U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is among the Colorado Democrats calling on Congress to put its stamp on the "unfolding crisis" involving the president and the U.S. Postal Service.
“The president of the United States is trying to shut down the U.S. Postal Service to help his chances in the upcoming election," DeGette, who has represented Denver in Congress for 24 years, alleged in a Sunday morning statement. "This is an unprecedented attack on our Democracy and it’s imperative that Congress return to Washington immediately to address it."
Sunday the House Oversight Committee announced a hearing for Aug. 24, inviting Trump's newly installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert M. Duncan to testify.
Trump has criticized mail-in ballots as unfair to him and Republicans. He blamed mail voting for his loss by 2.8 million votes in the overall tally in 2016, as he won the presidency via the Electoral College. The special commission he created to find fraud and substantiate a claim by the president that millions of undocumented people voted was disbanded without issuing any results or report.
Democrats allege ulterior motives in Trump's moves against the postal service within three months of the election — which will be conducted mostly by mail for the first time in some states due to the COVID-19 pandemic — as creating dysfunction to cast doubt on the outcome after Nov. 3.
Last week Trump had to walk back his statement that he didn't want to provide relief money to the post office, because it would help carry out mail-in voting, which he alleges without specifics is unfair to him. In the process, the White House has been unwilling to compromise on an overall coronavirus relief package to help unemployed people, small businesses and local governments.
“The U.S. Postal Service is more than just an essential part of our elections, it’s a lifeline for millions of Americans," DeGette's Sunday statement continued.
"I have heard from over 10,000 constituents in the past few weeks alone on this issue – many of whom are being directly impacted by the president’s actions. I’ve heard from seniors and veterans who aren’t getting the life-saving medication they need delivered on time. I’ve heard from small business owners who are struggling because of delays in getting the goods they need delivered. And I’ve heard from hardworking families who are struggling to pay their bills because they haven’t received their paychecks. This has to stop.
“The president’s actions are not only a threat to our Democracy they are direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. Congress needs to return to Washington immediately to address this crisis, before it’s too late.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Lafayette, tweeted a similar view Friday.
"Americans rely on #USPS to deliver medicine, paychecks, social security, ballots and more," he said. "The President’s attempt to sabotage and undermine these critical services in the middle of a pandemic is unconscionable and dangerous. We cannot let this stand.
Colorado has used mail-in ballots since 2013, passed by Democrats and implemented by two former Republican opponents, secretaries of state Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams.
Current Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, appeared on CNN with host Anderson Cooper on Friday night.
"It's alarmed that the postmaster general sent a letter to a lot of states, 49 states, basically laying out that millions of Americans could be disenfranchised because of (the postal) service," Griswold said. "That's undemocratic, it's unAmerican and it's Donald Trump's fault."
Gov. Jared Polis posted the video of Griswold's appearance on his Facebook page Sunday morning.
Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who is facing a stiff test in November against former Gov. John Hickenlooper, told Colorado Politics on Thursday that he supports the post office, partly because the service is vital to rural communities.
He is a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act to provide $25 billion in aid, saying “local post offices are vital, especially for our rural communities, but the postal service has been hit hard by COVID-19."