House

Pelosi says postmaster general doesn’t plan to replace sorting machines, drop boxes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy does not intend to replace U.S. Postal Service sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other infrastructure that were removed before he announced he’d postpone more changes until after the November elections.

Pelosi said in a statement that she’d spoken with DeJoy Wednesday morning and told him his announcement from the day before “is not a solution and is misleading.” 

“The Postmaster General’s alleged pause is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked. The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works,” she said. 

“All of these changes directly jeopardize the election and disproportionately threaten to disenfranchise voters in communities of color,” the California Democrat added. “At the same time, we are highly concerned that the slowdown of the delivery of medicines to veterans is not being sufficiently addressed.” 

Pelosi’s remarks are the latest indication that Democrats do not intend to let DeJoy off the hook after his announcement that he will delay a series of reforms that bipartisan lawmakers warned could slow delivery, particularly around the surge of mail-in ballots expected this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

DeJoy announced that retail hours at post offices will remain unchanged, further mail processing equipment and collection boxes will not be removed, no mail processing facilities will be closed and that his agency will institute “stand-by resources” beginning Oct. 1, “to satisfy any unforeseen demand.”

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy, a major GOP donor who took over the position in June, said in a Tuesday statement.

The Postal Service directed The Hill to the same statement when asked for comment regarding Pelosi’s remarks.

The announcement from DeJoy marked an abrupt reversal after he had discussed making a string of changes he cast as cost-cutting measures to help the agency, whose already dire financial situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The changes included removing ballot drop-off sites, curtailing overtime for Postal Service workers, shuffling staffing and adjusting delivery policies.

Democrats say they still plan to vote on legislation this Saturday to provide $25 billion in emergency funding for the Postal Service and prevent changes to its operations. The GOP-controlled Senate, however, has indicated it is unlikely to pass a stand-alone Postal Service bill.

“The Postal Service is Election Central during the pandemic, and Democrats will not allow the President to force Americans to choose between their health and their vote,” Pelosi said.

Tags 2020 2020 election absentee ballots Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic Louis DeJoy mail-in ballots Nancy Pelosi Post office U.S. Postal Service Vote by Mail
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