RI Congressional Democrats rail against postal changes

Congressman David Cicilline holds photos he says show locked mail boxes and postal boxes removed from service in Oregon and Washington state. He joined fellow Democrats, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Cong. Jim Langevin (not shown) August 18, 2020 in criticizing Trump administration changes to mail service. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Rhode Island’s four-man delegation followed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call that Congressional Democrats go to post offices around the country Tuesday, to call out Trump administration changes to postal service, which critics say is aimed at slowing or gumming up the handling of mail balloting in the upcoming Presidential election.

“Everywhere you look around the Postal Service you see that something is up,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

“We’re here to ask the Trump administration to knock it off. They have created enough turmoil, they’ve created enough anxiety, they have exhibited enough incompetence. At least leave our Postal Service alone,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse, Sen. Jack Reed and Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin gathered outside the main post office on Corliss Street in Providence Tuesday.

“This self-manufactured crisis and intentional delays in service for political reasons are unacceptable,” said Reed. “But they’re particularly outrageous when you have the situation of a pandemic that has claimed 170,000 lives or more.”

According to Reed, postal operations have been hampered, with mail handling equipment taken out of service in Rhode Island post offices and mail not delivered at the end of the day returned to post offices, requiring mail be sorted again the following day.

“This critical work is being deliberately undermined by President Trump, who seems to be determined to slow down service due to his opposition to universal voting by mail,” Reed said.

“The Postal Service keeps us connected, and that’s why it’s more important than ever and critical than ever that we do something about this,” said Langevin.

The House plans a vote Saturday on restoring funding to the Postal Service, and committees in both the House and Senate plan to call Postmaster General Louis DeJoy this week and next.

“This is an agency which is here to serve the American people, which is in our Constitution, it is not intended to be a profit making enterprise,” said Cicilline. “It’s a fundamental disrespect of the important role the post office has played in the history of this country.”