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South Florida Democrats in Congress Denounce Recent Changes To The U.S. Postal Service

U.S. Postal Service mail vehicles sit in a parking lot at a mail distribution center.
U.S. Postal Service mail vehicles sit in a parking lot at a mail distribution center.

South Florida Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives denounced recent changes to the U.S. Postal Service at a press conference Tuesday. Some members were present in person at the mail processing facility in Opa-locka, while others joined in via Zoom.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz called out President Trump, warning that the president should not target the USPS.

“With a little over two months until Election Day, Trump’s only hope for reelection is to create chaos,” Wassernam Schultz said. “He’s abusing our trusted and treasured mail carriers to sow the seeds of that chaos.”

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Rep.Ted Deutch echoed this sentiment, highlighting the role that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has played in influencing the election.

“What’s happening now is a brazen and corrupt campaign by a desperate president and his partisan appointee, to deliberately disrupt the mail service in order to influence the election so that he can attempt to remain in power,” Deutch said.

Deutch emphasized the negative effects that disrupting the mail service has on the daily lives of Americans — from delayed prescriptions to paychecks.

Congresswoman Donna Shalala said she has received more than a thousand letters from constituents who have been impacted by the recent changes.

“Veterans who are scared to death about getting their drugs on time … but it’s not only about medicines,” she said. “It’s about people who depend on the mail for their businesses.”

Shalala said members of Congress will return to Washington not only to reverse the changes made to the postal service, but also to pass legislation for emergency aid and the prioritization of ballots as first class mail.

She also highlighted that voters in Miami-Dade will be able to drop off general election ballots at early voting sites.

“These are incremental but absolutely critical steps to make sure that our election is fair and people are in safe places when they vote,” Shalala said.

Representative Frederica Wilson said she has heard of many employees from the Opa-locka facility who have either been let go or had their hours cut. They have also experienced a build up of mail due to cuts in overtime.

"They are told not to touch the [old] mail, but to work on today's mail," she said. "They are frustrated that piles and piles of mail stand unattended for days."

Wilson is encouraging postal workers in her district to become whistleblowers. She wanted to invite some of them to speak at the press conference, however these workers would have had to ask for the day off. She said she is setting up future arrangements for them to share their story.

“It is a story that the American people need to hear, because Democrats are going to fight to ensure that Americans receive the quality mail service that they’ve long depended on,” Wilson said. “We’re going to fight to ensure that Mr. Trump and Mr. DeJoy are not able to steal their votes.”

Later in the day, DeJoy released a statement announcing the expansion of the election mail task force, as well as the suspension of cost-cutting initiatives until after the election. He will still appear at a U.S. Senate hearing Friday.