Delays from “peak season” have persisted “despite the tireless effort of postal workers,” the senators wrote, which they said is impacting the delivery of important mail, like prescription drugs and rent payments.
The senators called Covid-19-related delays, as well as the high volume of mail and reduced airlift and trucking capacity, “credible explanations,” but added, “the fact remains that USPS leadership had a responsibility to prepare for these expected challenges. We question whether management made adequate preparations including sufficient temporary hiring and logistical planning.”
“We also question whether your decisions and directives continue to hinder mail delivery,” the senators posed to DeJoy, noting that he has announced that additional changes will be coming soon.
“We demand that you not make additional changes that will harm service for the American people. In addition, we urge you to be fully transparent with the public about Postal Service operations and the reasons they are still facing delays,” the senators wrote, listing a series of questions about service for DeJoy to answer by February 26.
While the House members do not call for the Biden administration to completely wipe out the board, which would include the Trump appointees still there, they ask that the President “submit nominations for the three vacant positions” so that the the board can “function in a more nonpartisan, effective manner.”
“We do not doubt that the Postal Service requires some thoughtful reforms in order to continue to provide excellent service to the American people in the years to come; however, there is a plethora of evidence that Postmaster General DeJoy is not equipped to meet the rigors of these challenges,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Filling the vacant seats on the Postal Service’s Board of Governors with strong, passionate advocates for the institution will allow it to function in a nonpartisan manner, and will allow the Board to seriously consider whether the current Postmaster General is suitable to continue in his role.”
The letter also took direct aim at DeJoy, with the House Democrats noting that he was a “Republican Party megadonor … who had no experience working for the Postal Service prior to his appointment.”
“Since Mr. DeJoy assumed office, he has, under the guise of enacting needed reforms, rapidly transformed the Postal Service to the detriment of Americans,” they said. “Critically, the on-time delivery of flat mail has plunged drastically.”
Getting rid of DeJoy is not a clean-cut process. The President does not have the power to remove the Postmaster General. Only the Postal Service Board of Governors — which is comprised of members nominated by the President and confirmed in the Senate — has the power to do so, and DeJoy continues to have the support of the Trump-appointed board.
But Biden has the power to nominate members of the board and to send them to the Senate — now led by Democrats — for confirmation. Some lawmakers want Biden to go beyond filling empty seats, and take drastic action by firing the entire board.