When Democrats raised concerns earlier this year about the US Postal Service’s ability to handle the impending increase in demand from the pandemic and mail in voting, Senator David Perdue called them a “distraction” and Senator Kelly Loeffler labeled them a “fake crisis”.
Now, an overwhelmed U.S. Postal Service has been struggling for weeks to deliver packages, warning that holiday gifts may not arrive by Christmas as tens of thousands of packages pile up across the nation and mail-in ballot processing slows in crucial runoff elections in Georgia.
Already, more than 1.2 million voters have requested mail-in ballots in Georgia and more than 260,000 ballots have been returned, including more than 100,000 through the Postal Service, the mail agency reported in federal court. But according to a report by the Washington Post, “since Nov. 28, [USPS] has processed 74.5 percent of those ballots on time, but only 68.2 percent on the six days when it processed at least 10,000 ballots,” representing a warning for more delays while more voters vote by mail as the pandemic continues to get even worse. On top of that, private express carriers like UPS and FedEx, similarly seeing record package levels, cut off delivery service for some retailers, which has added even more parcels through an already overwhelmed Postal Service.
Democrats such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sounded the alarm about the USPS during the summer when recently installed Postmaster General and top GOP donor Louis DeJoy’s efforts to kneecap it with cost cutting measures including slashing overtime for workers and decommissioning mail processing equipment, operational changes that led to widespread mail delays which continued through the election despite injunctions by various judges. However, Senator Kelly Loeffler insisted concerns about the USPS were “completely false.”
In an interview on Georgia Public Radio, Senator David Perdue, who has voted by mail in recent elections, also said concerns over the Postal Service’s ability to handle a crush of absentee ballots is a “distraction.”
When Democrats in the House passed a 25 billion dollar bill to support the USPS and prevent these package delays and operational changes, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans refused to take up the bill, despite internal USPS communications released by the House Oversight Committee documenting delays in first-class mail as early as July.
Additionally, because of intransigence from Senators Purdue, Loeffler, and McConnell, stimulus checks and Coronavirus unemployment benefits in the latest relief bill were approximately half of what they would have been under several Democratic proposals.