Analysis: Collins Engineered the USPS Disaster She’s Now Protesting Against
According to the Washington Monthly, after the president “handpicked” new postmaster general Louis DeJoy and “openly admitted” he was blocking additional funding to the United States Postal Service to undermine its ability to handle mail-in votes, “the only GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill to speak out are those facing competitive re-elections this fall, such as Montana Senator Steve Daines and Maine Senator Susan Collins.”
- Collins has been “trailing her Democratic opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, by five points,” according to a July poll released by Colby College.
- Last Thursday, Collins “sent a letter to DeJoy asking him to ‘address’ the mail delivery delays being across the nation,” the Washington Monthly said.
“I share the goal of putting the USPS back on a financially sustainable path,” she wrote. “However, this goal cannot be achieved by shortchanging service to the public.”
- “As it turns out, Collins is actually one of the members of Congress most responsible for the Postal Service’s devastation,” the report continued. “Long before DeJoy started manipulating the USPS, Collins was at the forefront of a bill that crippled the agency’s finances.”
- In 2005, she “sponsored and introduced legislation, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), that required the USPS to pre-pay the next 50 years worth of health and retirement benefits for all of its employees — a rule that no other federal agency must follow,” the Washington Monthly reported.
- As chair of the Senate oversight panel at the time, Collins “shepherded the bill’s passage,” and “it passed by a voice vote without any objections — a maneuver that gave members little time to consider what they were doing,” the report said.
- “To make it even harder for the USPS to make money, the law prohibited the agency from any new activities outside of delivering mail,” the Washington Monthly added. New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, who voted for the bill, “called it ‘one of the worst pieces of legislation Congress has passed in a generation.”
- Now, “the post currently has $160.9 billion in debt, of which $119.3 billion is the result of pre-funding retiree benefits,” the report continued.
“To argue that the Postal Service needs to be privatized, conservatives need to show that it is dysfunctional, and there’s no better way to do that than by weighing the agency down with impossible financial obligations,” Pascrell wrote.
- Collins’s role “in passing that law has not gone unnoticed in Maine,” according to the Washington Monthly.
“She weakened the Postal Service to the point where people like our president can say, ‘There’s a crisis here,’” John Curtis of the Maine State Association of Letter Carriers said
- While an “emergency infusion of government funds” makes sense, “it won’t solve USPS’s long-term problems,” the report concluded. “That will require repealing the PAEA’s prefunding mandate. Maine’s Independent Senator Angus King has come out in favor of such a repeal. Collins, notably, has not.”