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Democrats call for Postal chief to testify before Congress at ‘urgent hearing’ on service changes

U.S. Postmaster General Louis Dejoy arrives at a meeting at the office of Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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The House Oversight Committee will have an emergency hearing on Aug. 24 to address mail delivery delays and fears that the Trump administration is interfering with the U.S. Postal Service in order to impact voting in the November presidential election. 

House Democrats on Sunday called on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Postal Service board of governors Chairman Robert M. Duncan to testify at the upcoming hearing. Several House Democrats previously called for the subpoenaing of DeJoy, an ally of President Trump who they allege is purposely creating problems with the Postal Service to undermine the election. 

“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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Oversight Chair Carolyn B. Maloney D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich. wrote in a statement on Sunday. 

Since beginning his role in June, DeJoy implemented a slew of major changes to the Post Office, including a move to prohibit overtime, curtailing late trips for mail carriers that ensure on-time delivery and changing leadership within the agency. These changes have raised concern that the delivery of vital medical prescriptions and Social Security checks could face delays. 

The Postal Service is removing hundreds of mail-processing machines across the country and has warned 46 states that it may not be able to process all mail-in ballots in time to be counted for the election, likely disqualifying votes. 

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic will lead to widespread voter fraud. Trump suggested last week that he does not support billions of dollars for the Postal Service because he opposes mail-in voting. Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have accused Trump of trying to suppress the vote as he trails nominee Joe Biden in the polls. 

Protesters in Washington D.C. called for the resignation of DeJoy over the weekend, with more than 100 people gathering outside his home. The Postal Service’s inspector general has launched an investigation into the complaints Democrats have raised against DeJoy. 

“Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country — as well as President Trump’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November,” Maloney wrote in the letter on Sunday addressed to DeJoy. 

In an interview on CNN on Sunday morning, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he is open to a standalone bill that funds the Postal Service as the agency grapples with an increase in mail voting, a statement at odds with Trump’s comments last week that he would possibly support more funding only through a broader stimulus package. 

Meadows also said the Postal Service will not remove more mail-sorting machines between now and the November election: “Sorting machines between now and Election Day will not be taken off line,” he said. 

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