Sunday, August 16, 2020

An Orange Man With Mail Pattern Badness, Con't

Realizing that House Democrats can't do anything about saving the US Postal Service from home (and also how hideously bad it looks for Dems to be complaining while taking an entire month off) Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are considering bringing the House back to session early for hearings and oversight.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are considering cutting short the August recess and bringing the chamber back into session to deal with the unfolding crisis at the U.S. Postal Service, according to Democratic sources.

The House could return to vote with the next two weeks, the Democratic sources suggested. The chamber is currently in recess, with no votes scheduled until the week of Sept. 14.

Pelosi and other top Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), discussed the possibility of returning early during an emergency leadership call Saturday afternoon.

Democrats are looking to address organizational issues at the Postal Service in the coming weeks, not to provide additional funding at this time, according to sources familiar with the discussion.

One option would be to vote on a modified version of a bill introduced by House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) earlier this week that would prohibit USPS from implementing a planned organizational overhaul that critics maintain would handicap mail-in voting.
Other top Democrats also floated addressing other issues, including expired federal unemployment benefits and voting rights. But Democratic sources said the immediate focus — at least for now — is preserving the Postal Service ahead of the election.

On Friday, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a scathing statement accusing President Donald Trump and Republicans of waging an “all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election.” Their statement came after Trump said he opposes a federal infusion of funds to save the flailing postal service because he doesn’t support mail-in voting.

“The President made plain that he will manipulate the operations of the Post Office to deny eligible voters the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election,” Pelosi and Schumer said. “The President’s own words confirm: he needs to cheat to win.”

Legislation that would never be taken up by the Senate is one thing, but prime time hearings where Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has to defend wrecking the Postal Service live on TV while America watches is what has to happen. And it looks like the House is in fact swinging into action as early as next week.

The House Oversight Committee will hold an emergency hearing on mail delays and concerns about potential White House interference in the U.S. Postal Service, inviting Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Postal Service board of governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan to testify Aug. 24, top Democrats announced on Sunday.

Democrats have alleged that DeJoy, a former Republican National Committee chairman, is taking steps that are causing dysfunction in the mail system and could wreak havoc in the presidential election. The House had earlier not planned a hearing until September.

“The postmaster general and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Oversight Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in a statement announcing the hearing.

I fully expect the White House to block DeJoy and Duncan from showing up, saying that neither can be made available for the duration of the "busy election season" and a subpoena will take years to process thanks to the Supreme Court, so that means Pelosi needs to be ready to compel testimony through inherent contempt if necessary.

If DeJoy doesn't show, I expect the Dems will gladly be willing to share the stories of folks not getting their prescriptions, checks, and supplies on national TV for several hours as counter-programming to the Republican convention.

It should make for sobering theater.

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