Postmaster General DeJoy denies hobbling mail services in congressional hearing opening statements

U.S. Postmaster General DeJoy and USPS Board of Governors President Duncan testify at House Oversight Committee hearing on slowdowns at Postal Service on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on slowdowns at the Postal Service ahead of the November elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, August 24, 2020. (REUTERS/Tom Brenner/Pool)

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sat through a congressional grilling session Monday morning, denying all claims that he had ordered the removal of mail collection boxes and up to 700 sorting machines nationwide in an effort stall mail delivery ahead of the November election.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Oversight Committee, pointed out that the delays and dysfunctions in the U.S. Postal Service were not due to the COVID-19 pandemic but could have been because of the influence of President Donald Trump who said on national television that he did not support mail-in voting over suspicions of widespread fraud. 

Maloney’s opening statement played off a subpoenaed internal USPS memo entitled “PMG Briefing,” dated Aug. 12, that warned DeJoy of delays that could take place due to the reforms implemented under his leadership.

“This document shows that these delays are not a myth or conspiracy theory, as some of my colleagues argue.  These steep declines did not start in April or May with the coronavirus crisis, but in July when Mr. DeJoy came on board and began making his changes.  Our entire country is experiencing these delays as a result of Mr. DeJoy’s actions, such as his decision to restrict the number of trips from processing plants to delivery units,” Maloney said. “Or, perhaps there is a far simpler explanation.  Perhaps Mr. DeJoy is just doing exactly what President Trump said he wanted on national television—using the blocking of funds to justify sweeping changes to hobble mail-in voting.”

DeJoy also denied cutbacks in overtime and additional transportation for deliveries, stating that he did ultimately reverse these actions once a report from the USPS Inspector General that outlined wasteful transportation spending and logistical inefficiencies.

“Let me describe the two actions I have taken in the 70 days since my appointment.” DeJoy said. “Upon review I directed the postal service operations team to develop and execute on a plan to improve our adherence to the transportation schedule of our over 40,000 trips a day. We have accomplished this goal as our on-time departures are approaching 98% and wasteful extra trips are down by over 70%. While we had a temporary service decline which should not have happened, we are fixing this. In fact, last week, service improved along all major mail and package categories and I am laser focused on improving service for the American Public.”

The rift between Democrats and Republicans was strong with GOP representatives railing against liberal counterparts for alleged attempts to smear DeJoy who North Carolina Congressman Mark Walker described as a logistical “genius.” DeJoy himself told the committee that Democrats and “the media” were selling a false narrative on his integrity.