House committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns

House committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns
© Bonnie Cash

The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Monday asked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to answer questions at an upcoming hearing as concerns mount over delivery delays and how they could affect mail-in voting.

Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyPelosi, Democrats unveil bills to rein in alleged White House abuses of power Government watchdog recommends creation of White House cyber director position Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence MORE (D-N.Y.) announced the committee sent a letter to DeJoy asking for his testimony on Sept. 17 to “examine operation changes to the U.S. Postal Service.”

“The Committee on Oversight and Reform requests your testimony at a hearing to examine recent changes to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) operations and standards and the need for on-time mail delivery during the ongoing pandemic and upcoming election, which as you know may be held largely by mail-in ballot,” Maloney wrote in the letter to DeJoy. 

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The letter indicates that Maloney tried to schedule a hearing this week but the postmaster general had a meeting with the board of governors. Maloney said staff confirmed his availability for the September hearing. 

The request for DeJoy’s testimony comes after Maloney and other lawmakers sent him a July 20 letter asking for information on changes in the U.S. Postal Service. Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyJudge issues nationwide injunction against Postal Service changes House panel advances bill to ban Postal Service leaders from holding political positions Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (D-Va.), National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOvernight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May Overnight Defense: Dems divided on length of stopgap spending measure | Afghan envoy agrees to testify before House panel | Trump leans into foreign policy in campaign's final stretch MORE (D-Mass.) and committee member Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers Lawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-Mich.) also signed the letter. 

The lawmakers cited documents that appeared to detail operation adjustments, including one that said “if we cannot deliver all mail” because of staff shortages “the mail will not go out.” In the letter, the Democrats criticized the Postal Service for not informing Congress of the changes as some lawmakers were discussing potential reform bills for the service. 

“While these changes in a normal year would be drastic, in a presidential election year when many states are relying heavily on absentee mail-in ballots, increases in mail delivery timing would impair the ability of ballots to be received and counted in a timely manner—an unacceptable outcome for a free and fair election,” the letter said.

The Postal Service responded in a July 22 letter, saying the documents cited in the lawmakers’ letter were not “official Postal Service memoranda” and did not come from the service’s headquarters. 

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The letter signed by Thomas Marshall, the USPS general counsel and executive vice president, went on to say the service is “committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner” and is coordinating with state and local leaders ahead of the election.

A group of senators also recently wrote to DeJoy with similar concerns. Sens. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Postmaster general says postal service can't return mail-sorting machines The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump faces backlash after not committing to peaceful transition of power MORE (D-Mich.), Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Minn.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe conservative case for phasing out hydrofluorocarbons Democrat asks for probe of EPA's use of politically appointed lawyers Overnight Energy: Study links coronavirus mortality to air pollution exposure | Low-income, minority households pay more for utilities: report MORE (D-Del.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Cruz blocks amended resolution honoring Ginsburg over language about her dying wish MORE (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to DeJoy late last month asking him to explain the changes he's made and pressing him on whether reported delivery delays could affect voting.

The Postal Service is facing financial difficulties in an age of email and social media and has found itself under attack from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the country, states are expecting significantly more voters to cast ballots by mail.