This was part of a larger initiative to “strengthen the Postal Service” by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who joined the USPS in June after 35 years as an executive at a large supply-chain logistics company. DeJoy is a noted ally of President Donald Trump, who has been attempting to discredit the USPS ahead of the November election. Trump admitted on August 13th that his recent rhetoric against the USPS was designed to curtail the country’s mail-in voting process.
When DeJoy took over the USPS in June, he implemented hiring freezes and organizational rules that caused delays in the delivery of some prescriptions and mid-summer primary ballots across the US. Alongside the forced retirement of mail-sorting machines, DeJoy instituted rules that limited the amount of overtime employees could earn, and banned extra trips that would ensure on-time deliveries.
Today in a statement, DeJoy said, “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded. I want to assure all Americans of the following: Retail hours at Post Offices will not change. Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are. No mail processing facilities will be closed. And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.”
Democrats — and some Republicans — have been railing against attacks on the Postal Service for weeks, and on August 12th, Postal Service Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb launched an investigation into DeJoy’s new policies. DeJoy will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday, and he’ll appear before the House Oversight Committee the following Monday. House Democrats plan to pass a funding bill aimed at the USPS on Saturday, August 22nd.
While today’s promise from DeJoy halts ongoing efforts to handicap the USPS, it doesn’t address any damage that’s already been done — notably, it doesn’t reinstate the mail-sorting machines that have already been taken offline. Democratic lawmakers have pledged to include reparative measures in the Saturday bill.