Aug 21, 2020
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Opening Statement Transcript August 21
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before the Senate over mail-in voting and COVID-19 concerns on August 21. Read the transcript of his opening statement here.
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Louis DeJoy: (00:00)
Good morning, Chairman, Ranking Member Peters, and members of the committee. Thank you, Chairman Johnson, for calling this hearing. I’m proud to be with you today on behalf of the 630,000 dedicated women and men of the United States Postal Service. On June 15, I became America’s 75th Postmaster General. I did so because I believe the Postal Service plays a tremendously positive role in the lives of the American public and the life of the nation. I also welcomed the opportunity to lead this organization because I believe there is an opportunity for the Postal Service to better serve the American public, and also to operate in a financially sustainable manner.
Louis DeJoy: (00:44)
Congress established the Postal Service to fulfill a public service mission: To provide prompt, reliable, and universal postal services to the American public in an efficient and financially sustainable fashion. Our ability to fulfill that mandate in the coming years is at fundamental risk. Changes must be made to ensure our sustainability for the years and decades ahead.
Louis DeJoy: (01:09)
Our business model, established by the Congress, requires us to pay our bills through our own efforts. I view it as my personal obligation to put the organization in a position to fulfill that mandate. With action from the Congress and our regulator, and significant effort by the Postal Service, we can achieve this goal. This year, the Postal Service will likely report a loss of more than $9 billion. Without change, our losses will only increase in the years to come. It is vital that Congress enact reform legislation that addresses our unaffordable retirement payments. Most importantly, Congress must allow the Postal Service to integrate our retiree health benefits program with Medicare, which is a common sense practice followed by all businesses that still offer retiree healthcare. It also must rationalize our pension funding payments. Legislative actions have been discussed and debated for years, but no action has been taken. I urge the Congress to expeditiously enact these reforms.
Louis DeJoy: (02:19)
I also urge the Congress to enact legislation that would provide the postal service was financial relief to account for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial condition. The Postal Regulatory Commission began a mandated review of our pricing system four years ago. It has been three years since the commission concluded that our current system is not working. We urgently require the PRC to do its job and establish a more rational regulatory system for our mail products. Had the Congress and PRC fulfilled their obligations to the American public concerning the Postal Service, I am certain that much of our $80 billion in cumulative losses since 2007 could have been avoided, and that our operational and financial performance would not now be in such jeopardy. The Postal Service must also do its part. We must adapt to the realities of our marketplace, generate more revenue and control our costs. I believe we can chart a path for our business that accomplishes these goals.
Louis DeJoy: (03:26)
In my 67 days as Postmaster General, I have also had the chance to observe the many hidden strengths of the organization and appreciate our critical mission of service to the American public. Despite our deep, longstanding financial problems, there was an incredible strong base to build upon, and a tremendous desire of the public for the Postal Service to succeed.
Louis DeJoy: (03:50)
As we head into the election season, I want to assure 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. This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day. Mr. Chairman, women and men of the Postal Service have demonstrated extraordinary commitment for our mission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In every community in America, we continue to work to keep our employees and customers safe as we fulfill our essential role delivering medications, benefit checks, and financial statements the public depends upon.
Louis DeJoy: (04:33)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a public outpouring of support for postal employees as they perform their essential service throughout the nation. This is a well-deserved testament to their dedication. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Peters, I look forward to working with you and this committee and our stakeholders to restore the financial health of the United States Postal Service and to improve the way we serve the American public. This concludes my remarks, and I welcome any questions that you and the committee may have.