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Activists hold a demonstration in support of the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.

Activists hold a demonstration in support of the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

Top Dems Demand Postmaster General DeJoy Testify, Citing 'Grave Threat' to 'Our Very Democracy'

The "Postal Service is a public institution that both serves and belongs to every person in our nation."

Andrea Germanos

Top Democrats on Sunday demanded Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testify before Congress next week and accused the "Trump mega-donor" of having "acted as an accomplice in the president's campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail."

The joint statement came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,  House Oversight Committeee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, and ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Gary C. Peters. It called for Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors Robert Duncan to also appear before lawmakers.

The demands were issued amid swelling outrage and warnings "our very democracy is at stake" as a result of policy changes imposed by DeJoy that have been blamed for slowed mail delivery and raised fears of election sabotage, and an admission by the president he's blocking Postal Service funding to stop mail-in voting.   

"The Postal Service itself has warned that voters—even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines—may be disenfranchised in 46 states and in Washington, D.C. by continued delays. This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy," the Democrats said.

The statement points to a letter sent Sunday by Maloney to DeJoy.

In her letter, Maloney asks for the postmaster general to appear at an August 24th hearing to focus on his "sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service."

Testimony can't wait until September when DeJoy previously indicated he'd be first available, Maloney wrote, in light of "startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors."

"Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country—as well as President Trump's explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November," she wrote.

The Democrats' joint statement also accused the GOP of being "missing in action" on the issue and singled out the Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sen. Ron Johnson.

Peters—who earlier this month launched an investigation into mail delays—sent a letter to Johnson Sunday urging the senator to bring DeJoy and Duncan before the committee "on August 21, or as soon as practicable" to discuss the recent changes. The testimony is of the utmost importance, Peters wrote, "since the Postal Service is a public institution that both serves and belongs to every person in our nation."

Schumer,  for his part, said in a tweet that DeJoy should be ousted if he ignores the Democrats' request.

"If Postmaster General DeJoy doesn't testify before Congress next week as Speaker Pelosi and I have requested," Schumer wrote, "he should be stamped, returned to sender, and removed from his position."

According to Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, "DeJoy should be subpoenaed if he doesn't respond, and members should resist giving speeches at the hearing."

"They need to ask substantive questions that force him to admit his agenda and reverse his recent changes," Gupta tweeted, noting that there are "fewer than 80 days until election."

"Our democracy won't save itself," she wrote.

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