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Postmaster General agrees to testify before Congress on controversial changes to service

Postmaster General agrees to testify before Congress on controversial changes to service
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify on Aug. 24 before Congress over his changes to the U.S. Postal Service. File Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify next week about controversial changes to service amid mail-in voting and a pandemic, House Democrats said Monday.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in a statement Monday that DeJoy, a former Republican Party fundraiser and ally of President Donald Trump appointed in May, has agreed to testify before the committee on Aug. 24. Robert Duncan, chair of the USPS Board of Governors, has also agreed to testify. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be live streamed.

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"I'm pleased that the Postmaster General will testify voluntarily before the Oversight Committee on Monday about the sweeping operational and organizational changes he has been making to the Postal Service," Maloney said in the statement. "I also look forward to receiving his production of documents and other information by this Friday."

Maloney and other high-ranking congressional Democrats requested the documents in a 10-page letter Friday.

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President Donald Trump told FOX News on Thursday that he objected to USPS' request for $25 billion amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of his opposition to mail-in voting. Though later Thursday, Trump said he would support a $25 billion stimulus for USPS if Democrats give Republicans what they want.

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Congressional Democrats in the 10-page letter noted that he also told NPR that he was objecting to the boost in USPS funding for the same reason.

On Friday, the Washington Post was first to report that the USPS had warned that some mail-in ballots might not be counted in time for the November election.

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Changes include decommissioning 10 percent of the Postal Service's sorting machines, prompting concern among rank-and-file postal workers that slowdowns due to increasing demand amid the pandemic could worsen.

The USPS warning came ahead of DeJoy's appointment, but House Democrats have pressured him to rescind his directives over concerns about mail slowdowns. DeJoy has said that existing delays were "unintended consequences" of his efficiency moves and "discipline" he was bringing to the agency.

The Democratic-led House passed the USPS request for $25 billion to expand service amid the COVID-19 pandemic in relief legislation three months ago, but the Republican-led Senate refused to consider it.

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"The American people want their mail, medicines, and mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way, and they certainly do not want drastic changes and delays in the midst of a global pandemic just months before the election," Maloney said Monday.

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House Democratic leaders also announced on a call with their caucus Monday morning that they will call the chamber back to Washington Saturday to vote on legislation to block recent USPS changes.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the House to return to session this week to vote for a bill to prevent the Trump administration from implementing changes to the USPS, accusing Trump of attempting to sabotage November's general election.

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Last week USPS began removing mail boxes as part of its sweeping changes, prompting critics, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, to accuse the agency of trying to suppress mail-in voting. By Friday, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said the agency would stop removing the boxes until after Election Day.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ordered Trump's re-election campaign to produce evidence of vote-by-mail fraud in the state after it sued to ban drop boxes for mail ballots at county election offices, CNN reported.

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