(Washington, DC) – Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger today called on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to reverse new policies that are causing widespread and significant mail delivery delays throughout the country. DeJoy – a supporter of President Donald Trump who was appointed by a board made up of Trump appointees – took over the U.S. Postal Service in June. He confirmed new policies restricting overtime, ending extra mail-processing trips and reducing the number of mail processing equipment in a meeting with U.S. House of Representatives leadership yesterday.
“Like Americans throughout the country, I have heard from constituents in the Second District who have not gotten their mail – including vital medications and paychecks – for weeks and sometimes not at all,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Not only is it morally unacceptable to implement significant cut-backs at the height of a global pandemic when Americans are relying on the mail more than ever, it’s questionable business practice.”
Over the last several weeks, postal workers have been told they cannot make extra trips to deliver the mail even if it means, “mail left behind or mail on the workroom floor or docks,” according to a memo distributed to employees. “If we cannot deliver all mail,” as a result of staffing shortages, “the mail will not go out,” the document states.
Congressman Ruppersberger joined several colleagues earlier this week in sending a letter to DeJoy, expressing deep concerns about the changes outlined in the document, which compared USPS’ economic outlook to the decline of the U.S. steel trade.
“While we share the goal of ensuring the Postal Service’s solvency, the rhetoric used in these documents compares the Postal Service to a private company concerned only with the bottom line, rather than the constitutionally mandated public service that it is,” the letter states. “Eliminating overtime and directing postal workers to leave mail on the floor of postal facilities will erode confidence in the Postal Service and drive customers away, resulting in even worse financial conditions in the future.”
Congressman Ruppersberger has supported emergency funding for USPS, which typically relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With the help of his vote, the House, in May, passed $25 billion in funding for the agency under the HEROES Act, which Senate leadership refuses to consider.
Congress authorized a $10 billion loan to USPS in an earlier coronavirus relief bill, however, the agency has been unable to access the money due to a dispute with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over terms. President Trump has threatened to block all Congressionally-approved funding if the USPS does not quadruple its package rates.