Postmaster General Louis DeJoy underwent questioning on Wednesday in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding the continued delay in mail delivery services across the United States.
A large majority of the hearing will also focus on the future of the United States Postal Service (USPS), which for years has saddled to perform under the strains of financial troubles. According to PBS NewsHour, “the USPS has lost $69 billion over the past 11 fiscal years—including $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018.” Due to the increasing reliance on technology through email and social media, the postal service has waned in keeping up with the competition.
“I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays,” DeJoy said on Wednesday. “All of us at the Postal Service, from our Board, to our leadership team, to our union and association leadership, to every employee strive to do better in our service to the American people — and we will do better.”
Over 90 Democrats want Dejoy ousted from his position and urge President Joe Biden to nominate appointees to the governing board. Currently, there are four openings (including one temporary slot) on the board, while the remaining nine members make up a conservative majority. Of the six members who sit on the board, all are white and male. If the seats were filled, the board could move to vote on a Postmaster General replacement.
DeJoy, a late Trump-era appointee and former GOP fundraiser, remains the subject of criticism stemming from a lengthy decline in services which snowballed at the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The implementation of DeJoy’s policies in the summer of 2020 caused delays at the height of primary and general election season, where voter suppression around mail-in ballots emerged as a leading topic. Disturbing reports emerged accusing the agency of randomly removing mailboxes, slashed budgets, and reduced overtime work hours for overworked employees. DeJoy appeared before Congress last summer regarding the disturbing accusations.
Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, House oversight committee member Cori Bush vowed she would bring the same “energy” she conjured up during last summer’s protests around the USPS.
Bush directed questions to the Board of Governors around the lack of diversity among the group and stated the board “should have representation at the top reflective” of the current population.
Watchdog groups are already dissecting parts of DeJoy’s testimony for accuracy.
In addition to discussing USPS’s finances DeJoy laid out his proposal for the USPS, after criticism from lawmakers who say DeJoy remains unclear on what a path forward for the government agency looks like.
On Tuesday the USPS unveiled it would invest $428 million to replace current vehicles with 165,000 electric delivery trucks over the next 10 years.
According to The Washington Post Dejoy also “plans to eliminate a tier of first-class mail — letters, bills and other envelope-sized correspondence sent to a local address — designated for delivery in two days. Instead, all first-class mail would be lumped into the same three- to five-day window, the current benchmark for nonlocal mail.”
Click below for a live look at the hearing: