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Rep. Jim Cooper on USPS delays harming vulnerable people relying on mail: 'Totally un-American'

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Davidson, spoke Thursday about changes happening at the United States Postal Service at the hands of the Trump administration that were slowing down mail delivery times, leaving vulnerable people with delayed checks and without medication.


Concerns surrounding the administration's actions have mounted since Louis DeJoy became postmaster general in June. DeJoy, who was a major donor to President Donald Trump's campaign, has large financial interest in the Postal Service's private competitors. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is gathering Friday in Washington, D.C., to hear DeJoy testify about disruptions at post offices. Members of the House of Representatives will meet Monday, Cooper said. 


Cooper called DeJoy a "fat cat" who "has a personal stake in hampering mail delivery." He called the postmaster general's actions "sabotage" and said DeJoy should resign. 


"It's like the fox guarding the chicken coop," he said. 

Cooper made it clear he didn't fault the average postal worker. After speaking with reporters, he met with postal workers at the Dickerson Pike post office to thank them for their work. 


He puts the blame squarely on DeJoy and the Trump administration.

"I'm totally on the side of average postal workers," Cooper said.  "They're out there delivering the mail, and it's a tough job." 

A Washington Post analysis found that reductions to the USPS resulted in Nashville and Memphis seeing up to 300,000 fewer pieces of mail per hour being sorted by workers. 


Delays are hurting people who need medicine 

Delays in mail only exacerbate problems elderly and rural citizens already face. 

Cooper expanded focus on the delays from mail-in ballots to the average Americans dealing with the headache of held up mail.


He spoke of a 30-year Tennessee National Air Guard veteran who was dealing with delayed medications and late retirement checks. Without his medicine and money, he was in a tight spot. 


"That is totally un-American," Cooper said of the delays hurting citizens. "People need answers." 


While the USPS ranks as America's favorite federal agency, it hasn't escaped problems. The postal service has seen profits tank and reported a $9 billion loss. 


Cooper said that while the postal service is seeing challenges because of the private sector and the internet, the USPS isn't required to make a profit. Its only goal should be to deliver mail to all Americans. 


"Mail service: Nothing is more American," he said. "If Congress can't stand up and support the post office, then what can we support?" 

Reach Brinley Hineman at bhineman@tennessean.com and on Twitter @brinleyhineman.




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