their August recess, which started Thursday and is scheduled to last until Sept. 8.
House Democrats are expected to come back to Washington this week to vote on legislation from House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). The bill, the Delivering for America Act, would prevent the Postal Service from making any changes to its operations or service that were in place at the start of the year until after the coronavirus pandemic has ended.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) also called on members of Congress to “participate in a Day of Action on Tuesday by appearing at a Post Office in their districts for a press event” in order to “save the Postal Service.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee and GOP donor, is coming under scrutiny over widespread mail delays ahead of the coming elections, which many expect will lead to a surge in mail voting due to the ongoing pandemic. President Trump and his allies have argued that expanded mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Experts, however, say those claims are unwarranted.
The Postal Service warned 40 states in letters late last week that their deadlines to request, return and count ballots may clash with the realities of mail delivery at a time when the USPS is already facing financial troubles, delivery delays and an expected influx of election-related mail, according to The Washington Post.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) publicly called over the weekend for McConnell to bring the Senate back into session. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also tweeted on Monday: “Mitch, call the Senate into session so we can protect USPS and our election. Not to mention stranding the country with no covid bill because you Republicans can’t figure this out. Come on!”
But McConnell is also facing calls from members of his own caucus to return to Washington ahead of schedule.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who faces a tough reelection bid, said the Senate should come back to take up a coronavirus package that included new Postal Service funding. Negotiations on a fifth coronavirus relief package have been stalemated since earlier this month, but Democrats wanted to include more Postal Service and election assistance funding in the final agreement.
“The Senate should return this week to consider a COVID-19 package that includes the Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act—a bill I introduced w/ @SenFeinstein in July—which would provide USPS w/ up to $25 billion to cover losses or operational expenses resulting from COVID-19,” Collins tweeted, tagging Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).