CHICAGO — Illinois Democrats are calling for a criminal investigation into the U.S. postmaster general’s actions Tuesday, saying he and the Trump administration are trying to sabotage the postal service ahead of the November election.
Donning masks and attitudes, Illinois Democrats took turns calling out Postmaster General Louis Dejoy Tuesday, saying his cuts to overtime and equipment are making mail delivery a lot more difficult.
They say people aren’t getting their meds, businesses can’t ship products and many can’t get their bills paid on time.
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night will prevent mail delivering; neither will Louis Dejoy,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8th District).
President Trump called Dejoy a “fantastic” man, saying he wants to, “make the post office great again.”
Democrats are accusing Dejoy and the Trump administration of intentionally trying to starve the USPS ahead of the November election, when a record number of votes are expected to be cast using mail-in ballots.
“It should not be a choice in risking one’s life and not being able to exercise the right to vote,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-5th District).
The Trump administration says it’s open to funding the USPS if democrats agree to a less expensive coronavirus stimulus package.
“Obviously, if you’re going to do these millions of ballots out of nowhere, he’s going to obviously need funding,” Trump said. “But the Democrats aren’t willing to provide other things, and therefore they’re not going to get the funding for that.”
Instead, the House cut its August recess to vote on a bill that would give the USPS $25 billion and mandate it go back to the same service levels it had in January. Even if it gets bi-partisan support in the House, it still has to go through the Republican controlled-Senate. Democrats are hoping public pressure will force senate Republicans to act.
“Our job is to model the behavior we want from the Senate,” said Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th District).
Union leaders representing letter carriers say they will get the ballots in on time and residents can trust the postal service.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of states in a federal lawsuit challenging changes at USPS they say threaten mail delivery and could undermine the November election with more Americans expected to vote by mail due to the pandemic.
And in a reversal Tuesday afternoon, Dejoy released a statement saying he would suspend the cost-cutting initiatives until after the election to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.
The postmaster general is set to testify in front of a Senate committee Friday, and a House committee next week.