DeJoy Faces House Democrats In Hearing Over USPS Changes
“We cannot have the specter of a disrupted election — an election that doesn’t count all votes — hovering over the election season.”
Donning a blue US Postal Service mask, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy faced House Democrats in a hearing over USPS changes. Under DeJoy’s leadership, the postal service began dismantling and removing bulk mail sorting machines. The decision has begun to incite protests — some even outside DeJoy’s home — calling for the restoration of machines, DeJoy’s firing or resignation, and charges to be filed.
In addition to sorting machines, drop boxes have also continued to be removed under DeJoy’s leadership. According to a 2016 blog post by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, boxes are removed periodically from time-to-time as needs change. In his sworn testimony, DeJoy said he was “unaware” of the removals, but was adamant he would not bring them back, CNN reported.
Democrats in particular are enraged DeJoy decided to undertake a massive overhaul of USPS so soon before the 2020 general election. He defended it, however, as a cost-saving measure that would affect the company’s bottom line, but not the delivery of mail-in ballots, CNN reported.
“There are many inaccuracies about my actions that I wish to again correct,” DeJoy said. “First, I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment. Second, I did not direct the cutback on hours at any of our postal offices, and finally I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime. I did, however, suspend these practices to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation’s election mail.”
Porter Grills, But Gets No Meat from DeJoy’s Answers
When asked by Rep. Katie Porter D–Cali., who, if not Postmaster DeJoy, orchestrated the changes, DeJoy answered, “I don’t know.”
He refused to specifically take responsibility for the changes, claiming he “Took responsibility from the first day onwards.” Removal of the postal sorting machines and drop boxes did not begin until he assumed the mantle on June 16. There is no evidence his predecessor, Megan Brennan, issued instructions prior to her retirement on June 15.
Furthermore, when Porter asked DeJoy to reverse the changes, he said he would not, simply answering “No.” He also declined to resign and said if the USPS inspector general determines DeJoy acted inappropriately, he would not resign.
“I don’t think he will find anything,” DeJoy said.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee also asked DeJoy to tell them the USPS charter. He could not answer the question. He also could not answer questions on rates beyond the cost of a stamp.
On the other side of the aisle, Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx of Virginia confessed her household has experienced some problems with the post, but declined to elaborate. Instead, she praised DeJoy for being accountable.
“You know, my husband and I have experienced some very, very inefficient services on the part of the post office in the last few weeks, and I’m not going to go into those details, but I want to applaud your approach to accountability,” Foxx said, “and what we know from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is they run away from accountability in every case in the federal government or in allied services like the post office, so let me applaud you for pushing on accountability.”
Committee Alludes To Other Concerns
DeJoy and Republicans have cast the changes as necessary to ensure USPS is solvent and the postmaster attempted to reassure legislators ballot delivery will not be affected, CNN reported.
“We will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied responsible.”
DeJoy, a Republican donor, maintained that he stays independent in the workplace, but did admit to communication with Trump associations since implementing the post changes.
“I have not spoken to Trump campaign leadership in that regard,” DeJoy said. “I have spoken to people that are friends of mine that are associated with the campaign, yes.”
Rep. Jim Cooper, D–Tenn, asked DeJoy if he is preparing “to be pardoned like Roger Stone.” Facing House Democrats, postmaster said he had “no comment on that. It’s not worth it.”
To be clear, although lawsuits have already been filed against the Trump administration over changes to USPS, DeJoy himself has not been indicted or investigated for crimes. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D–N.Y., announced USPS will begin an internal investigation, CNN reported.
Board of Governors Will Investigate
A three-member panel formed by two Democrat- and one Republican-appointed USPS Board of Governors members will deliver a report two weeks. The primary focus of the investigation will be to ascertain how postal services can be guaranteed, such as mail-in ballots.
“We cannot have the specter of a disrupted election — an election that doesn’t count all votes — hovering over the election season,” Schumer said. “The whole targeting of the post office right before the election had a real odor of political involvement and trying to jeopardize and jaundice our elections. And the fact that so many swing states were involved in the targeting is all the more reason to believe that and worry about it.”
President Says No Money Needed
A common GOP criticism is that USPS is not financially stable, hence one of the arguments DeJoy offered for removing sorting machines and drop boxes. To that end, the House of Representatives passed a bill containing $25 billion in emergency funding on Saturday. The 257-150 vote included 26 Republican votes, CNN reported.
In a reversal from the traditional Republican stance that USPS is in dire financial shape, President Donald Trump tweeted that it is fine and the money is unneeded and reiterated that voting-by mail is a scam — but absentee ballots, also filed via USPS, are “acceptable.”
“Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes. This is all another HOAX by the Democrats to give 25 Billion unneeded dollars for political purposes, without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam….,” Trump tweeted. “….that they are trying to pull off in violation of everything that our Country stands for. Vote NO to the Pelosi/ Schumer money wasting HOAX which is taking place now. Then fight the $51 million unasked for Ballots. Only ABSENTEE BALLOTS are acceptable!”