WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Thursday of deliberately slowing mail delivery to suppress votes in the presidential election.
The caucus held a virtual hearing ahead of DeJoy’s testimony before a Senate committee Friday, following changes to U.S. Postal Service operations like the removal of sorting machines and reductions in overtime pay.
“These attacks represent an unconscionable, deliberate sabotage on the Postal Service,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA.
DeJoy has defended his recent actions as needed cost-cutting measures but said he will suspend them until after the election. However, Mark Dimondstein, the president of the American Postal Workers Union, remains skeptical.
“Maybe a welcome small step forward if his words do become deeds,” Dimondstein told the caucus.
David Williams, the former USPS inspector general, said the recent attacks are an example of why he resigned from the USPS Board of Governors in April.
“It became clear to me that the administration was politicizing the Postal Service,” Williams said.
Williams told lawmakers Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin required members of the independent board to “kiss the ring” before they were confirmed and issued “illegal” demands. Williams said he raised concerns about DeJoy before his hiring in June.
Republicans have also accused Democrats of politicizing the Postal Service.
Between congressional hearings with DeJoy, the House will vote Saturday on a bill to give the USPS $25 billion in emergency funding and require same-day processing of mail-in ballots.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-TN. “What Speaker Pelosi will do is have 20 or so Democrats voting by proxy for the rest of the Democrats, and all of the Republicans have to come in from the campaign trail when they could have done it during the week, which is what we always do.”
Burchett will be a no vote.
“It’s just a shame that the hardworking people at the post office are getting jerked around in this political game from both sides,” he said.
The fiscal conservative argues the USPS doesn’t need more money, but Americans do deserve answers from DeJoy.
“He needs to explain how he decided on these changes and why he made them now,” Burchett said.
DeJoy is expected to give senators those answers Friday. He has also agreed to appear before a House committee Monday.