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GOP Political Attacks on Postal Service Delay Prescription Deliveries, Hurt Small Businesses & Put Election at Risk

The Republican political attacks on the U.S. Postal Service – led by President Trump after his admission yesterday that he is blocking emergency funding because he wants to make it more difficult to process mail ballots – are also delaying prescription drug deliveries and hurting small businesses. 

In Maine, tens of thousands of pieces of mail were delayed this week, mail delays in North Carolina caused by Republicans’ actions are reportedly “hurting local small business owners,” veterans in Louisiana are experiencing long delays on needed prescriptions, and states across the country are increasingly worried about the effects on November’s election. 

While Democrats have prioritized USPS funding in future coronavirus relief, Senate Republicans wasted months refusing to negotiate, seeing no “urgency” to act, and now Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared a recess until September without passing additional aid. Senate Republicans refuse to stand up to the president’s political games that are causing critical mail delays across the country and threaten Americans’ ability to vote safely in this election.

Associated Press: Lawmakers: Postal changes delay mail-order medicine for vets

By Hope Yen

  • Policy changes to slow delivery at the U.S. Postal Service are taking a toll on military veterans, who are reporting much longer wait times to receive mail-order prescription drugs, according to Democratic senators.
  • In a letter Friday, the 31 senators take aim at new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a GOP fundraiser who took the post in June and has since imposed several operational changes that have led to mail backlogs across the United States. His cost-cutting measures have come as President Donald Trump rails against increases in mail-in voting and says he may hold up postal funding to impede the balloting in November.
  • VA fills about 80% of veteran prescriptions by mail. That translates to almost 120 million prescriptions a year, with deliveries arriving daily to about 330,000 veterans across the country.
  • Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has been investigating the postal delays after he said DeJoy failed to provide answers about why they were happening. Peters is asking a dozen veterans organizations to provide him with information about wait times for mail-order prescriptions or other problems. He says some veterans have reported to him financial harm caused by late fees after their bills and payments took much longer to arrive in July and August.

ME – Portland Press Herald: Postal workers’ union says up to 80,000 letters were held back Monday in southern Maine

By Reuben Schafir

  • Customers across southern Maine will be waiting on as many as 80,000 pieces of mail that will arrive late because of new U.S. Postal Service policies, the president of a local postal workers’ union said.
  • Adams said he was frustrated that in addition to slowing down mail delivery, the postal service isn’t taking responsibility for it. He said the late mail, which customers often can track, doesn’t get marked as “delayed,” and as a result, customers are left waiting for mail that won’t be delivered for another day.

MT – Billings Gazette: Postal delays spark concerns about service, mail ballot elections

By Tom Lutey

  • The result has been late mail, which has angered USPS employees and customers alike. The moves have also raised concerns in states like Montana, where counties have been given the option of ordering an all-mail ballot general election this fall.
  • Montana has always been heavily dependent on the Postal Service. Long before there was eBay, or Amazon, there were Sears Toughskins jeans in brown paper shipping bags, stuffed into galvanized metal mailboxes on country backroads. In a two-story town, with nothing more than a Ben Franklin, the semi-gloss pages of a Montgomery Ward catalog offered more merchandise than every Main Street shop combined.

NC – Fox 8: Mail delays hurting local small business owners

By Michelle Wolf

  • Mitchell’s felt the effects of recent postal delays, and it’s starting to hurt his bookstore. Sending books through the USPS saves money.
  • “Lots of small businesses rely on certain postage rates that are considerably cheaper. Every commercial business that’s not like a restaurant on this street uses the postal service to mail out product. Every single one,” Mitchell said of Elm Street. 
  • He’s worried if these delays stick around, small business owners could be losing even more sales during the pandemic.
  • “You can’t afford to send things through other carriers if you’re just a small business sending one or two things at a time,” Mitchell said.

MI – Lansing State Journal: Michigan absentee voting smashed records. Now officials are worried about mail delays.

By Sarah Lehr

  • Absentee voting smashed records in Michigan this week, although officials warn thousands of ballots across the state may not have been counted because they arrived too late by mail. 
  • Those trends are likely to continue on an even larger scale in November as people vote absentee to avoid COVID-19 exposure. Because of possible delays, those voting by mail may not be able to wait until the last minute to return ballots, officials warned.
  • Michiganders voting in Nov. 3 general election will be able to request an absentee ballot by mail as late as Oct. 30, but Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark is “very concerned” about postal delays leading to uncounted votes. 

LA – KTBS 3: Delivery complaints keep stacking up for US Postal Service in Shreveport

By Gerry May

  • More customers have told KTBS they’re missing important items, from medications to utility bills.
  • U.S. Navy veteran Ricky Cage of Ringgold says he’s still waiting on prescription pain medication he should’ve received last Wednesday.
  • “I have a statement right here. It was picked up on (August) the third, from the VA by a postal official. But it never left Shreveport in the mail to come here to Ringgold. It’s still lodged somewhere in Shreveport,” Cage said.
  • An Air Force veteran, Cassandra Bonnett of Shreveport, is also waiting on medication and insurance bills the VA says it put in the mail. She said both wound up being returned to the senders as “undeliverable.”
  • Bonnett says the last time she got mail was two weeks ago, and it was for the wrong person. She says she’s also missing utility bills.

Washington Post: Trump opposes election aid for states and Postal Service bailout, threatening Nov. 3 vote

By Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey and Paul Kane

  • President Trump on Thursday said he opposes both election aid for states and an emergency bailout for the U.S. Postal Service because he wants to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail, putting at risk the nation’s ability to administer the Nov. 3 elections.
  • Trump has been attacking mail balloting and the integrity of the vote for months, but his latest broadside makes explicit his intent to stand in the way of urgently needed money to help state and local officials administer elections during the coronavirus pandemic. With nearly 180 million Americans eligible to vote by mail, the president’s actions could usher in widespread delays, long lines and voter disenfranchisement this fall, voting rights advocates said.

New York Times: Mail Delays Fuel Concern Trump Is Undercutting Postal System Ahead of Voting

By Michael D. Shear, Hailey Fuchs and Kenneth P. Vogel

  • President Trump’s yearslong assault on the Postal Service and his increasingly dire warnings about the dangers of voting by mail are colliding as the presidential campaign enters its final months. The result has been to generate new concerns about how he could influence an election conducted during a pandemic in which greater-than-ever numbers of voters will submit their ballots by mail.

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