WASHINGTON – Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has urged the United States Postal Service to reverse cuts that have slowed deliveries, calling the post office a “lifeline” for people in rural communities.
Collins raised concerns about the cutbacks Thursday, the same day President Donald Trump said he opposed increased Postal Service funding in part because of his objections to expanding mail-in voting.
In a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Collins said she wanted to see him “promptly address” delays in mail delivery.
“The USPS continues to be a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for seniors, veterans, and those in rural areas who are depending on reliable mail delivery for essential goods and services that might otherwise be unavailable,” Collins wrote.
The senator said she feared cost-cutting measures at the USPS could drive customers away, “worsening the crisis facing the Postal Service.”
In the COVID-19 relief package passed by the House, Democrats have asked for billions in increased funding for the Postal Service and help for states coping with a November election where many voters may prefer to vote by mail. But negotiations have stalled between Democrats and the White House over the aid package, which would also include expanded unemployment benefits and help for American hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Trump said Thursday he opposed a funding increase for the Post Office and linked the issue to mail-in voting.
“They (Democrats) need that money in order to have the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria.”
“They want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That’s election money, basically,” he said.
The president told reporters later that he wouldn’t rule out signing COVID-19 relief legislation that included increased Postal Service funding.
Trump on the Postal Service:Trump opposes new funds for U.S. Postal Service, saying he doesn’t want to help expand vote by mail
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., also wrote to the Postmaster General, saying in a letter last week that the USPS’s service changes could “negatively impact mail delivery for Montanans and unacceptably increase the risk of late prescriptions, commercial products, or bill delivery.”
The two senators both said they supported increased funding for the Postal Service in a COVID-19 relief package.
Both Daines and Collins face competitive re-election contests this fall. Polling shows tight races, and the two incumbents have both been outraised by their Democratic challengers.
Democrats have hammered the Trump administration over changes in service at the Postal Service, arguing the cuts would disrupt the increased numbers of mail-in ballots submitted this November.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday the Postal Service was a “pillar of democracy” and vowed to oppose cuts.
“There are people who think that the post office is election central in this election,” she said. “Maybe the president thinks that, too, and that’s why he wants to shut it down.”