Critics of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy were hoping that today would be the beginning of the end for the Trump appointed postal service devil, as Senate confirmation hearings for three potential board members begin.
But even if Biden’s picks are approved by the Senate, insiders suspect the board is unlikely to have enough votes to oust DeJoy, in part because its chairman — Ron Bloom, a Trump-appointed Democrat — has recently expressed strong support for DeJoy.
Despite a controversial 10-year plan that would cut costs and lengthen delivery times, Bloom said, “Right now, I think [DeJoy] is the proper man for the job. He’s earned my support, and he will have it until he doesn’t. And I have no particular reason to believe he will lose it.” A former Obama administration official, Bloom has actively taken a role selling DeJoy’s plan.
Confirmations begin today for Biden’s choices to fill the board’s three vacant seats: Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general; Amber McReynolds, a mail voting advocate; and Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union. Two of the nominees are Democrats, and one is an Independent.
Their confirmation would give the governing board a majority of Democrats to unseat DeJoy, but Bloom could cause the problem.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., has requested that Biden remove all six current members — including Bloom and the board’s other Trump-appointed Democrat, Lee Moak — and nominate an entirely new slate of governors.
While presidents do not have the power to remove the postmaster, they do have the ability to remove members of the board — but only “for cause.”
“If the administration thinks there are things in the 10-year plan that constitute ’cause,’ then maybe there is an argument. But I think such a move would meet with strong resistance,” said Michael Plunkett, the president of PostCom, an alliance of postal consumers.
Democrats hope Biden’s nominees, if confirmed, could at minimum change the way the board conducts its business and increase transparency with Congress, mailing industry officials and the public.
Biden, when he was on the campaign trail, once derided DeJoy as “the president’s guy” — and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in February that Biden “believes the leadership can do better, and we are eager to have the board of governors in place.” But nearly 100 days into his tenure as president, Biden has yet to publicly support calls for DeJoy’s removal.