USPS Chief Putting Changes on Ice Until After Election

'To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2020 12:44 PM CDT
Updated Aug 18, 2020 1:15 PM CDT
2 Hearings Loom for USPS Chief
In this Aug. 5, 2020, file photo Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, left, is escorted to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The recent USPS cost-cutting moves that had rankled critics will be put on ice until after the election, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced in a Tuesday statement. The Washington Post outlines what some of those changes were: cuts to overtime, service reductions, and mail-sorting machines brought offline in the name of cutting costs. His key line, and more:

  • "There are some longstanding operational initiatives—efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service—that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

  • What the AP terms as an "abrupt reversal" came after at least 20 Democratic state attorneys general announced plans to sue DeJoy, the USPS, and President Trump in an effort to halt the changes. Per the Washington Post, they planned to argue that the Postal Regulatory Commission needs to grant approval of such changes and was not consulted, and that the changes would prevent states from being able to conduct free and fair elections.
  • The move also followed confirmation that DeJoy would appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday and the House Oversight and Reform Committee this coming Monday.
  • Homeland Security Chair Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, expressed to CNN that he was pleased DeJoy would be able to discuss the USPS' financial situation and the implications of that before appearing in front of a "hostile House committee determined to conduct a show trial." Indeed, Politico expects a "tense" hearing on Monday. DeJoy, who assumed the post in June, had framed the operational changes as necessary cost-saving moves, while critics saw them as an intentional effort to interfere with mail-in voting.
  • The Post reports that in his questioning, Johnson is expected to grill DeJoy on whether the USPS really needs the $25 billion in emergency funding that the House wants to direct its way.
(More USPS stories.)

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