On the heels of a "Friday Night Massacre" at the U.S. Postal Service that deeply alarmed lawmakers, activists, and ordinary citizens nationwide, two House Democrats are demanding the immediate removal of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over his sweeping operational changes to the beloved government service that have slowed the delivery of essential packages and jeopardized mail-in voting.
"DeJoy's nefarious collective efforts will suppress millions of mail-in ballots and threaten the voting rights of millions of Americans, setting the stage for breach of our Constitution."
—Rep. Peter DeFazio
In a statement over the weekend, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) accused DeJoy—a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump with millions invested in USPS competitors—of doing the president's bidding by sabotaging mail delivery with the November election less than 90 days away.
"DeJoy's baseless operational changes have already crippled a beloved and essential agency, delaying mail, critical prescription drug shipments for veterans, and seniors and other essential goods," said DeFazio.
The Oregon Democrat warned that the latest change imposed by DeJoy—the ouster of two top officials and reshuffling of nearly two dozen others—lay bare his "mission to centralize power, dismantle the agency, and degrade service in order to thwart vote-by-mail across the nation to aid Trump's reelection efforts."
"This November, an historic number of citizens will vote by mail in order to protect their health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic," said DeFazio. "DeJoy's nefarious collective efforts will suppress millions of mail-in ballots and threaten the voting rights of millions of Americans, setting the stage for breach of our Constitution. It is imperative that we remove him from his post and immediately replace him with an experienced leader who is committed to sustaining a critical service for all Americans."
DeJoy, a former North Carolina logistics executive, was appointed to lead USPS by the agency's Board of Governors in May despite his complete lack of experience at the Postal Service and his potential conflicts of interest, which have drawn scrutiny from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other lawmakers. After taking charge in mid-June, the new Postmaster General wasted little time rolling out changes to USPS that postal workers said undermine the agency's core mission and potentially set the stage for privatization.
During an open session last week with the USPS Board of Governors, which has the authority to remove the Postmaster General, DeJoy rebuked lawmakers for "sensationalizing" major mail backlogs reported in states across the nation and downplayed the resulting delays as "isolated, operational incidents." Postal workers, for their part, have warned that the delays appear to be a direct consequence of DeJoy's policies barring overtime and prohibiting the sorting of mail ahead of morning deliveries.
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As the American Prospect's David Dayen noted, the Postal Service under DeJoy's leadership has also "informed states that they'll need to pay first-class 55-cent postage to mail ballots to voters, rather than the normal 20-cent bulk rate."
"That nearly triples the per-ballot cost at a time when tens of millions more will be delivered," Dayen noted. "The rate change would have to go through the Postal Regulatory Commission and, undoubtedly, litigation. But the time frame for that is incredibly short, as ballots go out very soon. A side benefit of this money grab is that states and cities may decide they don't have the money to mail absentee ballots, and will make them harder to get. Which is exactly the worst-case scenario everyone fears."
This is the clearest example yet of Trump and his puppet Postmaster General's attempts to sabotage the USPS before November's election.
This kind of behavior is why we're demanding an investigation into Trump’s USPS—the Inspector General should add this to their list. https://t.co/2aXcLeZsF9
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 8, 2020
Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) said in a statement issued alongside DeFazio's that DeJoy is guilty of "unconstitutional sabotage of our Postal Service with complete disregard for the institution's promise of the 'safe and speedy transit of the mail' and the 'prompt delivery of its contents.'"
"My friend Maya Angelou used to say, 'when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,'" Adams added. "The Postmaster General has shown us on multiple occasions he is working to dismantle a fundamental institution of our democracy. He needs to resign or be removed, now."