Reprinted with permission from DailyKos
The sudden collapse of the United States Postal Service's ability to do its core job—deliver mail—is now so widespread a problem as to be stoking enormous public outrage. This may finally result in substantive congressional action—sort of. Perhaps.
House Democrats are now asking (but not subpoenaing) Trump Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Aug. 24 to explain his actions. DeJoy, who remains heavily invested in for-profit competitors to the USPS even as he guts federal mail delivery capabilities, was previously scheduled to appear on September 17; moving his appearance up by several weeks is an indication that Congress no longer thinks waiting until mid-September is defendable. Democrats ask that DeJoy confirm his plan to appear by tomorrow; DeJoy has also been asked to deliver requested documents by Friday, August 21.
The House is putting off the "urgent" hearing until Aug. 24 "to give Committee Members adequate notice to prepare for your testimony" but also "to avoid conflicting with the Republican convention" beginning later that evening." Which is nice, given that DeJoy is a Republican megadonor who no doubt needs to (virtually) mingle at the now-virtual gathering.
While House Democrats' non-subpoena-based request for DeJoy's testimony gives mixed signals as to just how "urgent" Congress believes the intentional pandemic sabotage of the USPS truly is, there are other signs Congress may begin to move more rapidly. CNN reports that House Democrats are "seriously" considering calling the House back into session "as early as" this week to take actions to protect post offices. "Members are getting heavily criticized in their districts during this recess period for not coming back and trying to do something," notes CNN.
It is not clear what remedies may be plausibly available to the House. The Republican-held Senate is likely to continue to back Trump's sabotages of the USPS, moves he has explicitly said are meant to harm mail-in voting efforts, for the same reason the Senate refused to examine impeachment charges against Trump for using federal funds to extort a foreign nation into providing election help: to assist their own re-elections.
But that's becoming a more and more dangerous move to make. The United States Postal Service is one of the government services Americans most interact with, and the sabotage is creating nationwide problems that Americans are now witnessing in large numbers. Urgently needed medication taking weeks to arrive; "overnight" deliveries of live animals being delayed by over a week; checks, bills, and packages that once took mere days to ship now delayed for a month, or longer; it is untenable for both businesses and individuals. And people are getting furious.
Republican estimations that restricting vote-by-mail will prevent more Americans from casting ballots than are spurred in anger to vote against Republican incumbents come hell or high water or pandemic—it is certainly an all-or-nothing play.
Democrats are also requesting Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, currently engaged in an intentional effort to pipeline Russian election disinformation to benefit Trump, to summon DeJoy to testify about USPS sabotage to his own controlling Senate committee. Johnson, however, is a person of doubtful loyalty and thus certain to refuse.
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