Court testimony from top-ranking Postal Service officials indicates the agency removed 711 mail-sorting machines, roughly double the amount it usually takes out in a given year.
Agency officials disclosed the number in documents and written testimony submitted Wednesday in federal court in New York. The number is both the highest single-year total of the Trump presidency and about twice the average number the Postal Service removes annually, CNN reported.
Between 2015 and 2019, the agency removed an average of 388 machines a year, according to court papers provided to CNN by Postal Service official Jason DeChambeau.
The written testimony also states that the decision to remove the machines was made before Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyDavid Dayen details unique features of Postal Service banking 20 state attorneys general sue over Postal Service slowdown Mail delivery about to get slower, temporarily more expensive MORE’s appointment in June. The Postal Service attributed the removal to a decrease in mail during the coronavirus pandemic, according to DeChambeau.
His written testimony also said DeJoy ordered an end to the machine removals on Aug. 18.
CNN reported that internal documents put the total number of sorting machines at 4,926 in February, while DeChambeau said it only had 4,824 machines in October of last year.
Postal Service employees have said that removing outdated machines is routine, but some expressed concerns over doing so during an election year when many American expect to vote by mail, CNN reported.
DeJoy, a longtime Republican donor, has come under heavy criticism from Democrats since his appointment earlier this year for service changes. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s entire Democratic congressional delegation wrote a letter to DeJoy saying at least 30 machines have been removed from Pennsylvania mail facilities.
“Over the past several weeks we have heard from people in every county across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are gravely concerned about delayed mail delivery,” they wrote. “We call on you to immediately return to service machines that have been removed in recent months.” A 10-page Senate report released Wednesday from Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Mass.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats struggle to gain steam on Biden spending plan Building back better by investing in workers and communities Barletta holds wide lead over GOP rivals in early poll of Pennsylvania governor race MORE (D-Pa.) said service changes under DeJoy pose “serious health risks” by slowing down prescription drug deliveries.
“We know that Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the Postal Service, and our report is more evidence that his tenure has been a failure,” Warren said in a statement. “He needs to resign — and if he won’t, the Board of Governors must remove him.”