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Houlahan votes for $25 billion rescue package for Postal Service

Originally published in the Pottstown Mercury 

Written by Fran Maye 
WEST CHESTER — In a historic Saturday session, the House of Representatives passed the Delivering for America Act which will provide the Postal Service with $25 billion in emergency appropriations.

The bill, passed by a vote of 257-150, would suspend any changes to service standards between January 1, 2020 through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, prohibits the ban on overtime to ensure deliveries are made on time, and treats election mail as first class mail.

President Donald Trump tweeted that the controversy surrounding the Postal Service is a hoax, and threatened to veto the bill.

Locally, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan voted in favor of the USPS rescue bill, saying it will help to avert cuts on small businesses' operations, ensure the ability for seniors and veterans to get medications safely, and to ensure mail-in voting is an option for all Americans.

"The U.S. Postal Service is so essential to our way of life that our Founders wrote it into the Constitution," said Houlahan. “Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we rely on USPS for small business commerce, for reliable and safe access to medications, for staying connected to loved ones when we can't be together in person, and for voting safely from home this November. I'm grateful for the advocacy of members of our community that have called and written to me to share their stories and concerns, and I call on the Senate to reconvene to respond to these concerns and vote on the Delivering for America Act.”

The Delivering for American Act will prohibit the Postal Service from implementing or approving any changes to the operations or service levels in effect on January 1, 2020, that would impede prompt, reliable, and efficient service. The prohibitions would remain in effect for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency or January 1, 2021, whichever is later.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit any change that would affect service on a nationwide basis, prohibit the closing, consolidating reducing of hours of any post office or postal facility, and prohibit paying overtime to Postal Service officers or employees. It would also prohibit any change that would prevent the Postal Service from meeting its service standards and prohibit any change that would have the effect of delaying mail or increasing the volume of undelivered mail.

The U.S. Postal Service has warned states that it may not be able to meet their deadlines for delivering last-minute ballots, urging those with tight schedules to require that residents request ballots at least 15 days before an election — rather than the shorter periods currently allowed under the laws of many states.