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Yarmuth Amendment to Protect Voting Rights of Troops Serving Abroad Defeated in Committee

(Washington, DC)  Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) offered an amendment to protect funding provided to the United States Postal Service for the delivery of ballots to American troops and military families currently serving overseas. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated in Committee along party lines, 17 to 23.

Moments ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee completed the mark-up of H.R. 2309, Republican-authored legislation to reform the U.S. Postal Service. Among the many reckless provisions of this bill is a repeal of current law that authorizes the reimbursement to the Postal Service for public service costs – including the delivery of overseas military balloting.

“Stripping funding for the delivery of ballots to our troops overseas sends a message to the men and women of our armed forces that we are not concerned about their ability to participate in the democracy they sacrifice every day to protect,” said Congressman Yarmuth.

H.R. 2309 maintains the authorization to reimburse the Postal Service for the loss in revenue for providing free mail delivery from members of the Armed Forces on duty in combat areas. However, it eliminates the long-standing reimbursement to the Postal Service for the costs of implementing the requirements of the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 1986, which directs the Postal Service to carry balloting materials “expeditiously and free of charge.”

Yarmuth’s amendment would have halted this dramatic change and ensured that the Postal Service would continue to be reimbursed for the costs of delivering ballots to and from active duty service members.

The defeat of the Yarmuth Amendment now creates an unfunded mandate for the cash-strapped Postal Service.

H.R. 2309 was approved by the Committee and is likely to advance to the House floor soon.