Maine farmers have blamed recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service after receiving thousands of dead baby chicks due to shipping delays. The state's postal workers blamed the slowdown on a bill championed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that “weakened the Postal Service” — and faces a tough re-election battle this fall.
At least 4,800 chicks shipped to Maine farmers through the USPS have arrived dead in recent weeks, the Portland Press Herald reported.
“It's one more of the consequences of this disorganization, this sort of chaos they've created at the post office and nobody thought through when they were thinking of slowing down the mail,” Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, told the newspaper. “This is a system that's always worked before and it's worked very well until these changes started being made.”
The super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is launching a six-figure digital ad buy in Maine, targeting Sen. Susan Collins (R) for championing a bill over a decade ago that it says pushed the Postal Service “to the brink.”
The ad from Senate Majority PAC (SMP) centers on Collins’s role in passing the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which required the Postal Service to create a $72 billion fund for its employees' post-retirement health care costs, spanning 75 years into the future. No other federal agency is subject to such a requirement.
Democrats widely blame that measure for much of the Postal Service’s current financial woes, which have emerged in recent weeks as a top concern of Democrats, who fear that a weakened Postal Service could disrupt mail-in voting in the November elections and potentially lead to scores of ballots going uncounted.
The law that Collins helped shepherd through contributed to the financial woes afflicting the Postal Service, laden with a $161 billion debt and smack in the middle of a political showdown thanks in large part to President Donald Trump’s antipathy to voting by mail.
One of the supporters of Collins’ 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, has since declared it, in an piece he wrote for Washington Monthly, “a blunder, one of the worst pieces of legislation Congress has passed in a generation.”
He didn’t blame Collins, though. He said both parties bore responsibility, though he pinned most of the blame on the GOP.
The bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush, had some good points, Pascrell admitted, but it also created a “fiendish straightjacket” that required the agency to prefund 50 years’ worth of post-retirement benefits, siphoning more than $5 billion annually from its revenues.
Former President George W. Bush on Friday backed Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in his first public endorsement of the 2020 election cycle.
Bush has largely stayed out of the political fray since he left the White House in 2009, and his endorsement is a welcome boost for Collins, who is waging her most difficult campaign yet as she seeks a fifth term. The centrist senator has become a top target for Democrats, who cast her as an enabler of President Donald Trump’s agenda, even though she said she votes against him more than any other GOP senator and distances herself from his more controversial statements and policies.
“She’s honest. She’s forthright. She brings dignity into a world that has gotten really ugly. The political world is uglier than I can ever remember it,” Bush said after he and his wife, Laura, had lunch with Collins at the family’s summer home overlooking the ocean. Bush called her “smart and capable,” “very influential” and “pretty darned independent.”
She spoke Tuesday alongside postal workers, addressing concerns about delays in deliveries and mail-in ballots for the November election.
Gideon said the Postal Service is more important than ever to keep people safe during the pandemic. She also said the USPS will likely see the largest amount of mail-in voting in history.
The Postal Service has warned 46 states, including Maine, that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.
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