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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 MaloneyFears grow of voter suppression in Texas OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds 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 ConnollyIRS closes in on final phase of challenging tax season Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register Judge issues nationwide injunction against Postal Service changes MORE (D-Va.), National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen LynchStephen Francis LynchOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Top general negative for coronavirus, Pentagon chief to get tested after Trump result l Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds Top House lawmakers launch investigation into Pentagon redirecting COVID-19 funds Overnight 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 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 PetersDemocrats introduce bill providing 0 million to protect schools from cyberattacks Exclusive poll: Biden up in Mich., Pa., tied with Trump in Fla. The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Senate makes SCOTUS nominee Barrett a proxy for divisive 2020 MORE (D-Mich.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Democrats seek to alleviate public concern about some results not being available on election night Washington flooded with Women's March protesters ahead of Barrett confirmation vote Supreme Court battle turns into 2020 proxy war MORE (D-Minn.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats allege EPA plans to withhold funding from 'anarchist' cities | Montana asks court to throw out major public lands decisions after ousting BLM director | It's unknown if fee reductions given to oil producers prevented shutdowns Democrats allege EPA plans to withhold funding from 'anarchist' cities Energy innovation bill can deliver jobs and climate progress MORE (D-Del.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts The 2016 and 2020 Senate votes are about the same thing: constitutionalist judges Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking 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 TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE. But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the country, states are expecting significantly more voters to cast ballots by mail.