House panel calls new postal chief to explain mail delays

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Elon University

FILE - In this March 1, 2017, file photo, then Elon Trustee Louis DeJoy is honored with Elon's Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership in Elon. N.C. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and union officials say the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing post offices across the country, sparking worries ahead the anticipated surge of mail-in ballots in the 2020 elections. Manchin on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 said he has received numerous reports from post offices and colleagues about service cuts or looming closures in West Virginia and elsewhere, prompting him to send a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking for an explanation. (Kim Walker/Elon University via AP, File)

WASHINGTON – The House Oversight Committee has invited the new postmaster general to appear at a September hearing to examine operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that are causing delays in mail deliveries across the country.

The plan imposed by Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser who took over the top job at the Postal Service in June, eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and orders that mail be kept until the next day if postal distribution centers are running late.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the Oversight panel, said the Sept. 17 hearing will focus on “the need for on-time mail delivery during the ongoing pandemic and upcoming election,” which is expected to include a major expansion of mail-in ballots.

President Donald Trump has warned that allowing more people to vote by mail will result in a “CORRUPT ELECTION” that will “LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY,” even though there’s no evidence that will happen. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other top administration officials frequently vote absentee themselves.

Last week, Trump even floated on Twitter the prospect of delaying the Nov. 3 election — an idea lawmakers from both parties quickly shot down.

Trump said Monday that the cash-strapped Postal Service is ill-equipped to add the expected influx of mail-in ballots to its responsibility to deliver mail and packages from the boom in internet shopping.

“I don't think the post office is prepared for a thing like this,” Trump said at the White House.

Trump also has called the Postal Service “a joke” and said package shipping rates should be at least four times higher for heavy users like Amazon. But shipping and packages are actually a top revenue generator for the Postal Service, and critics say Trump is merely looking to punish Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in retaliation for unflattering coverage in The Washington Post, which Bezos owns.