Merkley, Wyden, Colleagues Demand Answers from Postmaster General After Postal Service Delays Spark Fear and Outrage Across Oregon
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today teamed up with their Senate colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to press Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for answers on severe mail delays that are jeopardizing access to medicines, essential goods, voting, correspondence, and livelihoods for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail.
The delays have resulted from Postmaster General DeJoy’s significant upheaval of Postal Service leadership and functions, including the elimination of extra mail transportation trips; the reduction of overtime; the start of a pilot program for mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of post offices; and the reduction of equipment at mail processing plants.
The senators’ letter follows public outrage and concern over the removal of a total of more than 30 USPS collection boxes in Portland and Eugene, and public comments from President Trump explaining that he is deliberately undercutting the USPS in an effort to hinder vote-by-mail activities—despite Oregon’s decades-long history of safe and secure mail-in elections.
“As Postmaster General, you have avoided answering questions about the magnitude of delays we have seen and have not yet provided any evidence that you studied or considered how your changes would affect delays and mail service before implementing these changes. Furthermore, you have refused to engage with nearly all Members of Congress who have reached out to you or raised concerns about these issues,” the senators wrote in their letter to Postmaster General DeJoy. “Inevitably, without additional information or engagement from you or the Postal Service with stakeholders about these changes, your actions raise questions regarding your intent and whether you have adequately sought to fully understand the Postal Service’s current capabilities, personnel, and public service mission before implementing these changes.
“The Postal Service is a public institution that both serves and belongs to every person in our nation,” the senators continued. “As a result, we call on you to testify before Congress about all changes you have made and plan to make as Postmaster General. The lack of transparency so far regarding the intent, scope, and responsibility for changes at the Postal Service is unacceptable. We understand you have committed to being more forthcoming and transparent with Congress and the American people regarding these changes, including providing documentation of the operational changes you have made and will be making since beginning your term. For every American who relies on the Postal Service, we call on you to fulfill that commitment without delay.”
In addition to their request for testimony, the senators asked Postmaster General DeJoy to provide critical information by August 21, 2020: a detailed explanation of changes made to Postal Service operations; any formal analysis that informed those changes; an explanation as to why the Postal Service did not consult meaningfully with any stakeholders, such as unions, before implementing the changes; whether Trump administration officials outside of the Postal Service influenced the changes; what, if any, additional plans are under consideration that could lead to facility hour reductions, suspensions, closures, or consolidations; and what steps are being taken to suspend or halt changes that adversely affect mail delivery during the pandemic and in advance of the November election.
The full text of the senators’ letter is available here.
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