Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who now finds himself at the center of the media mob’s latest manic episode, testified for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday.
In response to Democratic questioning, DeJoy said the conspiracy theory that he is engaged with President Donald Trump in efforts to undermine the 2020 election is “outrageous.”
DeJoy responded to concerns about election mail, the removal of blue post boxes, and the decades-long financial mismanagement at the Postal Service.
“As we head into the election season, I want to ensure this committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on time,” De Joy said in his opening statement.
“This sacred duty is my No. 1 priority between now and Election Day.”
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., began his opening statement by dismissing a few of the media’s hysterical myths, which have been consistent in their past hoaxes, including the idea that DeJoy is Trump’s lackey.
“One fact that needs to be highlighted to refute one part of the false narrative is that the postmaster general was not appointed by President Trump,” Johnson said. “The bipartisan Postal Board of Governors engaged a professional search for him.”
Johnson said they found DeJoy to be an “outstanding candidate,” so both Republican and Democratic members “unanimously approved his appointment.”
The other major lie is that Trump and DeJoy are cutting funding for the Postal Service so that it cannot operate effectively during the 2020 election.
“The Postal Service currently has $15.1 billion in cash on hand, following a better-than-expected financial performance during the pandemic,” Johnson said. “Due to a surge in package delivery, rather being down, the Postal Service’s revenue is actually $1.5 billion higher this year.”
Johnson asked DeJoy to respond to conspiracy theories about the Postal Service preparing to rig the election or engage in voter suppression.
“First, I’d like to emphasize that there has been no changes in any policies with regard to election mail for the 2020 election,” DeJoy said.
He said also responded to concerns about the letter that the Postal Service sent to the states.
“A very similar letter was sent out in the 2016 election by the former deputy postmaster general,” DeJoy said.
“As you stated, this letter was sent out before my arrival simply to help educate state election boards,” he said. “There was a plan put together to eventually make this a broader statement so the American people had awareness on how to successfully vote.”
Johnson said the Postal Service “has more than enough capacity to handle the number of ballots,” and that the total number of mail-in-ballots would represent about six percent of the Postal Service’s total capacity.
“We deliver 433 pieces of mail a day. So 150 million ballots, 160 million ballots over the course of a week is a very small amount,” DeJoy said. “Plus, mail volume is down 13, 14 percent this year. Plus, we will have additional resources on standby.”
“There will be absolutely no issue,” he said. “We are very, very comfortable that we will achieve this mission.”
Johnson asked DeJoy to address the Postal Service’s decision to remove blue drop boxes that do not receive enough traffic to warrant their continued operation.
“Today, there is about 140,000 collection boxes in the United States. Over the last 10 years, about 35,000 of them have been removed,” he said. “It’s a data-driven method. Every year they look at utilization of post boxes. Since my arrival, we’ve removed 700 collection boxes, of which I had no idea.”
After DeJoy heard about the media’s frenzy regarding the post boxes, he ordered the Postal Service to stop removing them until after the election.
A common theme throughout the hearing is that the Postal Service’s debts, delays and reductions in services have been accelerating for more than a decade, while DeJoy began serving as Postmaster General only 67 days ago.
Yet, many Democrats are pretending that the system suddenly collapsed when DeJoy became the agency’s head.
A Democrat, Megan Jane Brennan, led the Postal Service from the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure until June 2020.
Ranking member Gary Peters, D-Mich., shared stories about his constituents who did not receive medicine on time through the Postal Service, and he claimed that these delays are DeJoy’s fault.
DeJoy said he inherited a delivery system in which 12 percent of deliveries were late.
With changes that he adopted, he has reduced this number to 3 percent percent.
Another major cost for the Postal Service is overtime payments for employees that have to make late deliveries.
“Our late trips dropped from 3,500 a day to 600 a day. Within a week, we made that change,” DeJoy said.
He admitted, however, that the changes caused hiccups in the system, which caused some packages to be up to a few weeks late.
Peters also said DeJoy “curtailed” overtime, which has led to delays in delivery.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve spent $700 million on overtime,” DeJoy said. “Overtime ran at a 13 percent rate before I got here, and it runs at a 13 percent rate now.”
Peters asked DeJoy about his connection to Trump.
After DeJoy laughed, he said he had “never” spoken to the president about the Postal Service, though Trump called him to congratulate him on his appointment to the position.
There were a few technical glitches during the hearing.
The most notable came when Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., thought he was not able to speak.
“Is Sen. Carper there?” Johnson asked.
“F—, f—, f—,” Carper said.
Sen. Tom Carper dropping some f bombs, apparently because his computer was muted: pic.twitter.com/uARqNK6IQ5
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) August 21, 2020