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Sewell returns to Washington to back needed USPS funding

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Republicans step up their attacks on mail-in voting ahead of the November election, which will take place as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on across the nation, House Democrats are gearing up for a return to Washington this weekend to approve emergency funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, released a statement chiding the Trump administration for its “unprecedented and shameless attempt not only to undermine this critical institution, but to suppress the vote this coming November.”

Since taking over the USPS in June, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who since 2016 has donated more than $1 million each to Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party, has sought to make sweeping changes at the USPS, including removing mail-sorting machines from post offices across the country, eliminating overtime and more.

The changes slowed down mail delivery, which has become even more essential as people shy away from one-on-one interactions amid the ongoing public health crisis.

DeJoy backtracked on the planned  changes earlier this week, saying their implementation would be suspended until after the election, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from both opposing additional USPS funding due to his animosity toward mail-in voting and blaming Democrats for the department’s woes.

“The USPS is an essential service that Americans have long relied upon to access goods and supplies and to provide large-scale employment across our nation,” Sewell said in the statement released Tuesday. “Given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the continued need for Americans to remain safe at home, the USPS is needed now more than ever. The President’s attacks on the USPS over the past weeks and months are an unprecedented and shameless attempt not only to undermine this critical institution, but to suppress the vote this coming November. Make no mistake, the president knows exactly what he is doing and he is doing it at the expense of American lives and liberties.”

Sewell noted that, at current, more than 170,000 Americans – including roughly 1,800 Alabamians – have died due to the coronavirus emergency and “the president’s failure to enact a comprehensive national plan to combat it.”

“Still, he continues to make unsubstantiated statements about the potential for election fraud with mail-in ballots, an argument we know to be made in bad faith given an utter lack of evidence and the fact that he himself votes by mail,” Sewell said in the statement.

The Heritage Fund, a conservative group loudly sounding the alarm over the possibility of fraud because of mail-in voting, found 14 cases of attempted voter fraud out of more than 15 million ballots cast in Oregon since 1998.

Additionally, the Heritage Foundation found “1,290 instances of voter fraud” – buying votes, altering vote counts and duplicate voting – over the last 30 years and only about 140 criminal convictions for “fraudulent use of absentee ballots” over the last two decades.

For her part, Sewell is looking forward to returning to Washington this weekend to vote in favor of emergency funding for the USPS.

“As a proud daughter of Selma, I have made it my mission in Congress to continue the unparalleled legacy of my friend, mentor and hero, Congressman John Lewis,” Sewell said in the statement. “I will continue to fight tirelessly to eradicate voter suppression and this is no exception. This Saturday, I will join my colleagues in returning to Congress to vote in favor of emergency funding for the USPS for the health of our democracy and of the American people.”