Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told a House panel Wednesday that his forthcoming strategic plan for the U.S. Postal Service may include slowing first-class mail and removing a significant amount of mail from air transportation.
His remarks come as members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee press him and Postal Service board of governors chairman Ron Bloom about delivery service and financial crises at the nation’s mail provider, and as Democrats in Congress push President Biden to install new board members that could reshape the agency and oust DeJoy.
Republicans on the committee have largely used the hearing to defend DeJoy from attacks from Democrats about how the Postal Service handled ballots and election mail ahead of the November election, sparking tense exchanges between Democrats who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump, and Republicans who attempted to baselessly overturn the election the election that removed him from office, citing falsehoods about mail-in voting.
The Postal Service bill would cut retiree health care pre-funding requirement and set on-time delivery targets. Lawmakers’ proposals seek to answer one fundamental question: How can the Postal Service continue to sustain itself and deliver to every American household and business six days a week, while the country increasingly sends less mail?
The U.S. Postal Service will buy as many as 165,000 electric delivery trucks over the next 10 years, spending $482 million to replace its 30-year-old vehicle fleet. Defense contractor Oshkosh will produce trucks with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or battery electric powertrains. The first vehicles will appear on the street in 2023.
President Biden has very limited authority to oversee U.S. Postal Service operations — or Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy was hired by, and reports to, the Postal Service’s governing board, a nine-member, bipartisan, Senate-confirmed panel. Only six of the nine seats on the board were filled by President Donald Trump, leaving Biden significant sway over the future of the agency.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced three nominees to fill most of the vacancies on the US Postal Service Board of Governors, fulfilling a promise that the administration would make the board and the agency a priority in the early days of his presidency.
The nominees include Ron Stroman, the former deputy postmaster general who resigned under the previous administration; Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of American Postal Workers Union; and Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute.
The nominations come amid public outcry over delayed mail and increased pressure on Biden from Democratic lawmakers and postal service unions to take action to improve the USPS.
On Tuesday, the American Postal Workers Union called on Biden to swiftly fill the board's four vacancies. Some Democratic lawmakers have gone further, calling on Biden to remove Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
If confirmed, his nominees will answer calls to diversify the board and alleviate concerns of the unions, who have complained that the current Trump-appointed board had no one with previous postal service experience serving on it.
"I encourage you to ensure your appointees are reflective of the 600,000 dedicated workers they will lead," Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote in a letter Biden last week. "We need a Board of Governors that includes women, people of color, and individuals who have direct experience working for the USPS and serving our communities."