Amid Growing Concern Over Mail Delays, Tester Pushes Postmaster to Testify on Changes at USPS
Senator calls on DeJoy to appear before Congress, urges transparency over recent changes
As concern grows over worsening mail delays nationwide, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today is calling on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to testify before Congress and answer for changes he has made at the agency.
In a letter with several of his colleagues, Tester wrote that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is an indispensable public institution and warned DeJoy not to make any changes that could slow down mail or compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and the thousands of Montanans who rely on the mail for medicine, essential goods, and voting.
“The Postal Service is a public institution that both serves and belongs to every person in our nation,” wrote Tester and his colleagues. “As a result, we call on you to testify before Congress about all changes you have made and plan to make as Postmaster General. The lack of transparency so far regarding the intent, scope, and responsibility for changes at the Postal Service is unacceptable.”
Last Thursday, Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, and he pushed DeJoy for answers, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the election.
DeJoy’s actions at USPS have ignited controversy, raising concerns that several changes he instituted at USPS were intended to cripple the agency and slow down mail delivery for millions of Americans. DeJoy recently reorganized top leadership at USPS and has reportedly undertaken other policy changes that will lead to slower and less reliable mail delivery, including eliminating extra mail transportation trips, slashing overtime, and reducing critical mail sorting equipment at mail processing plants.
Tester and his colleagues called on DeJoy to testify before Congress to provide transparency on his actions and to answer for them before the American people. Specifically, Tester asked for more information about how DeJoy’s changes will hamper the timeliness of mail delivery, why the changes were made without analysis or consulting with stakeholders, and what steps USPS will take to suspend or halt any changes adversely affecting mail delivery during this pandemic and in advance of the upcoming election.
“As Postmaster General, you have avoided answering questions about the magnitude of delays we have seen and have not yet provided any evidence that you studied or considered how your changes would affect delays and mail service before implementing these changes,” Tester and his colleagues continued. “…Inevitably, without additional information or engagement from you or the Postal Service with stakeholders about these changes, your actions raise questions regarding your intent and whether you have adequately sought to fully understand the Postal Service’s current capabilities, personnel, and public service mission before implementing these changes.”
Tester has led the charge to ensure USPS has the support and resources it needs to perform its critical mail delivery service as communities across Montana continue dealing with the coronavirus crisis. Tester wrote two letters to DeJoy last week urging him to correct operational changes that are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to prescriptions and to reverse the agency’s decision to not automatically consider election mail First Class mail, which would increase the cost of elections for already budget strapped states and disenfranchise voters by increasing concerns they would not receive their ballot by election day or by causing them to be returned after the deadline.
He also recently introduced bipartisan legislation to provide $25 billion in emergency assistance to help the agency recoup pandemic related losses and other operational expenses, and has pushed Senate leadership to make significant emergency investments in the USPS a part of any new coronavirus aid package, as well as to provide support and protective equipment for the agency’s employees.
Tester’s letter is available HERE.