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U.S. Postal Service says House bill would hamper improvements

FILE PHOTO: A United States Postal Service (USPS) worker pushes a mail bin outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S. August 22, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Postal Service said on Sunday that a bill passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives would hamper its ability to “improve service to the American people” and assured it could handle mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The House voted on Saturday to provide the cash-strapped Postal Service with $25 billion and block policy changes that have stirred concerns that it would botch the handling of an unprecedented surge in pandemic-driven mail-in balloting.

President Donald Trump has strongly criticized the measure and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the Senate would “absolutely not pass” the stand-alone bill.

“We are concerned that some of the requirements of the Bill, while well meaning, will constrain the ability of the Postal Service to make operational changes that will improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ultimately improve service to the American people,” the Postal Service said in a statement.

Trump has alarmed Democrats by repeatedly denouncing mail-in ballots as a possible source of fraud.

Democrats, who accuse Trump of trying to discourage mail-in balloting to gain an electoral advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, have in turn cast themselves as defenders of a public that relies on the Postal Service for vital deliveries, including prescription drugs.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently suspended cost-cutting measures that have slowed deliveries in recent weeks. He told a Senate committee on Friday that the Postal Service would deliver ballots “securely and on time” in the November election but said bigger changes could come after that.

“We reiterate that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time, and will do everything necessary to meet this sacred duty,” the Postal Service statement said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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