Newly installed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a large donor to President Trump and other Republicans, has made controversial changes at the U.S. Postal Service right before it is called on to handle a surge in mail-in ballots, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has some concerns about the resulting service delays.
"I write to request that you promptly address the delays in mail delivery that have occurred following recent operational changes at the United States Postal Service (USPS)," Collins said in a letter to DeJoy on Thursday, released soon after Trump laid out his opposition to funding for the USPS that Collins supports. "Following these operational changes," she wrote, "Mainers are experiencing delays in delivery of needed prescriptions, personal protective equipment, such as masks, and payments sent through the mail. While I support efforts to improve the USPS's financial condition, I am concerned that the reported changes will have the opposite effect, reducing service to the public and driving away customers."
Along with slashing overtime and removing mail-sorting machines, DeJoy removed two of the top USPS officials in charge of day-to-day operations and reassigned 23 other postal executives. He has portrayed them as cost-cutting measures. The USPS has lost money since 2006, when Congress — with support from Collins — passed a law making the Postal Service set aside billions of dollars for future benefit payments. The pandemic has made its financial situation worse.
House Democrats have approved $25 billion to help the USPS stay solvent during the pandemic, and Collins co-sponsored a similar measure in the Senate, "but few other Republicans seem to be on board and the bill has not progressed so far," the Bangor Daily News reports. Collins faces her toughest re-election fight in November; a Bangor Daily News poll released Tuesday showed her challenger, state Rep. Sara Gideon (D), ahead by 8 percentage points.