Postmaster General and Trump donor Louis DeJoy faced members of the Senate and attempted to reassure them that the USPS would be able to deliver election mail “securely and on time.”
DeJoy said that suggestions that political motivations to have a negative impact on the election process through the postal service were “outrageous.”
DeJoy said that the ability for the USPS to continue its mandated reliable service to the public was at risk, and called on Congress to provide the agency with relief. He pointed to the coronavirus pandemic as another reason for delays in the mail delivery, saying employee availability has decreased about 4% across the nation.
When asked about the removal of mail boxes and other equipment, DeJoy explained the work is routine, but with the “excitement” it has generated decided to delay further routine removals until after the election.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said that he had heard heartbreaking stories about veterans not receiving their medications on time. Portman described a constituent who ordered an inhaler through the mail, but it was delayed getting to him before his prescription ran out. His insurance company denied sending another prescription because the refill had already been shipped through the USPS.
DeJoy responded that the agency was working “feverishly” to improve their efficiency, adding that he “felt bad” about it.
The transformative “overhaul” of the USPS reportedly included ending overtime and removing mail sorting machines.
“Mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed,” said Kimberly Karol, president of the Iowa Postal Workers Union, in an NPR interview last week. “So we are beginning to see the impact of those changes.”
DeJoy says he cannot commit to public transparency by providing an analysis used to make decisions and changes.
Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who convened Friday’s hearing, said “I have no doubt the Democrats are ginning these issues and these problems up into something that’s it’s not … it’s a false narrative designed to extract an advantage.”