As part of her push to get House members on board with her plan to force members to return from recess to vote on a funding package for the United States Postal Service, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter on Sunday to her colleagues in the House explaining the reason they are being recalled. In that letter, Pelosi argued that it is vital for Congress to immediately pass her funding request because Americans rely on the Postal Service to deliver, among other things, “Social Security benefits” and “tax returns.”
There’s just one problem: the government hasn’t been sending those items via mail for over a decade. In fact, the government announced in June 2010 that all Social Security “checks” would be sent via direct deposit and that people who were scheduled to receive these checks but did not have a bank account would be issued a Treasury Department Direct Express Debit MasterCard, onto which funds would be loaded electronically.
The issue of funding for the USPS has unexpectedly become a hot-button political issue after Democrats accused Republicans of sabotaging the USPS in order to prevent increased voting by mail. Democrats have even accused current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of sabotaging the mail system, claiming without proof that DeJoy ordered the removal of numerous mail collection boxes in order to prevent people from sending out mail-in ballots.
In response, a USPS spokesperson pointed out that collection boxes have been dwindling for years per a long-standing policy that calls for their removal when usage falls below a certain level. In fact, the Washington Post noted in 2009 that approximately half of all collection boxes in the United States had been removed in the preceding 20 years, a natural consequence of the shift away from paper mail and toward electronic mail, as well as increased competition from private carriers.
Additionally, it has been noted that the Postal Service is fully funded through the end of 2021, which means that, if Postal Service failures play a role in the upcoming election, it will not be due to any reduction in funding.
Still, Democrats — who have been unable to come to an agreement on an overall stimulus package to combat the coronavirus-induced recession — have made a USPS funding package such a priority that they have ostentatiously recalled all House members across the country to vote on one.