Schleifer Calls On Trump To Reverse His Pledge To Force Westchester and Rockland Residents To Pay Higher Fees at Local Post Offices

Schleifer Unveils His Plan to Strengthen a Public USPS with Basic Banking Powers, Allowing Millions of NYers to Cash their Stimulus Checks

Schleifer Warns that COVID-19 Fears Led to 30% Decrease in USPS Volume, While 70 Million Americans Wait on Stimulus Checks and, in Many States, Turn to Pawn Shops and Payday Lenders

Schleifer: “Trump’s Mail Tax Is No Laughing Matter.”

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, urged President Trump to reverse his pledge that any COVID-related relief funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) would be contingent on higher fees for residents and businesses in Rockland and Westchester Counties who send mail through the USPS. President Donald Trump declared Friday that he would not approve any bailout for the USPS unless it significantly increases its prices. Schleifer argued that Trump was wrong to call USPS “a joke” on Friday. The USPS has warned of its serious financial distress, but with the U.S. economy stalled during the COVID crisis, USPS reported a 30 percent decrease in volume. The service has requested $75 billion in cash, loans and grants to remain solvent. In response, Schleifer unveiled his plan to introduce legislation in the next Congress to embolden the USPS with the power to conduct basic financial services.

“Trump must immediately reverse course on his pledge to impose a ‘mail tax’ on Westchester and Rockland residents and businesses who use the U.S. Postal Service,” said Schleifer. Trump must not make federal relief to save the Postal Service during this pandemic contingent on higher postal fees for Americans. Trump was out of line to call the U.S. Postal service a ‘joke.’ The 500,000 postal workers and the millions of Americans who use the mail are not laughing. Trump wants to send Americans a higher bill in order to send letters and packages to loved ones and keep their businesses afloat. Trump will further burden state and local governments as they look to institute absentee voting. Instead of trying to destroy or privatize USPS, we must save and strengthen it.”

As part of this declaration, Schleifer unveiled his plan to not only oppose Trump’s attempts to privatize USPS, but to strengthen a public Postal Service with basic banking powers. Schleifer noted that USPS used to take deposits from clients until 1966 and, in 1947, had nearly $3.4 billion in deposits. USPS became a popular deposit home for people who didn’t have confidence in banks in the early 20th century. Schleifer notes that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated for the USPS to have banking powers when she won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. His plan would allow USPS to offer basic financial services, including cashing checks and giving USPS more flexibility in choosing what services it provides in order to grow as a stronger public entity, rather than wither and die under Trump’s call for a mail tax.

Further exemplifying the need for expanded financial service offerings through the USPS, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand notes in a recent op-ed in the New York Times that “millions of Americans without a bank account or those forced to use predatory financial products like payday lenders.” Throughout his career, Adam has stood up to this predatory practice as a consumer financial regulator, successfully holding payday lenders accountable. In Congress, Adam will not be afraid to continue this fight to bring expanded financial options to the American public, so they are not penalized for their income or location and afforded every opportunity possible.

Schleifer notes that USPS is a national treasure, which is why his plan calls for a vibrant, public Postal Service that offers universal service, and reject any effort to privatize or marginalize it. Schleifer says that if elected to Congress, he would vote to give USPS basic banking powers to take deposits, the ability to provide small-dollar loans, and “services relating to international money transfers.”

Schleifer warned that Trump’s mail tax would arrive at the same time millions of Americans are waiting on their stimulus check. This could lead more hardworking people to use payday lenders for immediate cash. In 2015, Schleifer took on payday lending giant MoneyMutual as a consumer protection regulator under Governor Cuomo. Up until 2013, New York state law made it illegal for payday lenders to charge more than 25 percent interest on a loan. 

However, payday lenders skirted this law by giving out loans online or over the phone with interest rates well above the 25 percent cap, sometimes as high as 1000 percent. In 2013, Governor Cuomo and financial services Superintendent Ben Lawsky issued a cease and desist letter to 35 online companies ordering them to stop issuing illegal payday loans to New Yorkers immediately. They also declared that existing loans were void and unenforceable, and lenders were prohibited from collecting on any outstanding debt. Licensed payday lenders are still permitted to grant loans with interest, but rates must not exceed 25 percent.

On Friday, Trump said that “If [USPS doesn’t] raise the price, I’m not signing anything.” Schleifer noted that over 40 postal workers have died performing their jobs during the COVID pandemic and raising prices and further threatening the survival of the USPS would hurt consumers, businesses, and communities in Westchester and Rockland.” Schleifer notes that Trump is essential imposing a tax to use the regular mail. Schleifer vows to never let the post office system fail.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

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