Top Senate Democrats have set their sights on the little-known board that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, urging it to undo the postmaster general’s controversial policies out of concern they have “endangered” Americans.
“It is critical that you act immediately to address efforts by President Trump and Mr. DeJoy to sabotage the Postal Service,” the Democrats wrote, adding the board needed to act swiftly to ensure Americans receive their prescriptions, ballots and other critical mail on time.
The Board of Governors includes nine members appointed by the president, and confirmed by the Senate, who have the task of selecting the nation’s postmaster general and overseeing the USPS. Trump has filled six of the nine slots, and all but one of them is a Republican.
Warren and other Democrats contend in their letter that DeJoy had “undermine[d] the mission of the Postal Service,” and in response, they said its board has the “authority and responsibility to act.”
“It is time to use your full power and authority on behalf of the Postal Service, the American people, and the ‘public interest’ you are required to represent,” added the collection of lawmakers, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
A spokesman for USPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Congressional Democrats’ latest salvo comes amid mounting pressure on the U.S. Postal Service and DeJoy, a former logistics executive and Republican fundraiser. House Democrats have demanded he testify at an emergency hearing next Monday along with Robert M. Duncan, the chairman of the Board of Governors, amid accusations they are pushing “dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions,” they said this weekend.
In recent days, DeJoy’s agency changes have reduced mail deliveries and overtime hours, resulting in massive mail backlogs that have delayed critical communications and packages, including prescription drugs. The Postal Service also sought to eliminate hundreds of high-speed mail sorting machines this month while removing public-collection boxes in states including California, New York and Pennsylvania, sparking a broad outcry. The USPS has described the mailbox removals as routine, though it pledged to cease the practice until after the election after a public backlash.
DeJoy’s efforts have sparked intense scrutiny in part because of Trump, who last week said he opposed offering election aid to states — and emergency money for the U.S. Postal Service — to restrict Americans from voting by mail. Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mailed ballots invite voter fraud, infuriating a wide array of critics who see the comments as an attack on the election itself at a time when the coronavirus has many Americans scared from physically going to the polls.
Trump and his top aides recently have walked back some of the comments, expressing an openness for new aid targeted at the beleaguered Postal Service.
“The president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their votes in a legitimate way whether it’s the post office or anything else,” Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, said during an interview on CNN this weekend.
Trump weighed in Monday afternoon. “The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN, while at the same time saving billions of dollars a year for American Taxpayers. Dems don’t have a clue! @USPostOffice911,” he said in a tweet.
Jacob Bogage, Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey and Paul Kane contributed to this report.