Schumer, Pelosi call on postmaster general to reverse postal service changes

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Thursday to ask him to reverse recent operational changes made in the Postal Service. Pelosi and Schumer met with DeJoy on Wednesday, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in what Schumer later described as a “heated” meeting.

Pelosi and Schumer said in their letter that they confronted DeJoy Wednesday over “reports of a dramatic increase in delayed and undelivered mail impacting mail delivery times and quality of service.” They wrote that DeJoy had confirmed that the Postal Service had instituted the changes in June, soon after he became postmaster general.

“These changes include reductions of overtime availability, restrictions on extra mail transportation trips, testing of new mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of Post Offices, and the reduction of the number and use of processing equipment at mail processing plants,” the two Democratic leaders wrote.

“We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail—including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters—that is essential to millions of Americans.” the letter continued, referring to challenges wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. “While it is true that the Postal Service has and continues to face financial challenges, enacting these policies as cost-cutting or efficiency measures as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues is counterproductive and unacceptable.”

Pelosi and Schumer said DeJoy had “committed to being more forthcoming and transparent with Congress and the American people regarding these changes” in their meeting on Wednesday. They asked him to live up to that commitment and to submit any analysis of the “possible impact of operational changes on mail delivery you conducted prior to implementing them, including the impacts on speed of delivery and quality of service.”

On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee requested that DeJoy appear before the Democrat-led panel to discuss the changes causing delivery delays. The committee plans to hold the hearing with DeJoy on September 17. 

A businessman from North Carolina, DeJoy has been a major donor to President Trump and Republican causes in recent years, leading some Democrats to raise concerns about the possibility the Postal Service is being politicized.

Pelosi and Schumer’s letter also comes as the two have been negotiating with Mnuchin and Meadows over the next coronavirus relief package.

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