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Postmaster General Suspends Controversial Changes As SoCal Democratic Leaders Blast USPS

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – As Democratic politicians in Southern California were speaking out against the contentious moves taking place at the financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service, the Postmaster General came out and announced Tuesday that the cost-cutting service measures would be halted until after the election in order to avoid even the appearance of any perceived bias.

Protesters outside a U.S. Post Office in Venice, Calif. Aug. 17, 2020. (CBSLA)

In a statement Tuesday, seemingly in response to the controversy, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that he would be suspending the cost-cutting measures until after the election.

"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy wrote in part.

"We will deliver the nation's election mail on time and within our well-established service standards," DeJoy wrote. "The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra meanwhile also announced Tuesday that his office is joining a multistate lawsuit against President Trump's administration over what he called the president's "de facto attack on a free and fair election."

Rallies were also being held in Pasadena, Burbank and Newport Beach throughout the day. On Tuesday morning, U.S. Rep. Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) met with postal workers in Orange County to discuss the issue.

Correa got together with workers at the USPS Regional Distribution Center in Santa Ana, then held a second event in Tustin.

"Vote-by-mail has become a very important part of our democracy, so we have to make sure -- that given all the election challenges that we have -- we have to make sure the post office is up and running and is able to deliver on democracy on time," Correa said.

The criticism is in response to proposed changes at USPS such as removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines, which Democrats claim are an attempt by the White House to undermine the November General Election as states are being forced to expand mail-in voting due to the coronavirus.

President Donald Trump has also threatened to withhold funding for USPS.

In Newport Beach on Tuesday, Orange County Congressman Harley Rouda (D-Newport Beach) said he will vote Saturday on a bill to restore postal operations and provide billions in pandemic relief funds.

"Will DeJoy do what he is required to do under law? I'm concerned," he said. "We have seen the President and administration time after time after time say one thing and do another."

On Monday, California Reps. Maxine Waters, Jimmy Gomez and Nanette Barragán held a news conference on the issue outside a post office in downtown L.A.

A person takes a photo outside a United States Postal Service post office in Los Angeles, California, August 17, 2020. - The United States Postal Service is popularly known for delivering mail despite snow, rain or heat, but it faces a new foe in President Donald Trump. Ahead of the November 3 elections in which millions of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail due to the coronavirus, Trump has leveled an unprecedented attack at the USPS, opposing efforts to give the cash-strapped agency more money as part of a big new virus-related stimulus package, even as changes there have caused delays in mail delivery. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

"It is unconscionable that this president would ignore what USPS means to our lives by attacking the institution's legitimacy while attempting to dismantle the agency in order to rig the election and stop vote by mail," Waters said.

RELATED: Residents Throughout SoCal Report Increase In Package Delays From USPS

Activists also held a demonstration Monday outside a USPS office on Grand Boulevard in Venice to protest the changes.

DeJoy, a major Republican donor, has also agreed to testify before lawmakers next Monday on the cost-cutting measures. USPS has already warned 46 states, including California, that thousands of ballots may not be counted because they may not be processed quickly enough.

Over the weekend, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would be calling House members back into session to vote on a bill meant to stop the changes.

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