Amid Reports of Further Changes at Montana Post Offices, Tester Pushes for Answers on Reversal

Presses DeJoy on machines reportedly removed from Billings, Missoula and Great Falls

U.S Senator Jon Tester fired off another letter today pushing for answers after reports indicated U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is removing mail sorting machines from U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities across Montana, breaking his promise yesterday to halt any further changes at USPS until after the November election.

“I write today regarding reports that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is removing mail sorting machines from several locations around Montana,” Tester wrote. “If true, this would call into question the announcement you made yesterday that no changes would be made until after the election. Montanans deserve answers to the following from you immediately.”

Tester went on to press DeJoy on the following questions:

  • “Is it true that these machines were recently removed from Billings, Missoula and Great Falls?
  • If so, please provide locations and the rationale for removing the machines. If any of these machines are being removed and replaced, what dates can we expect the new equipment to arrive in each instance?
  • How does removing equipment improve services currently offered by the USPS?

“Montanans rely on dependable, timely mail service to pay their bills, receive prescription drugs, and vote,” Tester continued. “Delaying this essential service is unacceptable. I look forward to your response.”

Tester has led the charge to hold DeJoy accountable after USPS undertook reorganization actions that threaten to undermine the agency and concerns the changes are intended to cripple the agency and slow down mail delivery for millions of Americans. On Tuesday, Tester announced legislation that would prevent USPS from removing any further mail collection boxes, force the agency to reinstate the boxes that were removed, and require DeJoy to submit a report to Congress explaining why collection boxes were removed in the first place.

On Monday, Tester called on DeJoy to appear before Congress to answer for the changes, and last Thursday Tester blew the whistle on USPS for removing dozens of mail collection boxes from towns across Montana, leading USPS to pause its removal of collection boxes nationwide until after the election.

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.