Democrats say Postal Service delays ‘far worse’ than previously acknowledged

House Democrats on the Oversight and Reform Committee released documents Saturday that they say show Postal Service delays are “far worse” than previously acknowledged.

The assessment from the lawmakers comes a day after Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, where he apologized for a “dip” in service but assured the panel that the “nation’s election mail” would be delivered “fully and on time.”

Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been been concerned about the operational changes that DeJoy announced earlier this summer that included a shuffling of personnel, a curtailing of over time and a removal of mail-sorting machines, among other things. They say that the changes will cause significant delays, imperiling mail-in voting ahead of the November election. 

Mail-in ballots are expected to be one of the primary ways of voting in this election, due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.  

The documents released by Democrats showed processing time was down by 8 percent in July, when DeJoy was beginning to implement changes to the Postal Service. 

DeJoy has since said that he will delay the implementation of those changes until after the election. 

“After being confronted on Friday with first-hand reports of delays across the country, the Postmaster General finally acknowledged a ‘dip’ in service, but he has never publicly disclosed the full extent of the alarming nationwide delays caused by his actions and described in these new documents,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement.

The documents come as the House is poised to pass Democratic legislation that would prevent the U.S. Postal Service from making functional changes that could imperil delivery of mail-in ballots for the November elections. 

The bill also includes $25 billion for Postal Service operations, a figure originally recommended by the agency’s board of governors and included in the Democrats’ $3.4 trillion coronavirus relief package, which passed through the House in May. 

“To those who still claim there are ‘no delays’ and that these reports are just ‘conspiracy theories,’ I hope this new data causes them to re-think their position and support our urgent legislation today,” Maloney said. 

Democratic senators have also launched an investigation into delays in mail-order drug prescriptions, which they attributed to the “sabotage” of the United States Postal Service by the Trump administration.

“We have all seen the headlines from every corner of our country, we have read the stories and seen pictures, we have heard directly from our constituents, and these new documents show that the delays are far worse than we were told,” Maloney said. 

–This report was updated on August 23 at 8:26 a.m.

Tags Carolyn Maloney election 2020 Louis DeJoy mail delays mail-in voting November election Postal system United States Postal Service

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