/  Ranking Member Cole Opening Remarks During Hearing on H.R. 8015

Ranking Member Cole Opening Remarks During Hearing on H.R. 8015

As prepared for delivery during today's hearing:

We’re here today to consider H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act. 

Before I begin, I think it is important to note that all of us, every member of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, support an efficient and effective Postal Service. The Postal Service is of critical importance to all Americans, but it is particularly important to people in rural districts, like mine. To the extent that there are necessary, bipartisan reforms that Congress can provide, and to the extent that there are real funding needs that only Congress can meet, the majority will find willing partners on our side of the aisle to work together on those issues. 

Unfortunately, the majority has chosen a different path, and I am truly disappointed by the measure in front of us today. 

There are two main provisions of this bill. First, the bill blocks any changes to Postal Service operations that have been implemented since January first of this year, and it prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any further changes until after the first of next year, or after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends, whichever is later. Second, the bill infuses the Postal Service with an additional $25 billion in emergency funding. This amount matches what was previously passed as part of the Democrats’ partisan HEROES Act earlier this summer, and it is on top of $10 billion in borrowing authority that was signed into law as part of the bipartisan CARES Act this spring.

Unfortunately, though I am certainly supportive of a strong, efficient and effective Postal Service, this bill misses the mark in so many ways. And it will ultimately make it harder to improve operations and ensure that the Postal Service is set on a steady course for the future.

The majority’s actions today seem to be based on concerns that the Postal Service is somehow in danger of immediate collapse or that it is somehow in danger of not being able to deliver election-related mail, including ballots. Neither of these theories is accurate. While there are long-term challenges at the Postal Service, and while the actions taken by Postmaster Louis DeJoy and his predecessors are intended to help address those challenges, the Postal Service has sufficient cash on hand to continue operating well into 2021, and Postmaster DeJoy has repeatedly said that the Postal Service can and will meet its obligations with respect to delivering election mail. Despite wild allegations to the contrary, there is simply no basis in fact to support the stated reasons why this legislation is needed.

Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to insert for the record four newspaper articles discussing the majority’s concerns about the Postal Service, including a Wall Street Journal editorial, a column by Rich Lowry appearing in the New York Post, a column by Byron York appearing in the Washington Examiner and a column by Ruth Goldway, a former commissioner of the Postal Service, appearing in the New York Times. All four of these articles make it very clear that none of the Democratic majority’s asserted reasons for this legislation are accurate. And all four make very clear that the recent reforms at the Postal Service, which this legislation is intended to block, will instead increase the long-term challenges of the Postal Service and ultimately make it harder to ensure its survival as an institution.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not note that, once again, the majority is bringing a bill to the Rules Committee and then to the floor which did not receive a markup in the committee of jurisdiction. When the Democrats took the majority, they made a promise – and enshrined it into a rule – that no bills would come before the Rules Committee that had not received both a hearing and a markup in the committee of jurisdiction. Sadly, the majority is once again violating that promise, just as they did last month and just as they have repeatedly done since the beginning of this Congress.

And to make matters even worse, they are moving this bill now despite scheduling a hearing with the Postmaster General in the House next Monday.

Mr. Chairman, I have to ask: if the majority is going to repeatedly violate your promise, then what was the point of making the promise in the first place? This is especially so when you won’t even wait to have all the facts presented to you before moving a bill. Why pretend to offer a new way of doing business that you claimed was necessary in order to be more inclusive and give all members a chance to contribute to legislation if all you’re ultimately going to do in the end is continue the same practices you spent years criticizing? We owe the institution more than that, Mr. Chairman, and ultimately, we owe the American people more than that, too.

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Created: August 21, 2020