Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the U.S. Postal Service will not carry out some operational and organizational changes such as removing mail processing equipment or collection boxes until the end of the November election, following critical feedback and pressure from Democrats in Congress.
In a statement on Tuesday, DeJoy, who was recently appointed to the position, said, “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.” DeJoy added he would expand a task force on mail during the election.
His announcement comes as House and Senate Democrats accused President Donald Trump, DeJoy, and other officials of attempting to weaken the agency in the midst of the pandemic and just months away from the election. Trump and DeJoy have both denied their allegations, saying it was normal, routine changes that were being carried out.
He didn’t state which specific initiatives he was suspending—instead providing assurances.
“The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall,” DeJoy added in the press release. The agency also will expand its task force on election mail and will have more resources ready starting on Oct. 1.
Trump and White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows, meanwhile, told reporters last week that he would be willing to provide billions of dollars in Democrat-requested funds to the Postal Service if they made concessions on a broader stimulus deal that entails stimulus payments, small business loans, and more.
DeJoy is slated to testify in front of the Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee next week. He’ll also appear before the GOP-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the lower chamber back early from its recess to vote on preventing changes at the Postal Service. Reports said lawmakers are aiming to vote on the measure Saturday.
In the release, DeJoy said that he was appointed as head of the Postal Service, which was created in 1971, to “make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability.” Trump has long said that the agency has been hemorrhaging billions of dollars every year, while blaming companies like Amazon for taking advantage of it.
“I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives—efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service—that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastation pandemic,” he said.
DeJoy added that retail hours at Post Offices around the United States won’t change, mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes won’t be moved, no mail processing facilities will be shut down, and overtime for workers will continue.