House Oversight chair slams postmaster general for 'plummeting' mail service

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'This is just a disaster for the people who need their mail.'

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, took Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to task during a hearing on Monday for his failed first months in charge of the United States Postal Service and his lack of transparency.

Maloney asked DeJoy about delays in mail service resulting from changes he has made to the Postal Service since Donald Trump installed him at its helm early May, delays that Maloney called "a disaster for the people who need their mail."

Maloney cited service performance measurements from an internal  Postal Service document, noting "major degradations across the board beginning in July, when you started your changes."

Millions of Americans rely on the service for the delivery of basic necessities; in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the service is also vital to conducting safe elections leading up to and in November.

Republicans have long likened the struggling Postal Service, an independent government agency, to a failing business and opposed efforts to provide it with needed funding. Maloney used the metaphor in questioning DeJoy.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney: So, Mr. DeJoy, you and your aides have repeatedly downplayed these delays. You just downplayed it in your testimony. But this is just a disaster for the people who need their mail. Don't you agree? Would you turn on your mic? We can't hear you. Thank you.

 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy: We are very concerned with the deterioration in service, and are working very diligently. In fact, we are seeing a big recovery this week, and in fact that report — I requested that report be put together. Oddly enough we didn't have measurement briefings at the executive level like this before my arrival, where the whole executive team was involved in looking at what the underlying circumstances were, and we're focused on fixing it. We've seen, we're starting to see a nice recovery, and we will have it back to — my goal is to get it to a higher — we were not meeting metrics before. With this change, this fundamental change, we have a real good shot at getting to the stated metrics that we are supposedly governed by.

 

Maloney: Well, you just testified that you've been on the job 70 days. So this is essentially your report card for that period of time. If any other CEO had this kind of plummeting record in his first two months on the job, I can't imagine why he would be kept on.

 

DeJoy: That's an unfair accusation.

 

Maloney: May I continue? When you testified on Friday, senators asked you over and over about the status of these delays. They also asked you to produce analysis about the negative impacts of your changes. It would've been easy to mention to the senators that this document existed. You could've said, 'As a matter fact, Senator, I just received a detailed briefing and, unfortunately, the data shows major delays in nearly all categories.' But you didn't do that. You dismissed these nationwide delays as "a dip" and you refused to turn over any analysis. So my question is: Why didn't you disclose this document and any analysis to the Senate when you had it and they were asking for it?

 

DeJoy: They asked me for it on Friday. They asked me for an analysis on my decision.

 

Maloney: But the delays? The delays? I watched the testimony. They wanted analysis. Why all these delays?

 

DeJoy: There's a lot of reasons for delays besides just the action that I took to run your trucks on time. There were other reasons for the delays in the nation.

Maloney then warned DeJoy that if he does not provide her committee with the requested documents by this coming Wednesday, he should "expect a subpoena."

A $25 billion House bill to restore postal service passed on Saturday with all 231 Democrats present and 26 Republicans voting yes. With GOP leaders actively pressuring their caucus to vote against the bill, 149 Republicans voted no.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly dismissed the "piecemeal" proposal and vowed that his chamber will "absolutely not pass stand-alone legislation for the Postal Service."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.