CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., was one of 26 Republicans that voted in support of a $25 billion bill for the U.S. Postal Service to maintain services during the general election and coronavirus pandemic.
The House of Representatives on Saturday passed the Delivering for America Act in a 257-150 vote. The legislation, introduced earlier this month, prohibits any changes that were not in place before this year.
The bill comes amid questions about the Postal Service and concerns about decisions that could affect the upcoming election. More Americans are expected to submit absentee ballots this fall because of the coronavirus.
According to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, around 225,000 registered voters voted by mail in the June primary election.
“Since being elected to Congress, I’ve consistently fought to protect the mission of the U.S. Postal Service and support the men and women who work there,” McKinley said in a statement. “This vote is just the latest example of standing up for postal workers and the communities who depend on them.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ended the chamber’s August recess for the vote. McKinley criticized the decision, arguing the legislators should have voted on more than one item.
“The House should have used this opportunity to provide relief for families and small businesses, and additional funding to schools and hospitals,” he noted.
Most Republicans opposed the bill, including West Virginia’s Alex Mooney and Carol Miller. Mooney, who this week said concerns about the Postal Service are exaggerated, stated the Delivering for America Act harms the Postal Service’s financial standing.
“Speaker Pelosi convened the U.S. House of Representatives today to fuel a false and intentionally misleading theory about the USPS. The best and most secure way to vote, as intended by our Founding Fathers, is in person,” he said.
The Postal Service tweeted multiple times Friday about the effects of voting by mail on deliveries and processing, saying election mail will account for less than 2% of all deliveries between mid-September and Election Day.
“In demanding the House convene for a day, Speaker Pelosi decided to waste taxpayer money on a political stunt rather than address the COVID-19 crisis, students returning to school, opioid addiction and other critical issues,” Mooney added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the vote the Senate will not pass legislation that does not address other coronavirus-related issues.
“If Washington Democrats would devote half the energy they spend worrying about their own re-elections to actually helping the American people, we could easily achieve the kind of targeted, bipartisan relief packaged that Republicans have wanted for weeks,” he said.
The Trump administration also opposes the bill.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will testify on Monday before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which Miller serves. DeJoy on Tuesday announced a freeze on proposed changes to the mail system. Pelosi said the following day that he has no intention of replacing removed machines and other equipment.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sent a letter to DeJoy this week critical of the state of the Postal Service, noting inactive machines at the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center. Manchin demanded DeJoy ensure services will be uninterrupted or resign from the position.