Recap: Adams Hosts "Don't Mess With USPS" Press Conference
CHARLOTTE – Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) held a "Don't Mess With USPS" press conference at 10:00 AM today at the Downtown Station Post Office in Charlotte. Approximately 50 people attended the event, many wearing "Save USPS" face masks and holding up "US Mail: Not for Sale" signs.
"Let me say this plain and clear," said Rep. Adams. "If we determine during that hearing that the Postmaster General has deliberately harmed USPS; if this wealthy Republican donor Louis DeJoy has intentionally slowed down your mail and broken the trust between the Postal Service and its customers, the American people; then the House of Representatives should file articles of impeachment against him, and I will gladly lead the charge."
Additionally, Rep. Adams announced that she will participate in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee meeting on Monday, where Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is scheduled to appear.
Speakers at the press conference included Tim Greene of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC); Charlotte Mecklenburg NAACP President Rev. Corine Mack; and American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Charlotte Area Local 375 President Mariam Bell.
Below are Rep. Adams' comments as prepared for delivery:
Good morning, everyone.
My name is Congresswoman Alma Adams, and I represent North Carolina’s 12th District in the House of Representatives.
This is my post office. I have a PO Box here, it’s where I come to send mail, and it’s where I mailed my absentee ballot request last week.
In fact it’s a post office for all of us. This is the people’s Post Office!
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is one of our nation’s oldest and most-treasured institutions.
It ties together our communities. And it provides some of the most important services to each and every American.
The postal workers and letter carriers and all of the USPS staff here represent a promise that was made to our country in the United States Constitution, a promise that our government has kept, without question until the Trump Administration and his handpicked Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy.
I wish we didn’t have to be here today, but I am encouraged by everyone who turned out here on a busy day to stand up for our US Post Office.
I always say that I’m a stakeholder representative. What matters to you, matters to me.
That’s why I’d like to hear from some of our local stakeholders who have joined us today
Thank you Mariam, APWU President And to State Letter Carriers Representative Tim Greene and NAACP President, Rev. Corine Mack, thank you for being here today.
Together, with your help, and the help of countless others across our country, I know that we can fight the good fight and help save the Post Office.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is the number one most popular government service.
And let’s be clear – it’s a public service, not a business. Service is in the name.
In addition to employing over 2,400 of our neighbors in the 12th District, the Postal Service connects every American to each other - down to the last mile.
The post office will deliver a piece of mail for the cost of one 55 cent FOREVER stamp to anywhere in the country. That is a promise that millions of our fellow Americans rely on every day.
During this ongoing pandemic, more of us than ever are relying on USPS to safely deliver medication and mail in a timely manner, and more voters than ever are relying on USPS to safely and promptly deliver election mail.
That’s especially true in North Carolina. The State Board of Elections is experiencing unprecedented demand for absentee by mail ballots.
More than 230,000 North Carolinians have requested absentee ballots for November so far. That includes over 30,000 requests in Mecklenburg.
According to Professor Michael Bitzer of Catawba College, that’s nine times as many absentee ballots that have been requested when compared to the 2016 general election.
If that rate holds, County Boards of Elections could be dealing with well over one million ballots by Election Day.
And that’s millions of additional pieces of mail that the Postal Service will have to account for leading up to November 3.
Unfortunately, President Trump and his handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are engineering an unconstitutional assault on the Postal Service.
First, the White House refused to release $10 billion in borrowing authority for USPS that Congress appropriated in the CARES Act in March. They just released that funding in July.
Now, the Postmaster General is slowing down mail delivery by preventing USPS employees from working overtime.
Mail is piling up on the floors of distribution centers. Workers are being told to leave bills and parcels undelivered.
And even our iconic blue USPS mailboxes are being locked or taken away.
But that’s what the Trump Administration has been all about- breaking things that used to work.
They’re trying to mess with the Postal Service.
But I’m here to tell (Donald) Trump:
Don’t Mess with USPS.
Look, it’s no secret that USPS needs reforms. That’s why I’ve been a leader in Congress, trying to get the onerous prefunding mandate repealed.
But intentionally slowing our mail system during a pandemic is downright irresponsible.
I was sent to Congress to act. And I’ve been one of the strongest voices in Washington fighting to save the Postal Service.
So here’s what I’ve done:
I sent a letter with (Oversight and Reform Committee) Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, who by the way is from Greensboro and Reps. Gerry Connolly and Peter DeFazio to Speaker Pelosi, asking that in any new legislation, USPS be mandated to maintain its high levels of service. Additionally, we asked for $25 billion in emergency appropriations to shore up USPS’ finances.
130 other Members of Congress signed onto my letter.
Just this weekend, Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Maloney took that letter and drafted a bill.
That bill is H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act.
That bill will appropriate $25 billion in emergency aid for USPS, and will require that Postmaster General DeJoy to maintain the operational standards that USPS had on January 1, 2020.
Let’s face it: We are facing a unique threat to American Democracy and That’s Not Fake News!
That is why the House of Representatives is heading back to Washington on an August Saturday - for the first time ever in our history - to vote on this crucial issue.
Each and every day that I am your Congresswoman, I am fighting to make sure that our government works for you.
You’ve probably heard the Postal Service’s unofficial motto - “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Well, I’m here to make sure that neither the President nor his Postmaster General can stop the Postal Service, either.
Earlier this month, I joined Speaker Pelosi, Chairwoman Maloney, who by the way is from Greensboro and 190 other Members of Congress this week in demanding that Postmaster DeJoy stop his assault on the Postal Service.
And I joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren in demanding an immediate investigation into DeJoy’s actions by the USPS Inspector General.
That investigation is ongoing.
And next week, on Monday, August 24, the House of Representative Committee on Oversight and Reform will directly question Postmaster General DeJoy himself.
And I intend to get to the bottom of the situation.
Let me say this plain and clear: if we determine during that hearing that the Postmaster General has deliberately harmed USPS;
If this wealthy Republican donor Louis DeJoy has intentionally slowed down your mail and broken the trust between the Postal Service and its customers, the American people;
Then the House of Representatives should file articles of impeachment against him, and I will gladly lead the charge.
From where I’m standing, the situation is clear: a political donor and ally of President Trump is trying to undermine the Postal Service from the inside.
There’s a fox in the henhouse, and he’s not bringing us any joy.
And millions of Americans are going to suffer as a result of his actions.
Earlier this week, we learned of reports that veterans nationwide aren’t receiving their prescription medications on-time as a result of DeJoy’s new changes.
So Congressman DeFazio and I led the charge to demand answers from Veterans Affairs Secretary Wilkie (WILL-key) and DeJoy.
We cannot allow a single American to lose their life because the Postmaster General slowed the delivery of their medications.
Meanwhile, we’ve also received reports that mail-in ballots might not be treated as first-class mail under these new rules.
That means that hundreds of thousands of ballots might not be counted in time to count for the 2020 general election– which would silence voices across the entire political spectrum.
My dear colleague John Lewis always used to say: “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred.”
I believe that to my core. Voting is sacred. And we need to ensure that every American who wants to cast their ballot by mail should be able to do so, without impediment.
At the end of the day, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t a partisan issue, but it is a life-or-death issue. And that’s particularly true when it comes to our democracy.
It is absolutely essential that we safeguard USPS’ ability to facilitate this election.
Voting by mail is safe. It is secure. There is no partisan advantage for either side. And it is more important than ever so that we can continue to protect each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you all again for showing out, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Congresswoman Alma Adams represents North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District (Charlotte) and serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. Additionally, she serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee, where she serves as Chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee.