NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Postal Service is at the center of a fight that seems to be getting more intense by the day.
Members of the House of Representatives are expected to end their recess early to deal with changes made by the new postmaster general that could impact the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding an investigation after getting reports that mailboxes across the city are being removed, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Sunday.
Dozens pulled from neighborhoods are now lined up behind the Cornell Post Office in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx. The USPS said it’s part of the routine removal of redundant or seldom used collection boxes, because of a decline in letters and flat mail.
Mail handlers union Local 300 president Kevin Tabarus said postal workers still question the timing.
“I really didn’t get a straight answer from anybody yet,” Tabarus said.
The Trump administration is facing accusations of intentionally crippling the USPS to interfere with the upcoming election. The president defended hand-picked U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who changed policies to trim the budget, by banning overtime and added trips to deliver mail.
“He’s a very talented man. He’s a brilliant business person. He’s done great,” Trump said.
“Now we’re seeing mail get delayed,” Tabarus said.
Congressional Democrats, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, claim DeJoy’s changes are causing nationwide delays. The USPS warned mail-in ballots in all 50 states may not be received by election offices in time to be counted.
The House Oversight Committee is calling on DeJoy to testify in an emergency hearing next week.
“We should stamp him with ‘return to sender’ if he won’t appear before the hearing,” Schumer said.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows insisted the president is not using the USPS to impact the election.
“I’ll give you that guarantee right now. The president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their vote in a legitimate way, whether it’s the post office or anything else,” Meadows said.
Responding to concerns, the USPS said it’s now postponing the removal of collection boxes for a period of 90 days. The White House said USPS will also suspend its plan to remove hundreds of machines used to postmark and sort mail, until after the election.
“Everybody should be able to vote and their vote should be counted and we’d love to be able to do that without being strangled by Washington D.C.,” Tabarus said.
President Trump said he’d consider giving the USPS more funding in a coronavirus relief bill, but blamed Democrats for holding it up. The House is expected to reconvene next Saturday to address the Postal Service’s problems.
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