DeJoy says he’s suspending post office overhaul until after the election
WASHINGTON — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he will halt a series of sweeping policy changes to the U.S. Postal Service until after the general elections this fall.
DeJoy said he will not change overtime rules, retail hours at local post offices, or the location of mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes, nor will he close any existing mail processing facilities.
He also said the agency will use “standby” resources as of Oct. 1 to meet a possible surge in mail due to the elections.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said in a statement. He said the agency is “ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall.”
The announcement came hours after a Senate oversight panel announced DeJoy will testify Friday in a hearing on policy changes to the agency that critics said could jeopardize the integrity of the fall elections, the day before the House plans a rare weekend vote on Postal Service legislation.
The Senate panel’s chairman, Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, had been under intense pressure from Democrats to convene a hearing of his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to examine reports of delays and other widespread problems at the Postal Service.
DeJoy, who took the job in June, has come under fire in recent months for changes to overtime and delivery policies, which critics said could disenfranchise voters and threaten Americans’ health and finances.
The agency also reportedly planned to remove hundreds of mail-sorting machines at facilities across the country, according to CNN.
DeJoy will testify Friday about post office financing and operations during the pandemic and in preparation for the November elections. He has said changes are needed to operate within a constrained budget, but he has privately acknowledged that they have “unintended consequences,” according to CNBC.
On Saturday, the U.S. House will convene and vote on a measure providing $25 billion in postal service funding, according to Politico, and barring the agency from changing operations or service levels in place at the beginning of the year. And on Monday, DeJoy is slated to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, led by Democrats. Robert Duncan, chair of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, also will testify.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a Tuesday afternoon POLITICO event that the revised bill text will be released later in the day, according to Roll Call.
The agency is expected to play a larger role than usual in this fall’s elections, as millions of Americans plan to cast their ballots by mail as the pandemic rages on.
“The American people want their mail, medicines, and mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way, and they certainly do not want drastic changes and delays in the midst of a global pandemic just months before the election,” Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the House oversight panel, said in a statement.
Maloney and other congressional leaders have also requested key documents and information about the matter be delivered by Friday.
DeJoy, of North Carolina, a top donor to President Donald Trump, has proven to be a “complicit crony,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Sunday in a letter to her House colleagues. Read more