Carper, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Protect Postal Service from Partisan Politics
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) joined Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ranking Member of the Rules Committee, to introduce legislation that would ensure that the U.S. Postal Service remains nonpartisan and nonpolitical so that it can continue to effectively serve as a critical lifeline for seniors, small businesses, and rural communities across America. The Postal Service is the only carrier that delivers to every address in the country – ensuring millions of Americans receive their prescriptions, critical supplies, business mail, and more.
“The United States Postal Service is a unique institution that touches every household in America. From our biggest cities to the most rural communities, the Postal Service is there. That’s why it’s crucial that this American institution, that can trace its roots back to the Second Continental Congress, is independent and accountable to the public, not partisans,” said Senator Carper. “There was a time decades ago when leadership at the Postal Service was based on political patronage. We cannot go back to that time. We need leaders at the Postal Service who are knowledgeable, experienced, and not beholden to political pressure. I’m proud to join my colleagues today to introduce the Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act so that every American, especially our seniors, small businesses, veterans and rural communities, can feel confident that any individual leading the Postal Service is focused on delivering for them.”
“The Postal Service delivers to every address in the United States – no matter how remote. That longstanding tradition of universal service is almost as old as our nation, and we must ensure that Michiganders and people across the country can continue to depend on an independent Postal Service that is free from undue political influence,” said Senator Peters. “Given the unprecedented politicization of the Postal Service and its leadership under the Trump Administration, and the resulting changes that have severely impacted mail service, this commonsense bill would ensure that only qualified, independent officials – and not partisan political figures – will be eligible to lead this essential agency.”
“In recent months we’ve seen firsthand the serious impacts a partisan Postmaster General can have on the services of the USPS, especially for those in rural parts of America like West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin. “Today I joined my colleagues in introducing the Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act to ensure the head of the Postal Service is a qualified leader, not a partisan appointment. Every West Virginian deserves to receive their medications, Social Security benefits, and election ballots on time and this legislation is a step in the right direction to creating USPS leadership who will provide these services to every American.”
“The United States Postal Service is a fundamental part of our country’s infrastructure and a critical service for the American people and their livelihoods,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Americans rely on the mail to deliver their medicine, paychecks, social security checks, and tax returns. And the mail is crucial to our democracy, allowing millions of Americans to safely voting during this pandemic, and providing access to the ballot box for Americans living and serving overseas. We must protect the Postal Service from politicization and ensure the continued reliability of the mail.”
The Nonpartisan Postmaster General Act would prevent appointees for Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General from holding any political position in the four years prior to their appointments. In addition, the bill would bar the Postal Service Board of Governors, the Postmaster General, and the Deputy Postmaster General from engaging in political fundraising on behalf of any candidates or participating in partisan political activities under the Hatch Act.
- In August, Senator Carper joined Senate Democrats in an initial letter urging U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to provide answers regarding reports of recent changes to long-standing practices at USPS that would result in increased delivery times and costs for election mail, and urged him not take any further action that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots.
- Following that initial letter, Senator Carper again joined Senate Democrats in an additional letter to U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy calling for oversight over the issue of delays following changes. The senators called on DeJoy to testify before Congress and provide clear, transparent answers on service delays that have caused seniors and veterans to miss their prescription medications, small businesses to lose money and customers over delayed packages, and other serious disruptions that affect communities across the country who count on the Postal Service for timely delivery.
- On August 24th, Senator Carper joined Senator Klobuchar and Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in sending a letter to state election officials, requesting they provide information on the impact of any delays to election mail that their state has experienced, the delivery time and prices for election mail that their state is accustomed to, changes they have made to state requirements in light of election mail delays, and other important information for investigating operational and policy changes at the U.S. Postal Service.
- Earlier this week, Senator Carper joined Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and twelve of his Democratic colleagues in filing an amicus brief in support of legal challenges to recent operational changes implemented by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that have resulted in unreliable service and widespread delays ahead of the 2020 election.