Congressional Republicans are in no rush to fix the Postal Service
No Republicans joined 80 House Democrats who called on President Joe Biden to fix the U.S. Postal Service.
Eighty Democratic members of the House of Representatives signed on to a letter sent to President Joe Biden on Tuesday urging immediate action to fix the “ongoing crisis at the United States Postal Service.” No Republicans signed the letter.
While Biden has replaced most of Donald Trump’s executive branch appointees, the Postal Service presents an unusual situation. Trump’s appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major campaign donor whose policy changes significantly slowed the agency’s delivery times, answers only to a board of independent governors.
Most of the members of the agency’s board of governor are appointed for a fixed term by the president — subject to Senate confirmation — and can be removed only for cause.
Lawmakers have urged Biden to fire the entire board, calling them complicit in what Democratic leaders called DeJoy’s efforts to sabotage the agency.
Last week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) wrote in a letter to Biden,
Shortly after taking office, Mr. DeJoy implemented and accelerated flawed and harmful, system wide operational changes that included gutting overtime pay, reducing hours of operations for facilities and removing community mail drop boxes. On the ground and in our communities, these incoherent and hastily rolled-out policy changes immediately led to widespread delivery delays and system-wide mail and parcel backlogs. Such bottlenecks put individuals like Veterans and older adults at risk of not receiving their lifesaving prescriptions on time; families at risk of missing their paychecks, utility bills, credit-card payments and court notices and hard-hit small businesses at risk of not receiving critical supplies for their customers on-time.
While Postmaster General DeJoy rushed to implement these changes, he did so with little – if any – public rebuke from the current USPS Board of Governors. There must be accountability for this failure in leadership, and that is why I am requesting that you use your authority under 39 U.S.C. § 202 to immediately replace the entire USPS Board of Governors.
But the 80 Democratic lawmakers who signed the letter sent on Tuesday suggested Biden use another route to fixing the troubled postal system: quick appointments to already vacant seats.
As a result of the Trump Administration’s failure to fully fill the board, three of those nine seats remain vacant. We strongly believe that filling those three vacancies would enhance the ability of the Board to reach nonpartisan consensus on matters of importance.
Filling the vacant seats on the Postal Service’s Board of Governors with strong, passionate advocates for the institution will allow it to function in a nonpartisan manner, and will allow the Board to seriously consider whether the current Postmaster General is suitable to continue in his role.
A fourth member of the board is serving after a term expired and could also be replaced by Biden.
But while Americans face slowed delivery, including of essential supplies like prescription drugs, congressional Republicans have criticized Democrats for holding DeJoy to account for months.
DeJoy publicly apologized on Feb. 9 for falling “far short of meeting our service targets,” but did not take responsibility for his own actions. The board, which still has a Republican majority, has refused to remove him.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that Biden “stands by his concerns about what happened last fall and improvements he’d like to see at the Post Office.”
Spokespeople for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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