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Perry: Postal Service doesn't need more funding

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (R- Pa. 10) speaks during a forum sponsored by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) with local economic leaders and business owners Wednesday, August, 26, 2020. Toomey's forum focused on economic issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The event took place at the York County History Center’s Agricultural & Industrial Museum. Bill Kalina photo

The U.S. Postal Service does not need any additional funding ahead of the presidential election, and criticisms of recent policy changes are solely partisan talking points, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry said Wednesday.

The Carroll Township Republican's comments came as he joined Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., while talking about efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawmakers appeared at the York County History Center’s Agricultural & Industrial Museum in York City.

On Aug. 22, Perry voted against legislation that would have reversed recent changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and supplied $25 billion to the agency that has been hemorrhaging money for decades.

"If you look at it from a revenue standpoint, in the last two quarters (the USPS) had higher revenue than the same quarters last year," Perry said. "So if it's a revenue issue, they're actually better off this year than they were last year."

Twenty-six Republicans, including some of Trump's most vocal backers, supported the bill offered by House Democrats. 

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While it is true the USPS made more money in the two most recent quarters compared with the same period last year, it has lost more than $78 billion since 2007 due to a declining volume of mail and rising costs, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Regardless, talks of funding have recently been overshadowed by changes made by DeJoy that Democrats say would deal a huge blow to the presidential election, which is expected to see a surge in mail-in voting.

Those changes included limiting overtime for workers and removing mailboxes throughout the country, but DeJoy announced further changes would be suspended prior to testifying Monday at a House Oversight Committee.

Multiple states, including Pennsylvania, have continued with lawsuits challenging any changes to the agency's operations.

President Donald Trump has also taken heat, as he has insisted, without evidence, that mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud and disproportionately benefit Democrats in November.

He also admitted recently while appearing on Fox News that he was starving the Postal Service in an effort to make it harder to process an influx of mail-in ballots. 

Still, Perry said he sees no reason to provide more funding.

"This is an ongoing process. The Obama administration replaced 14,000 mail boxes and no one said a word," Perry said. "The whole thing is just being hyper-politicized for partisan reasons. Absolutely no reason to vote (for the bill)."

More than 12,000 mailboxes were removed under President Barack Obama's administration, but there was no evidence it had anything to do with politics.

In a 2016 report by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General citing cost issues, the agency "eliminated underused collection boxes that on average receive fewer than 25 pieces a day, and added collection boxes that are convenient for customers."

At the end of the day, though, the House Democrats' legislation is unlikely to become law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has indicated the USPS bill won't stand a chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

And although Toomey said Wednesday the USPS needs to be fully operational and he would keep an open mind about the legislation, he made it clear he takes issue with sending any additional aid to the agency.

"It is my understanding that the post office has enough cash on hand to get through all of not just this year, but next year as well," Toomey said. "So it's not clear to me that there is a need to send a whole lot of money."

Toomey said it was too early to say how he would vote on the bill.

Since the 1970s, the USPS has not received a dime in federal funding. It instead relies on postage and services.

The changes made in the 1970s stem from the Postal Reorganization Act signed by former President Richard Nixon in 1971, which established the USPS as an independent agency, essentially requiring it to fund itself.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.