Senate Democrats pressure Postal Service over delivery complaints


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Four U.S. Senate Democrats lobbied new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday over complaints from Americans about slow delivery since taking office in June and whether service issues could hamper attempts to send out the 2020 election ballots during the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Ranking member Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) speaks during the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing to review customs and border protection, focusing on the ever-changing challenges facing the agency, in the Dirksen Senate Office building on Capitol Hill, Washington, USA, June 25, 2020. Tom Williams / Pool via REUTERS

Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Postal Service Oversight Committee, along with Amy Klobuchar, Tom Carper and Charles Schumer, sought answers on mail delivery under DeJoy, a key supporter of US President Donald Trump who was also chief financial officer of the 2020 Republican National Convention.

“Recent concerns raised by voters and postal workers have highlighted questionable changes under your leadership that are currently occurring at post offices and processing centers across the country that could negatively impact mail delivery. Wrote Senators DeJoy who took office in June. “It is essential that the postal service does not slow down mail or in any way compromise service. ”

Senators have raised concerns that delaying mail delivery could hamper attempts to mail ballots for the 2020 election by Americans worried about voting in person during a pandemic.

Trump has repeatedly stated that he believes millions of mail-in ballots will cause problems.

On July 20, House Democrats warned in a letter that “increasing mail delivery time would adversely affect the ability of ballots to be received and counted in a timely manner – an unacceptable result for free elections and fair ”.

Senators cited documents from the Postal Service that addressed limiting the movement of carriers from processing centers to deliver mail and eliminating overtime and other cost-cutting measures.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service said the agency “is taking immediate steps to increase operational efficiency with a renewed focus on existing plans that have been designed to provide fast and reliable service under current service standards ”.

He added that “the postal service is developing a business plan to ensure that we are financially stable” which will be presented to the Board of Governors when finalized.

The Postal Service has faced financial difficulties with the rise of email and social media, and a measure passed in 2006 requiring it to pre-fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over a 10-year period at a cost over $ 100 billion.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Edited by David Gregorio

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