Democratic leaders in Congress have decided to take action amid increasing national concern about mail delays and have demanded that leaders of the U.S. Postal Service testify at an emergency oversight hearing on Aug. 24. The House Oversight and Reform Committee said it wants new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the chair of the Postal Service board of governors, Robert “Mike” Duncan, to answer questions about the delays amid suspicion that the White House is trying to undermine the agency ahead of the November election. The move marks an acceleration for Democrats who did not plan to hold any hearings on the issue before September but comes amid growing outrage across the country over the delays that are the result of policy changes implemented by DeJoy.
“The hearing will examine the sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service that experts warn could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming November elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Oversight Chair Carolyn B. Maloney, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and Sen. Gary Peters said in a statement. “The postmaster general and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election.”
The Postal Service has not said whether DeJoy and Duncan will appear before lawmakers at a hearing that would take place on the opening day of the Republican National Convention.The call for the “urgent hearing” comes days after Democrats called on DeJoy to provide a series of documents to fully understand the changes that have been implemented at the Postal Service recently.
While Democrats demand answers, the White House appears to be slightly backing away from President Donald Trump’s comments on Thursday that he opposed approving funding for the Postal Service because he did not want a massive expansion of voting by mail. On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on CNN that the administration would be open to Congress approving a measure to make sure the Postal Service receives enough funding to deal with the expected surge of voting by mail in November. “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,” he said. Meadows insisted that the president isn’t opposed to voting by mail, but that mailing ballots to all registered voters is “asking for a disaster” and it could take “months” to know the results of the election. Even though there’s no widespread evidence of voter fraud “there’s no evidence that there’s not, either,” Meadows said.