US lawmakers may be recalled as Post Office cuts may affect Nov polls

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may recall lawmakers from a summer recess to address changes at the Postal Service that have prompted anger and alarm about the possible impact on the upcoming presidential election.

A Democratic congressional aide confirmed a Politico report that Ms Pelosi could call back the US House later this month, well ahead of the scheduled resumption next month.

The aide confirmed Ms Pelosi held a call with other top Democrats on Saturday to discuss the idea.

"The President, his cronies and Republicans in Congress continue to wage their all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election," Ms Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday.

This week, Representative Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic chair of a House panel that oversees the Postal Service, introduced legislation to prohibit the service from implementing any changes to the operations or level of service it had in place last January, until the Covid-19 pandemic has ended.

It is possible the House could vote on that measure, the aide said.

The struggling Post Office has suffered increasing delays following cost-cutting measures imposed by President Donald Trump's new Postmaster General, Mr Louis DeJoy.

Mr DeJoy's downsizing drive - which has included curbs on overtime and removal of post boxes - has become a major concern for Democrats who accuse Mr Trump of asphyxiating the Post Office to disrupt the Nov 3 election, which is expected to feature an unprecedented wave of postal voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The disruption is driving an unusual amount of anger at Mr DeJoy from otherwise middle-of-the-road politicians, with even some Republicans expressing worry amid reports that medical deliveries were being slowed.

On Friday, the Postal Service's inspector-general said it would be investigating the cuts - as well as potential conflicts of interest related to Mr DeJoy's ownership of millions of dollars in stock in Postal Service rivals.- REUTERS