Aug 24, 2020
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Testimony Transcript August 24: House Oversight Hearing
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before the House Oversight Committee on August 24 to discuss the USPS. Read the transcript of his full testimony here.
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Ms. Maloney: (00:00)
…noise and feedback. Fifth, I will recognize members verbally, but members retain the right to seek recognition verbally in regular order, members will be recognized in seniority order for questions. Lastly, if you want to be recognized outside of regular order, you may identify that in several ways, you may use the chat function to send a request. You may send an email to the majority staff, or you may unmute your mic to seek recognition. Obviously we do not want people talking over each other, so my preference is that members use the chat function or email to facilitate formal verbal recognition. Committee staff will ensure that I am made aware of your request, and I will recognize you. We will begin the hearing in just a moment, when they tell me they are ready to begin the live stream.
Speaker 1: (00:59)
Ms. Maloney: (01:01)
Speaker 1: (01:01)
A point of order, you mentioned the mask, you don’t have one on.
Ms. Maloney: (01:07)
Well, I’m talking. If you’re talking, you can have your mask off. [crosstalk 00:01:11]
Speaker 1: (01:12)
I thought you said during questions, you had to have it on.
Ms. Maloney: (01:14)
Well, to come in the room you have to have the mask on, but as you talk, as you and I know it’s very hard to talk with the mask on, so it can be removed when you’re asking questions or when [inaudible 00:01:26] [inaudible 00:01:44] The committee will come to order. Without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess of the committee at any time without objection. The gentlewoman from North Carolina, Ms. Adams, as well as a gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Quigley will be permitted to join the committee, and be recognized for questioning the witnesses. In addition, the gentlemen from North Carolina, Mr. Walker will be recognized at the proper time to introduce his constituent. I now recognize myself for an opening statement. Good morning. I would like to welcome Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and the chairman of the Postal Board of Governors, Robert Duncan, to this oversight hearing.
Ms. Maloney: (02:33)
And I thank you all for being here. In all of our districts, we are hearing from constituents about significant delays in the delivery of mail, medicines, food, and other supplies. These delays are especially concerning and potentially life threatening during the Coronavirus crisis. These are not isolated complaints. They are widespread. Our offices have been receiving thousands of calls and emails about the detrimental effects these delays are having on our veterans, seniors, small businesses and families across the country. When we asked postal leaders about these delays, they downplayed them. They dismissed them as temporary. They discounted them as minor unintended consequences of reforms being put in place. But then we saw national headlines describing these delays in much more detail. I have a document here that it lists headlines from almost every state in the country. Talking about these delays. For example, in my home state of New York, I quote, “Mail is delayed five to six days in New York City, Postal Workers Union says”, end quote.
Ms. Maloney: (04:02)
In Kentucky, ranking member Comer’s home state quote, “Postal services cost cutting is frustrating Kentuckians, and raising election concerns”, end quote. In California, the home state of our vice chairman, Mr. Gomez quote “Like Armageddon, rotting food, dead animals and chaos at postal facilities, amid cutbacks”, end quote. This list goes on and on. Last Friday when Mr. DeJoy was confronted in the Senate with these widespread reports, he said, he felt bad about what he called a dip in service. But then after Mr. DeJoy’s testimony in the Senate, we obtained an internal postal service document entitled PMG briefing. This is a presentation prepared directly for the Postmaster General. It is dated almost two weeks ago, August 12th. According to this document, these delays are not just a dip. This document warrants the Postmaster General of significant and widespread drops across the board.
Ms. Maloney: (05:23)
In first class marketing periodicals and other categories. This document shows that these delays are not a myth or conspiracy theory. As some of my colleagues have argued. These steep declines did not start in April or May when the Corona crisis hit us. But in July when Mr. DeJoy came onboard and began making his changes. Our entire country is experiencing these delays as a result of Mr. DeJoy’s actions, such as his decision [inaudible 00:06:03] to restrict the number of trips from processing plants to delivery units, perhaps Mr. DeJoy thought his sweeping changes would not cause any delays. In my opinion, that would be incompetence at best, or perhaps this was intentional. Maybe Mr. DeJoy was warned that his changes would cause delays, but he disregarded those warnings. That would be extremely reckless in the middle of a global pandemic with less than three months before an important election, or perhaps there is a far simpler explanation.
Ms. Maloney: (06:46)
Perhaps Mr. DeJoy is just doing exactly what President Trump said he wanted are on national television, using the blocking of funds to justify sweeping changes to hobble mail in voting. All of these options are bad, but when you install someone as Postmaster General after he donates millions of dollars to your campaign, when he rushes to make changes without conducting adequate analysis, and when he withholds key information from Congress and doesn’t level with us, when people begin to ask what in the world is going on, given all of this, it’s not surprising that the Postal Service Inspector General [inaudible 00:07:34] has already opened an investigation into Mr. DeJoy’s controversial changes. We will be asking Mr. DeJoy to join some hard questions today, we will also be asking Mr.Duncan, as Chairman of the Board, about his own role in choosing Mr. DeJoy as Postmaster General about his own role in vetting, Mr. DeJoy, for conflicts of interests, including Mr. DeJoy’s ownership of stock and major postal service competitors, and Mr.Duncan’s own role and allowing these delays to happen under his watch.
Ms. Maloney: (08:18)
Whatever the cause of these massive delays, the American people want to go back to the way things were. They don’t want these changes. They want them reversed. They don’t want anyone messing with the post office and they certainly don’t want it politicized. They want to have confidence that their mail, their medicine, their ballots will be delivered on time. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and I now recognize the distinguished ranking member, Mr. Comer, for an opening statement.
Mr. Comer: (08:50)
Well, thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. I appreciate you calling this hearing today on the United States Postal Service, even though it would have been nice to do so before we actually voted on the bill Saturday, we all agreed that the postal service needs to be reformed to better serve the American people. We all want the postal service to be as efficient and effective as possible to ensure Americans receive their prescriptions on time, small businesses thrive and mail imbalance are delivered in a timely fashion, but meaningful reform is going to take bipartisanship. Something we have seen very little of in the last few days. Democrats fabricated a baseless conspiracy theory about the postal service and hastily passed a bill Saturday, but before hearing from you, Mr. DeJoy, the bill had no prior committee action to vet the bill, no hearings, no markup. Because of this rush process, the bill was significantly amended by the Democrats before it went to the rules committee, it then proceeded to the house floor under a process that prevented any amendments to the bill. There was no Republican input, not at any step in the process. Just this morning, we have learned that the US Postal Service opposes the bill that you all past Saturday, they read the bill, and realized that it ties their hands, it will make it harder and more expensive to deliver the mail.
Mr. Comer: (10:22)
At least this legislation is consistent with the Obama Biden years at the postal service, more delays, more financial losses. This chain of events show Democrats are not serious about meaningful reform. The president does not support the bill. The postal service does not support the bill and the Senate will likely not take up the bill. This is a political stunt. During Saturday’s debate, chairwoman Maloney unveiled a 60 page PowerPoint deck she had just received overnight from an apparent whistleblower. Madam Chair, I don’t need to remind you that your and Adam Shift’s record with whistleblowers is less than stellar.
Mr. Comer: (11:08)
The deck is dated August 12th, proving it played no role in the creation of your bill, which was unveiled the day before. The deck contains delivery performance data updated since the US postal services third quarter report. It shows some delays in July and August. I’m very interested to hear from Mr. DeJoy today about what he has learned about the causes of these delays, how much of an effect is the ongoing pandemic and increasing employee sick leave having on us postal services, delivery performance. How does that compare to any temporary growing pains from efforts to make the postal service more efficient, and self-sufficient?
Mr. Comer: (11:46)
I say, I am interested to hear Mr. DeJoy’s responses because I did not know the answer to those questions. I don’t believe that chairwoman does either. This is why I’ve repeatedly said Madam Chairwoman, that this committee is doing things backwards. When we make policy, it’s our job to understand why something is happening. How would you find out why? You would have a hearing on the topic with the Postmaster General. When would you have this hearing? Certainly before you passed a bill. Returning to today, let me say the postal issues are something I’ve long heard about a great deal in my rural district. For example, I distinctly remember when the Obama Biden administration, a mail facility in Paducah was closed, resulting in letters at once, took a day to get from point A to point B, now taking three to four days.
Mr. Comer: (12:35)
And I also heard a lot about the postal service from my grandmother who spent her entire career, 27 years, as a rural mail carrier. My heart and sympathies go out to our postal service families who have lost loved ones during this pandemic. As her grandson and the Congressman representing the first district of Kentucky, and as the ranking member of this committee, I want to see the postal service return to being a viable institution, but I’m disappointed at the hysterical frenzy whipped up around this issue by my colleagues on the left, and their friends and the media let’s look at the most often repeated claims again.
Mr. Comer: (13:10)
Does the postal service need a bailout in order to survive to November? No. Mail volume has declined, but package delivery has shot through the roof. Increasing USPS revenue by 1.5 billion. It has nearly $15 billion cash on hand and can operate until at least August of 2021. Next question is the Postmaster General sabotaging the election by removing blue postal boxes and mail sorting machines? No. The postal service is more than adequate capacity to handle the vote by mail. If everybody in the US request and sends her ballots via mail, that’s still less than one day’s average volume. The blue boxes and mail sorters were both components of long standing programs in response to significant reduction in mail volume, 33% reduction over the past 15 years.
Mr. Comer: (13:57)
For reference under president Obama, approximately 12, 000 blue bell were removed. And we didn’t hear one word from the other side when he did that, the mail sorters were on track to be removed because they were sitting idle, simply taking up floor space for more productive activities. Is the postal service telling states they won’t be able to deliver ballots on time? No. What the postal service is doing and has for years is trying to warn states their vote by mail laws don’t take into account what the postal service can and cannot do. USPS can treat ballots as first class mail or better than first class mail, but they cannot break the laws of time and space. The letters that Democrats characterize as threats and propaganda are good faith efforts to prevent weeks of uncertainty and confusion such as what happened very recently with Chairwoman Maloney’s race.
Mr. Comer: (14:48)
And the charges about overtime? Those came from an effort to reduce billions of dollars in overtime and extra truck trips the postal service spends every year. If overtime and extra truck trips or normal or a normal everyday part of your business operations, it means something’s wrong and you better fix it. On Friday before the Senate Homeland Security committee hearing Mr. DeJoy acknowledged the recent dip in service, he took responsibility for this performance lapse. The logical step is to understand why this happened and come up with a plan, even though your bill would prevent that Madam Chairwoman. I hope that today helps in that process. I yield back.
Ms. Maloney: (15:30)
I thank the gentleman for his statement, and I ask unanimous consent to place in the record, the service performance measurement postmast-
Mr. Comer: (15:41)
…logical step is to understand why this happened and come up with a plan, even though your bill would prevent that Madam Chairwoman. I hope that today helps in that process. I yield back.
Ms. Maloney: (15:55)
I thank the gentleman for his statement, and I ask unanimous consent to place in the record, the service performance measurement, Postmaster General briefing, an official report from the post office. Data. Research. Facts. And in this report, the facts speak for themselves, and they show that under the first two months of the Postmaster General’s work, the service fell anywhere from six to 10% in all the major categories. My bill merely funds the post office and returns it back to the way it was, so that the services can get the mail out to the people during a pandemic, and before a very important election. After the pandemic, we can revisit and have other statements and work go forward, but let’s not dismantle the services to the American people, the veterans, the seniors, people deserve to get their mail in a timely way.
Ms. Maloney: (17:08)
And most districts are having people calling frantically. Where’s my mail? Where’s my medications? So, facts speak for themselves. I’m placing this into the record. I now recognize the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee on government operations, who has done a great deal of work in this area, Mr. Connolly, for an opening statement.
Mr. Connolly: (17:30)
Thank you Madam Chairwoman and thank you for your leadership. I was proud to cosponsor your bill that passed the house with 26 Republicans showing the courage to address an emergency with respect to the most esteemed institution of government in America. We have an obligation constitutionally to ensure that something that’s been part of the American fabric since 1775 has a future. The postal service is not only fighting for its economic survival. It’s finding to maintain 120 years of professional, professional, service, rid of rotten patronage systems that serve the elected officials and not those who rely on mail every day.
Mr. Connolly: (18:18)
We’re here today to save the postal service. We have, in front of us, a newly appointed Postmaster General and the Chairman of the Board of Governors that selected him for that post. We have a PMG who six weeks into the complex and awe inspiring new job in the midst of a global pandemic, and just weeks before a consequential national election, where the postal service will play an unprecedented role, decides to announce a sweeping reorganization that he admits could slow down mail and will undoubtedly infuse uncertainty and confusion throughout the postal service, and into our neighborhoods all across America. He announces these and other abysmally unsupported changes without engaging staff, unions, trade organizations, mailers, male recipients, or Congress. In fact, Congress was told, Mr. DeJoy did not yet feel prepared to respond to any questions we might have for him. Yet, he felt confident enough to freeze over time, delay mail delivery, and announced sweeping reorganizations and Mr. Duncan, congratulations of being the rubber stamp. The postal service board of governors is required by law to represent the public interest, not the president, not a political party or not even the Postmaster General. Today, the postal service employs 650,000 people. It’s the foundation for more than a $1.7 trillion mailing industry that employs another seven and a half million people.
Mr. Connolly: (19:53)
But at the turn of the last century, the US post office was nothing more than 77,000 patronage positions, rife with gross incompetence and often embezzlement of funds. It was rural America that used its political voice at that time to professionalize the post office instead of traveling miles to the closest general store to pick up mail from a sycophantic political hack, rural residents, lobbied Congress en masse for rural free delivery. An innovation that brought mail delivery to even the most distant of homes and businesses. The massive grassroots lobby effort brought those with an acumen and expertise into the post office and refocus political leaders and what they were elected to do, serve the people, not their political parties.
Mr. Connolly: (20:44)
As a nation, the people transform the postal service, the post office into the postal service. This history lesson resonates today, yet another reckoning for this country and the postal service here again, the people of the nation have stood up loudly and consistently to condemn attempts to turn a crown jewel of our federal government, by far the most trusted agency among the hundreds that served this nation into a spoiled systems honeypot. We cannot and must not let that happen. During this pandemic, the postal service is a lifeline to the delivery of lifesaving prescription medications, medical equipment, food, and pantry staples, stimulus checks to pay rent and utility bills, census forms, and even simply coupons to help struggling families stay out of poverty.
Mr. Connolly: (21:35)
What leader would think that even the possibility of slowing down mail in a time such as this is a good idea? What leader would take steps to freeze over time for a workforce literally risking its life every day to deliver mail to the people of this nation? 40,000 postal workers have contracted COVID-19 or been quarantined because of it. 40,000. As the new PMG, Mr. DeJoy has recklessly cut hours and delayed delivery times in the pursuit of unsupported operational efficiencies. He’s never once asked Congress for help, despite a team of members ready to provide financial and other support. The chairwoman and I, along with a collection of hundreds of members have been fighting to provide the postal service with $75 billion in support to pay overtime and hazard cost to the dedicated workforce to invest in a modernized, and green postal fleet that doesn’t explode to pay for information technology investments that can streamline communications from trucks and planes that are running late with important cross country or international mail deliveries.
Mr. Connolly: (22:42)
Mr. DeJoy, and Mr.Duncan, have failed to work with Congress to get this enacted. Thus far, the passenger service airline industry has received $25 billion in revenue stabilization, the postal service, not a dime. On August 18th, the PMG announced he would put a hold on some of these sweeping operational changes, but his announcement did not commit to reversing the cuts to service and capacity already made. It did not include an agenda to support election mail that demonstrates a commitment to helping the postal service fulfill its historic role in the upcoming election. And lastly, the PMG is still not advocating for the additional funding for the postal service, despite the fact that the Republican controlled Trump appointed Board of Governance unanimously called for that package. Not a democratic idea, a Republican dominated board unanimously recommending it. The reason operational and organizational changes Mr. DeJoy has made have resulted in delivery delays across the country, as the chairwoman just showed.
Mr. Connolly: (23:49)
And those aren’t our datas. That’s yours, Mr. Postmaster General. These delays have real impacts on real lives with real consequences, most devastatingly, the damage to the postal services credibility in a very brief time. Congratulations Mr. DeJoy. An esteemed institution that now is in doubt in the American public’s mind. I applaud my colleagues in the house for passing the Delivery for America Act bill, because we need to act. Now we need to reverse this. We need to reassure the American public that they will get their mail on time and that their ballots will get there on time and be counted. This is about the future of our democratic institutions. This is the future about the most important election in my lifetime. That’s what’s at stake today. I yield back. [inaudible 00:24:43].
Mr. Comer: (24:43)
Madam Chair? Just like to make a point that you didn’t notify our committee, that Mr. Connolly as ranking, or as chairman of the subcommittee would be delivering open remarks. That’s another example of this rush process, but I would like to ask that our ranking member of Mr. Connolly’s subcommittee also be allowed to deliver open remarks?
Ms. Maloney: (25:08)
Absolutely. The staff told me they reached out to you and your staff. It’s general that the subcommittee that has the jurisdiction should speak on both sides. I have in my notes that Mr. Hice will be, who is now the ranking member on the subcommittee of government operations will also be giving an opening statement. And I was told that they did reach out. In the future, I will personally call you myself and make sure it gets to you. I was told by staff, they talked to your staff that they had reached out to you. If that did not get to you, then I apologize. I will personally call you every time, but it is usually the standard that we make an opening statement, and the subcommittee with the jurisdiction makes an opening statement.
Mr. Comer: (25:54)
I agree. And I appreciate the chairwoman doing that. That’s again, important why we need to be prepared and not rush things like we have this postal reform bill.
Mr. Connolly: (26:05)
Ms. Maloney: (26:07)
Yes. Mr. Connolly?
Mr. Connolly: (26:09)
If I can come to your defense, it has been your practice, as chairwoman, that when it is the jurisdiction of a subcommittee, you have always allowed the subcommittee chair and the ranking member to have opening statements. That’s practice. It’s not something you sprung on us today. And I can think of at least four examples. Mr. Raskin’s one, Mr. Rod is another and they’re ranking members. So, it’s actually the practice of the committee under Chairwoman Maloney to do just that.
Mr. Comer: (26:36)
And Madam Chair, if I may, I agree that it’s practice. We just weren’t notified. And it wasn’t on the agenda item that we received, but we appreciate that, and Mr. Heist, it’s my understanding, is prepared to deliver an impromptu opening statement.
Ms. Maloney: (26:53)
Okay. First of all, I want to thank Mr. Connolly for pointing that out and also pointing out the double standard that businesses such as the airlines and others are receiving federal aid in the Heroes Package and the COVID Relief Package, but the vital services from our post office that so many people depend on a lifeline to Americans across America. They deserve to be funded to. I now recognize the distinguished subcommittee chairman Mr. Hice for government operations for an opening statement, and you are recognized Mr. Hice.
Mr. Hice: (27:30)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I appreciate that. And yes, we were not notified of this, but I’m happy to take a few moments. Again, here we are having a hearing after a vote. I think this is absolutely disgusting. Certainly, we have had many votes without bothering to have a hearing, but I don’t ever recall having a vote to so-called fix something and then have the hearing afterwards. This is a unprecedented. And again, to me, I believe is an example of political malpractice on the side of the Democrats. We are here to talk about the postal service and Madam Chair, I’m glad you brought up the Heroes Act, because in itself, in the Heroes Act, I believe is the unveiling of what the Democrats are really trying to do. And that is themselves to fraudulently influence the upcoming election. In the Heroes Act is a requirement for universal mail in ballots in the Heroes Act is a requirement that states cannot be involved in requiring voter ID.
Mr. Hice: (28:46)
And so we’re going to have tens of millions of ballots sent out all across the country, to many people who perhaps are deceased to people who have moved to people who knows who they are. And states are not going to be able to have any voter ID, if the Democrats had their way, and they were going to have the ballot harvesting take place. This is what’s at stake, and I agree with chairman Connolly saying that this is the most important, this is what is at stake. And if the Democrats have their way in this election, it will be filled with fraud. It will be filled with confusion. It will be filled with lawsuits because that’s what is in the Heroes Act to produce, if the Democrats have their way. And thankfully, that bill is not going anywhere any further than the bill that was passed Saturday before the hearing.
Mr. Hice: (29:45)
Then we could talk about delays at the USPS. Well, we haven’t even had hearings only USPS, since I believe it was April of 2019. And now all of a sudden we were called in for an emergency over this whole thing. We had a briefing in April of this year, not a hearing. It was a briefing. And the purpose of that briefing was to discuss the delays at the postal service due to COVID-19. And yes, there have been delays and yes, there are thousands of USPS workers who are not showing up for work due to COVID-19. Are we surprised that there are any delays? Of course not. We had a briefing to discuss that just a couple of months ago. The Postmaster General has nothing to do with COVID-19. Had nothing to do with it coming, nor does he have anything to do with thousands of his workers not showing up. We also have cities that are rioting.
Mr. Hice: (30:47)
Of course, there is delays in many of those cities be in Minneapolis or Portland or Chicago or LA or wherever it may be. The fact of the matter is the bailout that passed on Saturday in the House of Representatives, is pointless, it refuses the opportunity to have any reforms. And so we have a postal service right now that has $14 billion cash on hand, another $10 billion available to them with the treasury. And they can’t even get access to the 10 billion because they have too much money, cash on hand. And yet we pass a bill for another 25 billion. And in that bill, we disallow them from making any changes. It doesn’t matter how much money we keep throwing at the postal service. If we don’t allow for reform to take place, which is what is desperately needed. So, with that, I do look forward to this hearing, going forward.
Mr. Hice: (31:49)
I fully anticipate a lot of political theater from my friends on the opposite side of the aisle. I do anticipate the continued attempt to portray a conspiracy that does not exist when in fact it is their own party that I believe are fully committed based upon the Heroes Act and other comments to influence this upcoming election using fraudulent methods. And with that Madam Chair, I’ll yield back. And I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to speak. [inaudible 00:32:25]
Ms. Maloney: (32:30)
I now recognize Mark Walker to introduce our first witness, who is a constituent of congressmen Walker’s.
Mark Walker: (32:38)
Thank you, Madam Chair Maloney, and ranking member Comer. It is my privilege to introduce Mr. Louis DeJoy, the Postmaster General of the United States. Mr. DeJoy has earned the respect of both charitable and business communities. Since its creation in 2005, that the DeJoy Wos family foundation has positively impacted thousands of people. Duke University, the Colon Health Center for Children, police foundations, just to name a few, I was actually present when Mr. DeJoy was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Triads Junior Achievement Business Leaders, the world’s largest organization educating K to 12 students on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Just this past week, I received, in the mail, the family contribution, the sponsorship of family services of the Piedmont, which serves 18,000 children and adults, many of those battling domestic violence issues. Yet maybe the most impressive act by this family, is the one established for students for title one schools, the Scholars Program at Elon University.
Mark Walker: (33:41)
You see, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of these students who come from some of our most impoverished areas. It’s not something Louis flaunts, it’s just something he does. Throughout his professional career Louis DeJoy has garnered a reputation as a genius in the logistical innovation and supply chain field. As the CEO of new breed logistics, he took a broken trucking company from New York to North Carolina and transformed it into a prominent us provider in contract creating close to 9,000 jobs. Maybe that’s why he was unanimously appointed to the position by the USPS bipartisan board of governors. Mr. DeJoy has been on the job about two months, but he’s being blamed for implementing reforms. Congress has passed.
Mark Walker: (34:28)
For example. Well, back in 2006, it wasn’t Mr. DeJoy who passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. It was actually Congress. The leading sponsor on this bill. Well, he’s the one with the biggest picture in the room. Former chair of this committee, Henry Waxman. Today, Mr. DeJoy will be viciously attacked with questions and false accusation, one member even suggesting impeachment. That’s original. How sad is it when the cancel culture has reached the halls of Congress? The man sitting before this committee today is not who the Democrats have villainized him to be he’s here today because he-
Mr. Walker: (35:03)
… Democrats have villainized him to be. He’s here today because he supported President Trump. And with this Congress that makes you a target. Over the past month the DeJoys have endured protest outside his home with hundreds of people blocking streets and frightening their neighbors. Sadly, in this day and age, an industry leader with a passion for service can be persecuted in the court of public opinion for his apparent political affiliation. As the circus unfolds today remember that Louis DeJoy is a community minded philanthropist, an industry leading businessmen and most importantly, a man with a good heart doing his best to serve his country. Mr. DeJoy, I want to commend you for being here today. Many of your accusers didn’t extend the same courtesy, but unlike the senator from Delaware, let’s hope they at least know how to mute themselves. Thank you, Madame Chair, I yield back.
Ms. Maloney: (35:50)
Thank you. Our second witness is Robert Duncan, who is the Chairman of the Postal Services Board of Governors. He was appointed to the Board of Governors by President Donald Trump in August of 2018, and his term expires in December of 2025. Please stand and raise your right hands. Do you swear or affirm that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. DeJoy: (36:20)
Ms. Maloney: (36:20)
Let the record show that the witnesses affirmed this in the affirmative, and without objection your written statements will be part of the record. With that, Mr. DeJoy, you are now recognized for your testimony.
Mr. DeJoy: (36:43)
Good morning, Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Comer, and members of the committee. I am proud to be with you today on behalf of the 630,000 dedicated women and men of the United States Postal Service. On June 15th, I became America’s 75th Postmaster General. Since that time, for a variety of reasons, there has been a great deal of attention to the postal service by our elected officials, the media and the American people. I want to begin by assuring this committee and the American public that the postal service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nations ballots securely and on time. This sacred duty is my number one priority between now and Election Day. To be clear, we will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied upon for years. Nevertheless, I encourage all Americans who choose to vote by mail to request their ballots early and to vote early as a common sense best practice.
Mr. DeJoy: (37:56)
As part of this conversation there are many inaccuracies about my actions that I wish to again correct. First, I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment. Second, I did not direct the cutback on hours at any of our post offices. And finally, I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime. I did, however, suspend these practices, to remove any misperceptions about our commitment to delivering the nation’s election mail. Any further assertions by the media or elected officials is furthering a false narrative to the American people. Now let me describe the two actions I have taken in 70 days since my appointment. I came to the postal service with decades of experience in solving large and complex logistical problems. I plan to use this experience to help lead the operating change required for the postal service to grow and embark on a path of sustainability.
Mr. DeJoy: (39:03)
On the day of my swearing in, the Postal Service Inspector General issued an astonishing report about the schedule delays in postal service transportation, and a substantial cost associated with our weaknesses in this fundamental operating principle. Upon review, I directed the postal service operations team to develop and execute on a plan to improve our adherence to the transportation schedule of our over 40, 000 trips a day. We have accomplished this goal as our on time departures are approaching 98% and wasteful extra trips are down by over 70%. While we have had temporary service decline, which should not have happened, we are fixing this. In fact, last week, service improved across all major mail and package categories and I am laser focused on improving service for the American public.
Mr. DeJoy: (39:59)
The second of two changes I made as Postmaster General was installing a new organizational reporting structure to better align talent and resources, to instill greater accountability for performance, and to focus the organization on service and growth. These two changes creating our new on time transportation network and designing an engaged functional organizational structure will be the catalyst for significant improvements in cost, performance, and growth that I plan for this vital American institution. Madam Chairwoman, the women and men of the postal service have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to our mission of service 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 in delivering the medications, benefit checks, and financial statements the public depends upon.
Mr. DeJoy: (40:56)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a public outpouring of support for our postal employees as they perform their essential service throughout the nation. This is a well-deserved testament to their dedication. Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Comer, I hope we can agree that the financial state of the postal service is unacceptable and needs to be fixed. 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. Thank you.
Ms. Maloney: (41:34)
Thank you very much for your testimony. And we will now recognize Chairman Duncan. You are now recognized for your testimony and he will be appearing remote. Chairman Duncan, you are now recognized.
Mike Duncan: (41:48)
Thank you. Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Comer and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to speak today. My name is Mike Duncan, and for the past two years, I’ve had the honor of serving as the Chairman of the United States Postal Board of Governors. Throughout my life, I’ve looked for ways to help and strengthen and support institutions that are important to American communities. That’s why I spent five years on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board, why I serve on Alice Lloyd College, why I’ve served on numerous boards and commissions in Kentucky and at a federal level. When I accepted this position, I did so because of my admiration for the United States Postal Service and its public service mission. I spent my life in rural Appalachia, and I know how important the postal service is in communities like mine.
Mike Duncan: (42:38)
I also know the postal service provides important jobs for more than 630,000 Americans, which at one time included my own grandfather who delivered mail by horseback in East Tennessee. Since I joined the board, I’ve made it a point to get on the road to visit postal facilities, to meet workers, speak directly with our customers, union members, union leaders. These conversations have only deepened my understanding for and of the importance of the postal service. Serving on the board of governors of this institution is a significant responsibility. The governors, by statute, represent the public interest. That means I’ll always remember its special role in our nation. And it means I can never forget the challenges that are putting us at risk.
Mike Duncan: (43:29)
These challenges should come as no surprise to members of this body. On two occasions, I’ve sent you the postal services annual report to Congress. In each of those communications I wrote that, “The postal services business model is broken and will only produce widening losses in the coming years absent dramatic change.” Last fall, Postmaster General Megan Brennan notified the board of her impending retirement, and in response the board immediately recognized that we would be faced with the most important decision we would make as governors, the selection of a new postmaster general.
Mike Duncan: (44:07)
The board agreed that the postal service would benefit from a transformational leader, one who could help us build upon the inherent strengths and confront its longstanding challenges. Postal service is an amazing institution and we can do a lot to make it better, but we’re unable to fix our broken business model or control our own processing without the help of Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission. What we can do is increase our efficiency and cut down on unnecessary expenses. We can also focus on marketability and modernization while reducing some expenses. Business as usual is not an option. It’s for these reasons that after an organized, deliberate, and thorough search process, the board selected Louis DeJoy to serve as our 75th Postmaster General of the United States.
Mike Duncan: (44:59)
He’s the fifth Postmaster General since 1971 to join the institution from the private sector, and we believe the private sector experience that he has will be an asset, identifying ways to improve the postal service. In addition, Mr. DeJoy has decades of experience in improving and managing sophisticated logistic chains. The Fortune 100 company was a major contractor for the US postal service for more than 25 years. He has a deep knowledge about the institution and how it can be strengthened. Back to postmaster general, the board has confidence in the postal services ability to perform for the American people in this election season. Five years from now, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the American postal service. Throughout our nation’s history this institution has delivered for the American people. Now we have a sacred responsibility to preserve, defend and strengthen this organization for generations to come. Thank you for your time. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to your questions. Thank you.
Ms. Maloney: (46:07)
Thank you for your testimony. I now recognize myself for questioning. Mr. DeJoy, we have all been flooded with concerns and complaints from our constituents about the delay in the mail, and in the vote on my bill, Delivering For America on Saturday, 26 Republicans voted with us and they expressed the same concerns. People depend on their mail for their medications, for business, for keeping in touch with their families. It’s critically important, and we’ve seen headlines across this nation from many, many states, headlines, major news from our states about the delay in the mail. It’s been said it’s a major institution in our country. People depend on it. And over the weekend we obtained this internal document, and it is dated less than two weeks ago on August 12th.
Ms. Maloney: (47:12)
And it’s entitled, Service Performance Measurement for the PMG Postmaster General Briefing. Now your office already confirmed to my office that this document is authentic. So let’s go through a little bit of it now. This document clearly shows major degradations across the board, beginning in July, when you started your changes. Here is the document for first class mail, and overall it is down an astonishing 8.1% from the baseline before your changes for the past two months, beginning in July.
Ms. Maloney: (48:06)
Now the second one, the next slide is the marketing mail. And that is down a stunning 8.42%. Now the next, and it’s on the wall for you can see it better, the next periodicals, and that is down almost 10% down 9.57%. So, Mr. DeJoy, you and your aides have repeatedly downplayed these delays. You just downplayed it in your testimony, but this is just a disaster for the people who need their mail. Don’t you agree?
Mr. DeJoy: (48:52)
Ms. Maloney: (48:52)
Would you turn on your mic, we can’t hear you. Thank you.
Mr. DeJoy: (49:00)
We are very concerned with the deterioration in service and are working very diligently. In fact, we’re seeing a big recovery this week, and in fact that report, I requested that report be put together. Oddly enough, we didn’t have measurement briefings at the executive level like this before my arrival, where the whole executive team was involved in looking at what the underlying circumstances were, and we’re focused on fixing it. We’re starting to see a nice recovery and we will have it back to … My goal is to get it to a high level. We were not meeting metrics before with this change, this fundamental change, we have a real good shot of getting to the state of metrics that we are supposedly governed by.
Ms. Maloney: (50:01)
Well, you just testified that you’ve been on the job 70 days.
Mr. DeJoy: (50:08)
Ms. Maloney: (50:08)
So this is essentially your report card for that period of time. If any other CEO had this kind of plummeting record in his first two months on the job, I can’t imagine why he would be kept on.
Mr. DeJoy: (50:27)
That’s an unfair accusation-
Ms. Maloney: (50:29)
May I continue? When you testified on Friday, senators asked you over and over about the status of these delays. They also asked you to produce analysis about the negative impacts of your changes. It would have been easy to mention to the senators that this document existed. You could have said, “As a matter of fact, Senator, I just received a detailed briefing and unfortunately the data shows major delays in nearly all categories,” but you didn’t do that. You dismissed these nationwide delays as, “A dip,” and you refused to turn over any analysis. So my question is, why didn’t you disclose this document and any analysis to the Senate when you had it, and they were asking for it?
Mr. DeJoy: (51:28)
They asked me for it on Friday. They asked me for an analysis on my decision. I did-
Ms. Maloney: (51:35)
Of the delays, the delays. I watched the testimony. They wanted announce, why are these … all these delays?
Mr. DeJoy: (51:41)
Well, there’s a lot of reasons for delays besides just the action that I took to run your trucks on time. There were other reasons for the delays in the nation.
Ms. Maloney: (51:54)
Well, I would say running trucks on time would probably increase delivery, but for some reason it backed it up five to six days [crosstalk 00:52:02] into the district that I represent so reported. But Mr. DeJoy on August 14th, this committee sent you a 10-page letter, along with the chairs of ranking members of three other committees, and we asked you to produce all communications and I’m quoting from the letter, “All communications, evaluations, assessments, or reports regarding mail left behind or delayed as a result of these new policies that you instituted.” We asked for these documents by Friday and on Friday night, you did produce some documents to us, but you did not produce this one. And so my question is, why did you leave this important internal document from the postal professionals that was delivered to you and briefed to you two days before the Senate hearing? Why did you leave it out?
Mr. DeJoy: (53:05)
I am not familiar with the request in total or how we supported it. I’m sure the staff answered the questions as they were asked. And let me, just for the record, clear up, I did not … that is not a policy change. That is a request that we run our 40,000 trucks a day on schedule and your intuition is right. You would think that the mail moved faster and it did. A good portion of it moved faster, right? We’ve also … I was sitting there looking at a report that talked somewhere between 1 billion and $3 billion worth of costs wasted on our truck trips being out of schedule. It was an easy request that I spoke with every senior executive in the organization.
Ms. Maloney: (53:55)
My time is limited and I’m concerned why we didn’t receive any of this information. And I have to just say that Mr. DeJoy, we sent our letter two days after you received this briefing and this document. It must have been fresh on your mind. There’s absolutely no excuse for concealing it and withholding this information from the committee or from your testimony before the Senate, when you were expressly asked questions about the information in the document. And unfortunately this committee received it from someone else. So Mr. DeJoy, you’re withholding information from us, concealing documents and downplaying the damage that you’re causing.
Ms. Maloney: (54:43)
So let me close with this. This committee expects a full and complete production of all the documents we requested no later than this coming Wednesday. And if you continue to withhold information or otherwise fail to comply, you can expect a subpoena. Now I know many of our members plan to ask about how you intend to fix the problems, the problems you created, and reverse these horrible trend lines. So we will get to those questions next. With that, I now recognize the distinguished ranking member for his questions. Saying that Virginia Fox will be the first to respond. Virginia Fox from the great state of North Carolina.
Virginia Fox: (55:38)
Thank you, Madam Chairman. Madam Chairman, I do note that you’re going over time a great deal, but Postmaster General DeJoy, thank you very much for being with us today. Some claim the expedited industry afternoon sortition pilot and your changes are deliberative efforts to slow down mail and hurt postal service employees. Is that true?
Mr. DeJoy: (56:06)
Virginia Fox: (56:08)
Are you banning employees from charging overtime or are you trying to limit unplanned overtime to ensure the postal services viability?
Mr. DeJoy: (56:18)
At this time, no, ma’am and no time since I’ve been here.
Virginia Fox: (56:22)
Thank you. Postmaster General DeJoy, as a logistics expert, and I believe that Representative Walker outlined your expertise very well, what does the consistent use of unplanned overtime and the need for extra trips mean in terms of the efficiency of operations?
Mr. DeJoy: (56:48)
Well, besides costing substantial amounts of money for the postal service, in terms of billions of dollars, it is also … does not keep the system, the delivery system, in balance, which also results in late delays in mail and in equilibrium in our production processes across the whole network.
Virginia Fox: (57:16)
Can more efficient on time operations result in better delivery performance?
Mr. DeJoy: (57:21)
Virginia Fox: (57:24)
And does unplanned overtime hinder the postal services ability to stay financially viable?
Mr. DeJoy: (57:30)
Virginia Fox: (57:34)
My husband and I have experienced some very, very inefficient services on the part of the post office in the last few weeks. I’m not going to go into those details, but I want to applaud your approach to accountability. And what we know from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle is they run away from accountability in every case in the federal government or in allied services like the post office. So let me applaud you for pushing on accountability. Mr. DeJoy, as we’re all aware, the postal service is not a government agency that receives appropriations. In fact, it is law. The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 created the US Postal Service as an independent and self sustaining entity. Postmaster General DeJoy, do you believe that is your duty to uphold this law and ensure that the USPS is self-sufficient?
Mr. DeJoy: (58:34)
Virginia Fox: (58:36)
And what will it take to make the USPS self-sufficient?
Mr. DeJoy: (58:44)
Legislation, with regard to our health care Medicaid integration and our pension reform, flexibility from the PRC, at least we have to get a decision from them. We’re in the 14th year of a 10-year analysis. The postal service itself is a library of OIG reports, identifying flawed practices and billions and billions and billions of dollars of costs waste that this committee … nobody seems to pay attention to. And then our postal service, our management team itself delivering … helping fix ourselves both in terms of service and costs. And we have a plan now to do that. And part of it includes running our trucks on time.
Virginia Fox: (59:36)
And these OIG reports have come from Democrat presidents and Republican administrations both. Is that correct?
Mr. DeJoy: (59:44)
Virginia Fox: (59:45)
Thank you. If you have no operational flexibility, can you possibly make the postal service self-sufficient?
Mr. DeJoy: (59:52)
I think we have a very, very good shot. We have some new revenue ideas for the postal service also. We have it, we’re beginning to finalize the plan, I need to brief the board, but I’m very, very excited about the management team under our new organizational structure. I’m excited about the dedication of the 650,000 men and women. And I think we can embark upon, with a little help from this Congress, we are about to embark upon some significant, exciting future for the postal service. I believe in a six day delivery. I think the carrier is … with our postal carriers, the relationship with the American people is what is the most important ingredient and giving us the approval rating that we have. And we have plans to really enhance that relationship and to help our growth.
Virginia Fox: (01:00:53)
Well, again, I want to thank you for bringing your expertise to become the Postmaster General of the United States. You have the exact background that we need and the commitment that we need to make the post office work the way Americans want it to work. Thank you, Madam Chairman and Ranking Member. I yield back.
Mr. DeJoy: (01:01:13)
Ms. Maloney: (01:01:14)
Thank you. I now recognize Congresswoman Norton. Congresswoman Norton by Webex.
Congresswoman Norton: (01:01:19)
Thank you very much, Madam Chair. This hearing is very necessary to clarify matters that were left open when we took the vote already on this bill. Mr. DeJoy, in your testimony you suggested that the coronavirus was having an, and here I’m quoting, “A significant issue in employee availability in many, many parts of the country.” If that’s the case, sir, I want to know why you’d be reducing overtime. Isn’t overtime even more necessary to postal employees during this national emergency, during the pandemic with so many people at home, given what you’ve already testified to about the insignificant issue in employee availability across the country?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:02:32)
Congresswoman Norton: (01:02:32)
Why wouldn’t overtime be necessary to make up for all of that?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:02:37)
Thank you, ma’am. Since I’ve been here, we’ve spent $700 million in overtime. The overtime rate before my arrival was at 13% within the organization, it’s still at 13%. As I said in my opening statement, this is a continued misinformation regarding what I did since I’ve gotten there. I have never put a limitation on overtime.
Congresswoman Norton: (01:03:03)
Well, that’s very important testimony, Mr. DeJoy, because in some states we’re seeing 10 times the normal volume of mail. And I’d like to ask about additional resources two weeks before the election. Is expanded allowance of overtime one of the items under consideration when you have already announced you will bring, “Additional resources to bear,” in two weeks before the election, does that include expanded overtime? Indeed, wouldn’t it have to?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:03:41)
Yes, yes, ma’am, it does. The 650,000 men and women of the postal service are very committed to having a successful election in our role in the election, overtime, extra truck trips, postal inspection checks, rounds in each postal processing facility [crosstalk 00:01:04:04]-
Congresswoman Norton: (01:04:05)
That’s very important. That’s very important for the record, that expanded overtime will be allowed in the two weeks before the election. My next question is on a PMG postal service document we have received. This is what it said, and why my questions were necessary. I’m quoting now, the document titled PMG expectations and plan. “Overtime will be eliminated.” There you see it before you. “Again, we are paying too much for overtime and it is not cost effective and soon will be taken off the table. More to come on this.” We asked your general counsel and he claimed that that came from a mid-level manager and should not be treated as an official statement of postal office policy. So I ask you, would a postal manager send this document without some kind of word from you or from the top of the agency? And can you explain who this was and what … give us the name of the manager?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:05:19)
I have … thank you. I have purposely not tried to find out who that was, but there are many ways that people interpret-
Congresswoman Norton: (01:05:27)
You have tried not to find out who that was?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:05:29)
That’s right. I don’t know, that was not a directive from me. There is 850 managers within the organization. This is one of the reasons I changed the organization quickly after the rollout of the truck schedule. There was very, very confusing-
Congresswoman Norton: (01:05:49)
So are you looking for whoever it was who jumped ahead of you in issuing that to all your … to all your employees?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:05:59)
Congresswoman Norton: (01:06:01)
And which you will give that name when you find it to the chair as well. In a statement on August 18, you stated overtime has and will continue to be approved as needed. I want to understand as needed, what that means. Can postal managers and employees continue approving and using overtime as they did before your tenure began, or are there any changes since you took office?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:06:39)
Same as prior to me being here.
Congresswoman Norton: (01:06:43)
Have you issued any internal guidance to that effect, and would you provide it to us please?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:06:50)
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the question.
Congresswoman Norton: (01:06:53)
I asked, have you issued any internal guidance to that effect that the employees continue to approving and continue to approve and use overtime?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:07:04)
I never issued a guidance against that effect, but everybody … the organization-
Congresswoman Norton: (01:07:09)
Are you intending to issue any guidance to the effect that employees-
Mr. DeJoy: (01:07:12)
Yes. I’ve told the executive team, the operations team, they know there is no different process-
Speaker 2: (01:07:20)
Mr. DeJoy: (01:07:21)
… than prior to my arrival.
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:26)
Okay. The general … time is completed, you may-
Congresswoman Norton: (01:07:31)
Madame Chair, can I just ask that he provide you any written guidance on overtime?
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:36)
Okay [crosstalk 01:07:36].
Speaker 2: (01:07:36)
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:39)
I make that request on behalf of the committee. I now recognize Mr. Gosar, Congressman Gosar.
Congressman Gosar: (01:07:47)
Yeah. Can you hear me and see me?
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:50)
Yes, we can.
Congressman Gosar: (01:07:52)
Okay. Thank you-
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:53)
We can hear you but we don’t see you.
Congressman Gosar: (01:07:55)
Mr. DeJoy, thank you-
Ms. Maloney: (01:07:55)
There. There you are.
Congressman Gosar: (01:07:57)
Okay. Mr. DeJoy, thanks very much for coming today and I want to clear up some obvious political disinformation that the majority is actually putting out. So, and then I also want to say thank you very much for acknowledgement of the dip in services, but we’ll get to that in a few minutes. On Saturday on the house floor, my colleagues at the post office were on the verge of collapse, but that’s not true. You have over $10 billion cash on hand, and access to a $10 billion line of credit, which makes you fiscally viable through August 2021. Is that true, Mr. DeJoy?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:08:30)
Yes, but I would say that only in Washington, DC would that be a good position to be in when I have $135 billion in liabilities at two and a half billion dollar a month … a week, biweekly payroll and a whole bunch of others, but yes, we can get through the election and with the loan, should we take it, I don’t know how we would pay it back, but should we take it, we should be fine until mid ’21.
Congressman Gosar: (01:09:03)
So now isn’t it true that you’re actually generating more revenue at this time of the year, then you also did last year and you’re processing more … successfully processed an uptake in mass mail, government items, such as a stimulus checks. And the question about the census question are balanced. Is that true?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:09:23)
We’re seeing more revenue, mostly due to package increase. Mail products are down 15% or so on average, but package volume is up substantially, but package volume is very costly for us to handle it in an over capacity method.
Congressman Gosar: (01:09:42)
So now, do you believe that the money on hand successful seeing that you said the mail volume is down by 15% and the hard work of the over 600,000 postal workers, that you can handle the slight election increases that you will possibly see?
Mr. DeJoy: (01:09:59)
I will be very, very clear that the 650,000-
I will be very, very clear that the 650,000 men and women we are working with, our union leadership, our management team, our employees, we will be able to handle all election mail for the 2020 election.
Speaker 3: (01:10:16)
So now I want to go back to this slowdown related to the pandemic. I want to highlight that this week, the president of the Phoenix Postal Workers Union stated that it was suffering from these pandemic workforce strains, that no processing machines have been removed during your tenure, and that you saw the United States Postal Service process over 700,000 ballots in our recent primary election. Let me ask you a question, Mr. DeJoy: have you had slowdowns or impediments like in Seattle and Portland and New York city and Chicago because of the rioting and the anarchy that’s going on?
Well, so any kind of rioting does produce delays with any type of public service, so I don’t have a specific measurement on that. But I will say this, that as the coronavirus cases throughout the country have expanded, it has had an impact on our employee availability and in the urban areas that are hot spots. The averages don’t play out what the real picture is like in areas like Philadelphia, where employee availability is significantly below normal run rates and what it has been in the pandemic. We actually started to peak in terms of employee availability issues in the July timeframe.
Speaker 3: (01:11:46)
Now I want to go back to, you paused any policy changes to the postal service such as the elimination of overtime, prohibiting extra trips, hiring freezes, and removing sorting machines. Is that true?
The extra trips, and they weren’t prohibited. It’s true on everything else, but the extra trips. My direction was we need to work on getting our trucks on schedule and mitigating our extra trips. We still run 700, 800 extra trips a day, and we still have thousands of truck trips that run late. So it wasn’t a flat directive. It was worked to our plan. That was my directive, come up with a plan to work through our plan. So the management team put the plan together and executed on their plan. But everything else I had nothing to do with. There was a longstanding plan on collection boxes and sorting machines and postal hours that was ongoing really in the areas that were taking care of that.
Speaker 3: (01:12:51)
So another quick question: is the Pony Express still available today?
I’ve been here 70 days, sir. I’m searching for the good. I haven’t seen that yet, though, so I think it’s gone.
Speaker 3: (01:13:07)
I’m all under technology as it changes. And any transfer of new ideas, it always goes smoothly, doesn’t it, Mr. DeJoy?
Speaker 3: (01:13:18)
A transition where you’re trying to make changes always go smoothly, doesn’t it?
The gentleman’s time has expired, but you may answer his question.
Transitions don’t always go smoothly. We should have a recovery process. Our recovery process is taking too long. This should have been resolved in a few days and it’s not. So the impact is a lot of reasons, there are a lot of things that are impacting our service. This is one of them on the front end, and we should have cleared it up quicker and I think we have the focus on it now, and it will recover quite rapidly going forward.
Thank you. The chair now recognizes Mr. Clay. Congressman Clay.
Thank you for conducting this hearing. Thank you, Madam Chair, for conducting this hearing. Mr. DeJoy, of the most damaging results of your actions is the reports we have heard over and over again from people and families across the country who are not getting their mail-in medications on time, and it’s heartbreaking. The postal service delivers hundreds of millions of prescription drugs and meds each year. That is millions of shipments per day, six days a week, of vital medicines delivered. [inaudible 00:05:18]-
We’re having a technical problem right now with Mr. Clay. We can’t hear you, it’s breaking up. Should we go to someone else and go back? Okay. Mr. Clay, we’re going to try to correct what’s … There’s a problem, we can’t hear you.
Literally a [inaudible 00:05:45]-
We’re going to hold your testimony.
Should we go forward or not? Okay.
This problem got aggravated during the coronavirus crisis because mail order=
Madam Chair. For the sake of time, let’s move on.
Okay. Mr. Clay, we’re going to hold up on you and go to Mr. Lynch and then go to a Republican and come back to you. We have technical difficulties. Mr. Lynch, Congressman Lynch, you are now recognized.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. DeJoy for attending. Mr. DeJoy, you’ve been the postmaster general of the United States for a couple of months right now?
70 days, okay. So I’ve been a member of this committee for about 20 years. And since my mom and two of my sisters, a bunch of my aunts, cousins, my in-laws all worked at the post office, some of them are retired, some of them are still there, as a member of Congress, you might say I’ve been compelled to take a keen interest on matters affecting the postal service. I’m also a former president of the ironworkers union in Boston, so you can get a sense of my perspective. It’s a blue collar, common sense, get your work done perspective.
So Mr. DeJoy, as the postmaster for the United States of America for the last 70 days, did you know that the postal service has never allowed itself to be in the situation that it’s in today? Throughout the postal service history, there’s been a tradition of reliable delivery from the very beginning. Article One, Section Eight, Clause Seven in the United States Constitution. Going back to Ben Franklin, our first postmaster general, the Pony Express has been mentioned before. I was actually watching a Ken Burns special last week, and he had these heart-wrenching letters that were back and forth from soldiers during the Civil War. So even at a moment when the country was at war with itself, the mail was delivered. During the first World War and the Spanish influenza of 1918 through the Great Depression, millions of people out of work, a thousand bank failures, the mail was delivered on time. Even during the second World War with the threat of Nazi U boats, international mail was delivered on time.
Just so happens I was elected on 9/11, the day of the terrorist attacks on our nation, a God awful day. Some people forget, in the days after 9/11, we had direct anthrax attacks on the United States Postal Service. We lost two brave postal workers, Joseph Curseen and Tom Morris down at the Brentwood facility here in DC from anthrax inhalation. But for the good of the country, the postal unions continue to send their members into the post office to do that job to keep the country running.
So two weeks ago after you’d been postmaster for just a few weeks, that all changed. In the middle of a pandemic that has killed 170,000 Americans and on the eve of a national election at a time when the CDC is advising people not to gather, limit outside contact, the postal service started removing 671 high-speed mail sorting machines across the country. You stop the APWU from sorting the mail and you stop the national letter carriers and mainlanders from working overtime to deliver the mail. And for the first time in 240 years in our history of the United States Postal Service, you send out a letter embarrassingly in July to 46 states that said, “The post office can’t guarantee that we can deliver the mail in time for the elections in November.” And we have reports from across the country, as you acknowledge, service has been delayed and the mail is piling up. You have ended a once proud tradition.
Now, as a member of the oversight committee, we have the chief investigative committee in the Congress. We conduct oversight on every matter that impacts the American people, foreign and domestic. There are members on this committee who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan a couple dozen times. They’ve been to Yemen, Somalia, Gaza, you name it. They literally go to the ends of the earth to investigate matters that affect the American people, especially when it involves our sons and daughters in uniform. In this moment, it is our postal workers who happen to be our men and women in uniforms. They are on the front lines of this pandemic. Throughout this pandemic, they’ve risked their own health and safety to deliver or try to deliver mail, medicines and mail-in ballots to every American home in business, six days a week.
As a member of this August committee, I’m supposed to ask you a question. In my heart, I’m tempted to ask, after 240 years of patriotic service delivering the mail, how can one person screw this up in just a few weeks? Now, I understand you bring private sector expertise. I guess we couldn’t find a government worker who could screw it up this fast. It would take them a while. The president is running this post office like a business, like he said. He’s running it into the ground, as he has declared bankruptcy a few times on his own businesses. In an effort to apply the facts, the real facts, not the alternative facts, based on what you have actually done, one can only reach, as a fact finder, we can only reach two conclusions. One, either through gross incompetence, you have ended the 240 year history of delivering the mail reliably on time. Or the second conclusion that we could gather is that you’re doing this on purpose and that you’re deliberately dismantling this once proud tradition.
The gentleman’s time has expired. The General may answer his question. Thank you.
My last question is this: what the heck are you doing? What the heck are you doing?
Thank you, sir.
The gentleman’s time has expired.
Thank you, sir.
The gentleman’s time has expired. The General may answer.
First of all, I would like to agree with you on the heroic efforts of all 650,000 employees across the nation, and the history of the postal service for the 250 year history of serving the American public.
Will you put the machines back?
I’m very proud to lead the organization. The rest of your accusations are actually outrageous.
Will you put the high-speed machines back?
No, I will not.
You will not?
You will not. Well, there you go.
There I go what? Those machines have been [crosstalk 01:22:14]-
Order, order, order, order, order. The gentleman may answer the question without being interrupted. And the question is, will you put the machines back?
The answer is no. And every accusation you made other than adhere to the truck schedule is inaccurate and more misinformation for the American public.
You won’t put the machines back, though. You took them out.
Speaker 4: (01:22:39)
Mr. Jordan is now recognized. Congressman Jordan, is he here? Congressman Jordan.
Speaker 4: (01:22:46)
I believe that’s not the order.
What? No, it’s Palmer. Congressman Palmer. I’m getting different signs up here. Why don’t we go back to the old way that you write it down? Because it keeps changing. Okay. Congressman Palmer is now recognized.
I thank the chairman. And I just want to point out a Washington Post article from August 26, 2015, almost five years to the day, that there was a decline in first class letter delivery of 18% to 44%, and a 38% decline in the performance over the same time in 2014. This was during the Obama Biden administration. The United States Postal Office in 2012 started closing dozens of mail shorting facilities. From January to June of 2015, there were 494 million pieces of mail that did not arrive on time. A 48% increase in delayed mail delivery. And I’m sure that that was intended to impact the 2012 election, yet this committee didn’t see fit to look into that. Mr. DeJoy, these will be yes and no for the most part. Is there any way the post offices can know whether or not ballots that they are delivering to households or to eligible voters? Is there any way for the post office to know that?
I bring that up because there’s analysis of data released by the US election assistance commission in 2019 in a recent US Census Bureau’s five-year American community survey, there were 378 counties nationwide that have more voter registrations than citizens living there who are old enough to vote. These are counties where the registration exceeds 100%. In Iowa, there are at least 18,658 extra voters under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Judicial watch sent notice of violation letters to 19 large counties in five states: California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado. Real clear politics reported that Los Angeles County had an estimated 1. 6 million ineligible voters, and 38 states have counties where the voter registration is over 100%, including Montgomery County, Maryland, which represented my distinguished friend, Mr. Raskin.
The same article cited a 2012 Pew study that found there are 24 million voter registrations that are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. Pew’s total included 1.8 million dead people and another 2.75 million who were registered in at least two states. New York, for instance, in this most recent primary that impacted your race, Madam Chairman, had 84,000 ballots, over a fifth of all the ballots I think cast, 12,000 in your race that were disqualified. So my question to you, Mr. DeJoy, is there any way to be sure that more ballots than a household should be eligible to receive are not being delivered?
I’m sorry, say that again?
Is there any way for the postal service to determine whether or not a household is getting more ballots than they should be?
We’re focused on delivering the mail [crosstalk 01:26:10]-
So the answer’s no, there’s no way to know that. And if there was some way to know that, I’m sure the postal inspectors would get involved.
Speaker 5: (01:26:19)
Okay. So let’s try that again. Once it calls you, it tells you-
Madam Chairman, is that my time?
What’s going on?
I think the Chinese have hacked in or something.
Okay. What is that noise?
Ma’am, the clock is still running.
Madam Chair, can his time be restored?
Speaker 6: (01:26:42)
Yeah, we’ll give you extra time.
We will give you adequate time to-
Okay. Have we resolved this, do you think?
What is the problem? What is it?
Speaker 6: (01:26:53)
They’re just trying to deal with technical. We’ll give you extra time. Keep going.
Do you have extra time? We have some technical problems.
Thank you, Madam Chairman. And I do appreciate your indulgence, thank you. The Census Bureau reports that 11% of Americans move each year, Section Eight of the National Voter Registration Act, which was passed by the Democrats in 1993, signed by President Clinton and voted for by Mr. Cooper and Mr. Clay and Madam Chairman Maloney, requires states to perform voter registration maintenance. It is really the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that states and local governments make sure their voter rolls are accurate, that they have removed deceased people, people who have moved or inactive voters.
And it should be noted that the Obama Biden administration did not bring a single Section Eight enforcement action during their entire term. That makes the post office task of only delivering balance to eligible voters more difficult. My point is, is that you’ve been accused of trying to impact on the election when the fact of the matter is, and for those people who’ve never had a real job out of business, what you’ve been trying to do is improve the performance of the post office so that what happened in 2015 does not continue to happen. And the accusations are that you’re trying to throw the election. When the fact of the matter is the fact that the federal government has not done its part, particularly during the Obama Biden administration, to ensure that the voter rolls are accurate, has made your job more difficult. It’s really not your job, is it? One way or the other.
Can we count on the post office and the delivery personnel around the nation to not deliver mass ballots, stacks of ballots, to an address where the delivery person knows that there’s nobody there? An abandoned house, an abandoned apartment complex, a business. That would be reported, wouldn’t it?
We deliver mail to the address specified.
And if dozens or hundreds of mail-in ballots are dumped into blue mailboxes instead of left in regular mailbox for pickup or dropped off at the post office, would it make sense to report to the postal inspectors, make sure that those ballots are legitimate?
There are processes that the postal inspectors deploy. I’m not fully aware of what they are right now, but there are processes that the postal inspectors deploy to identify any fraudulent type of activity within the mail system.
Well, we need to make sure that this election is not tainted by fraudulent mail imbalance. And Madam Chairman, I’m going to do something that I rarely do. When Mr. [Gosher 01:29:42] mentioned the burned out … the riots in Portland and Seattle and other places around the country, there was a chuckle from one of the Democrats on this committee, and I take offense at that. This is a picture of the burned out post office in Minneapolis. Okay? There was mail in that post office that was lost. There may have been prescription drugs that were lost. There may have been social security checks in that office that were lost. It is a fact that not only is the mail delivery delayed when you have anarchists laying siege to cities all over the country, it endangers postal workers, delivery people. It may have endangered people’s lives who were not able to get their medicine because it burned up in the Minneapolis post office. That’s not funny. And I hope that the Democrats in this committee and in this Congress will take seriously what’s happening in American cities. I yield back.
Gentleman yields back. We’re still having difficulty connecting with Congressman Clay. I now recognize Mr. Cooper. Congressman Cooper.
Mr. DeJoy, here’s what your so-called reforms have done to my district in 70 days. A lady named Elena Roser paid $5 on July 22nd to send a certified letter to the Nashville, Tennessee social security office. The distance is 20 miles. The letter took 12 days to arrive. Just this morning, excellent reporting from Nashville’s Channel Five TV proves that Nashville’s mail trucks are being forced to leave on schedule even when completely empty. Imagine it: 53 foot trucks forced to travel hundreds of miles, completely empty, due to your so-called reforms. Here are the truck records. That’s not efficiency. That’s insanity. For anyone thinking of voting absentee, the effect of your policies is to unilaterally move up election day from November 3rd to something like October 27th. And if you force more empty trucks on the highway, you will be able to single-handedly move up election day even earlier.
According to NPR, already 550,000 primary ballots, absentee ballots, were rejected in just 30 states, and one of the main reasons was late delivery. How dare you disenfranchise so many voters when you told the Senate committee just last week that you had a sacred duty to protect election mail. You know that it’s a felony for a postal service officer or employee to delay delivery of mail. A postal employee can be fined or imprisoned for up to five years for delaying the mail. But somehow you can delay all the mail and get away with it? They can be prosecuted, but you can’t, even if your actions are a million times worse? Mr. DeJoy, do you have a duty to obey US law like every other American?
I do, sir.
Well, previous postmasters general have been punished for much smaller conflicts of interests than yours. In 1997, the 70th postmaster general Marvin Runyon from Tennessee had to pay $27,000 because of a $350,000 conflict of interest. If your $30 million conflict of interest, a hundred times larger than Mr. Runyon’s, were treated like your predecessors, you would have to pay a $2.7 million fine and probably be ousted from being postmaster general. So Mr. DeJoy, are you above the law that applies to other postmasters general?
I don’t agree with the premise. I’m in full compliance with all ethical requirements that I need to have. And there’s an OIG investigation, and I welcome the result of that report.
Well, Mr. DeJoy, as a mega donor for the Trump campaign, you were picked along with Michael Cohen and Elliott Broidy, two men who have already pled guilty to felonies, to be the three deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Did you pay back several of your top executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign by bonusing or rewarding them?
That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it.
I’m just asking a question.
The answer is no.
So you did not bonus or reward any of your executives-
Or anyone that you solicited for a contribution to the Trump campaign?
Not in whole or in part?
Actually, during the Trump campaign, I wasn’t even working at my company anymore.
Well, we want to make sure that … Campaign contributions are illegal. So all your campaign contributions were legal?
I’m fully aware of illegal contract campaign contributions.
Well, what if-
And I resent the assertion. So what are you accusing me of?
Well, I’m asking a question. Do your mail delays fit Trump’s campaign goal of hurting the post office, as stated in his tweets?
I’m not going to answer-
Are your mail delays implicit campaign contributions?
These types of questions. I’m here to represent the postal service. It has nothing to do with … All my actions have to do with improvement as a postal service. Am I the only one in this room that understands that we have a $10 billion a year loss? Am I the only one in this room-
Will you give this committee your communications with Mark Meadows, with treasury secretary Mnuchin and with the president?
[crosstalk 01:35:42] do that?
Mr. DeJoy, is your backup plan to be pardoned like Roger Stone?
Oh, golly. Pitiful.
You have two seconds to answer the question.
I have no comments on that. It’s not worth my time.
I see my time has expired.
It’s not worth the comments.
Gentleman’s time has expired. Representative, the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Steube, is recognized for five minutes. Congressman Steube.
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, Madam Chair. First of all, as a veteran who served in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to compare postal workers to our military service members in Iraq or Afghanistan, quite frankly, to me is offensive. Last time I checked, postal service drivers weren’t getting their vehicles blown up by IUDs or being shot at as they drove around and delivered mail. So to try to compare our military service members who sacrificed on the battlefields across this world to our postal service members is frankly offensive as a person that had served. It’s unfortunate that there are Democrats on this committee that have 100% politicized the postal service to try to stoke fear with the American people. But we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s a familiar theme for Democrats over the last two years. A subcommittee chairman of this committee, when asked on national television, and I quote, are you saying, say it directly, is this an attempt by the president you believe to interfere in the election? The answer was, absolutely. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that President Trump is using the postal service to interfere with the election. None, in fact, quite the opposite. But Democrats don’t care about the facts. So here we go again. It seems like just yesterday we were hearing how the Trump campaign colluded and conspired with Russia to interfere with the last election. And when the facts actually came out, there was no evidence that that ever occurred. This is absolutely a concocted narrative by the Democrats to stoke fear in the American people just like the Russia collusion hoax.
Financial issues have plagued the postal service for decades and is vastly in need of reform. Mr. DeJoy just stated that $10 billion loss a year. Businesses couldn’t operate that way. But the Democrats don’t want real reform. If they did, they would have worked with our witness today. They would have worked with Republicans in crafting a bill. They would have worked with our counterparts in the Senate. They would have worked with the administration to actually come up with reform that would actually pass. This is a political stunt to further the Democrats’ newest interference hoax.
I represent nine counties in Florida, and just last week we held our primary elections. Florida saw the largest turnout in a presidential election year primary since 1992. That was 18 years. About 2.3 million mailing ballots were cast, which made up about 59% of all ballots cast. Initial reports indicate that there were minimal issues with the additional ballots handled by the postal service. There were no issues in my nine counties with absentee ballots in this district that I’m aware of. Mr. DeJoy, would it be fair to say that the postal service successfully delivered during the Florida’s primary last week?
The 2.3 million mail-in ballots that were cast in Florida are a significant amount for one state. What are the factors that led to the postal service being able to deliver the substantial increase in mail-in ballots on time?
When it comes to ballots, the postal service, prior to my arrival and the heightened awareness of this particular election, throws everything it has at moving ballots through the system. The ballots are usually identified with special markings, and every employee and manager is very much focused on making sure that ballots move quickly through the process, sometimes in advance of first-class mail. So those particular processes were deployed and will be deployed as we come into the 2020 election.
And am I correct in stating that Florida has a reasonable timeframe for postal service to return the ballots, as opposed to some states that just allow ballots to be requested the last minute, therefore delaying their ability for the postal service to get those ballots to the precincts in time?
Thank you. And that is a big part of the effort of the postal service. Prior to my arrival and since my arrival, and the purpose of sending out the letters to all the states with regard to what … We just want to make everybody aware of, what is it that will really work? We can put all these additional processes on, but it would be more helpful if we had reasonable standards from the election boards that comply with our processes to enable us to do it more efficiently and effectively.
So to clarify, do you need any additional funding to be able to successfully deliver ballots in Florida this November?
No, we do not, sir.
Are there any lessons that other states can learn from the way that Florida handles our ballots in absentee voting?
Well, I’m not particularly familiar with Florida, but our general counsel has put out letters with regard to each state’s election guidelines. We have a website that’s just been posted on the normal process. And in general, I will say, on behalf of 650,000 postal workers, get your ballot early and please vote early. And that is just common sense. But Florida had a good process, so I’m sure their electoral board procedures were good. We can’t do this all by ourselves, so we would appreciate every state’s help in reviewing their standards and taking the advice of the postal service general counsel and what’s on our website.
Thank you. The gentleman’s time has expired. We now recognize Mr. Clay. If we’re still having connection problems, we will be going to Mr. Connolly. Mr. Clay.
Hi, Madam Chair. I hope you can hear me now.
Yes, we can.
All right. And thank you for conducting this hearing. Mr. DeJoy, let me start with a question. Before you implemented your changes, did you conduct any analysis of the effect your changes would have on delaying prescription drug shipment, the delivery of those shipments to your customer? Did you analyze that before you implemented these changes?
Sir, we have a whole operating organization that I asked to put together a plan, and it wasn’t a change. It was comply with your schedules. And when we could comply with our schedules, I reviewed this with every regional area VP on a discussion that they were ready and they rolled it out. I’m not the COO, I’m the CEO of the organization. But I received commitment that we would be able to roll forward with the plan to committing to our existing schedule.
Okay. Mr. DeJoy, let me say this: prioritizing on time truck departures means letter carriers leave without all of their packages, including medicine on board. Our critical medicines like refrigerated insulin is reportedly sitting in sorting facilities days longer than expected. Did you examine the effect of your changes on medicines like insulin that require special storage?
Sir, at no time did I say don’t put the mail on the trucks when they left on time. This was not a hard, direct, everything must leave on time. We still have thousands of trucks a day that leave late within a certain timeframe. And there are still hundreds of extra trips. So the intention was to put the mail on the trucks and have the trucks leave on time. That should not have impacted anybody.
What about the impact, Mr. DeJoy? What about the impact of missing that insulin and having it sit on …
Mr. Clay: (01:45:03)
… [inaudible 01:45:00] of missing that insulin, and having it sit on a floor somewhere, and it may spoil or whatever. At least we know it will be delayed. Did you all give that any consideration?
We’re concerned about the impact that each individual across the country, and we’re working extremely hard to bring the service levels back to where they were, and to exceed that. And we will be there shortly.
Mr. Clay: (01:45:33)
Mr. DeJoy, we would like a copy of any and all analysis you conducted before you implemented your changes. Will you provide them to this committee?
I will go back to the office and see what the operating team has on that, and will seek to do so.
Mr. Clay: (01:45:54)
Great, and while you’re at it, Mr. DeJoy, do you have any information on the number of prescription drug shipments that the postal service has delivered late since you began implementing these changes and will you provide that information to the committee by the end of the week? Can you [crosstalk 01:46:20]-
I’m not aware of what we have on specific types of shipment. I’m sure we have something. I will take a look at it, but again, I want to remind you that the changes is misleading and what I ask is that the team find a way to run trucks on a schedule, which intended, the intention was that we put the mail on the trucks and we ran them on schedule.
Chair Maloney: (01:46:44)
Okay, thank you, Mr. Clay, and we now recognize-
Speaker 7: (01:46:58)
Chair Maloney: (01:46:59)
Speaker 7: (01:47:00)
Could I just ask unanimous consent? Mr. Lynch asked me to enter into the record a set of data from the American Postal Workers Union with respect to mail volume and the reduction in advanced [inaudible 01:47:14] systems, delivery bar code sorters, automatic flat sorting machine 100s, and flat sequencing systems in its mail processing facilities?
Chair Maloney: (01:47:26)
Speaker 7: (01:47:27)
I thank the Chair.
Chair Maloney: (01:47:28)
Thank you. Mr. Norman from South Carolina is now recognized. Mr. Norman?
Mr. Norman: (01:47:35)
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. Mr. DeJoy, I just want to apologize to you. You’re getting a berating up here. Congressman Lynch going into a five-minute dialogue, would not give you time to answer your questions, was yelling over you. It’s typical of how this hearing has gone, and what’s amazing to me is that this bill had to be rushed out this past Saturday. Do you remember, did you know that 67 members did not even take the time to show up?
Mr. Norman: (01:48:06)
If your workers at the post office don’t show up, what happens? They don’t get a paycheck and the mail doesn’t get delivery. It’s an insult to what the Democrats are trying to do. A false narrative that has not worked for them since this president was elected. The Mueller Report, the impeachment, none of it’s working. Now, they’re going fishing for this. I apologize to you. Let me get some yes or no answers.
Mr. Norman: (01:48:33)
Are you and the postal service actively removing mail boxes at the behest of President Trump to undermine the election? Or as President Obama said, “kneecap the postal service?”
Mr. Norman: (01:48:47)
Was the US Postal Service going to be insolvent before the election if you did not receive the $25 billion the Democrats insisted in including in their bill?
Mr. Norman: (01:48:57)
Is the United States Postal Service equipped to handle voting by mail for the November election?
Mr. Norman: (01:49:04)
Are you unlocking blue boxes to stop the mail?
Anything with blue boxes has stopped. Yeah, so.
Mr. Norman: (01:49:12)
Congressman Palmer showed pictures of the burned out mail boxes and the cities on fire, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Sacramento, New York. Would that kind of slow the post office delivery down?
There’s certain actions and procedures that we have for situations for public unrest that we deploy, a variety of different things. Up to and including getting our collection boxes out of there when it happens, but I don’t know all of everything that goes with that, but yes, it would slow down the mail.
Mr. Norman: (01:49:49)
It’d slow it down and the safety of the delivering, the person delivering the mail is pretty much an issue now, isn’t it?
Mr. Norman: (01:49:57)
The welfare of the person delivering mail in the burned out cities would kind of be a problem, wouldn’t it?
Absolutely. Our letter carriers have hazardous jobs in many cases.
Mr. Norman: (01:50:13)
Were you consulted on this all-important bill we had to take up this past Saturday to add your expertise?
I think our Legislative Affairs people had some interaction to comment on it.
Mr. Norman: (01:50:33)
And you made a good statement. You’re not the Chief Operating Officer, you’re the CEO. You’ve been on the job 70 days. To be accused of everything you’ve been accused of is simply not right, it’s unfair. I’m glad the American people are getting a front row seat to what you’re having to endure. I yield back.
Chair Maloney: (01:50:54)
Gentleman yields back, Mr. Connolly is now recognized.
Mr. Connolly: (01:50:57)
Well, my, my, my. You’re right, you’ve been on the job 70 days, and you’ve caused this much ruckus. And believe it or not, that’s called accountability. That’s why he’s here today. That’s why we passed the bill. If he wasn’t consulted, it’s because he was the inspiration of the bill. A dubious distinction, nonetheless. Mr. DeJoy, when did you take office? You were announced I think in May, but when did you actually take over the job as Postmaster General? What day?
Mr. Connolly: (01:51:35)
June 15th. And you’ve seen this data. On or around that time is when we see a roughly 8% decline in service, in the postal service, which most people would say correlates to the reorganization and operational efficiencies you undertook. Do you think that’s a fair characterization?
I think there’s a lot of different issues going on within the country that have impact mail delay, including the actions that we took with regards to transportation. I think the organizational change was made because of the poor… was accelerated because of the poor rollout.
Mr. Connolly: (01:52:22)
Yes, I understand. But-
I think that will strengthen the recovery.
Mr. Connolly: (01:52:27)
… of course, we all live in a context, don’t we, Mr. DeJoy?
That is true.
Mr. Connolly: (01:52:31)
You’re in the context of the worst pandemic in 100 years, 176,000 Americans dead, 40,000 postal employees who have gotten the virus or quarantined because of it and sadly, a few dozen dead. And we’re on the eve of a massive shift to voting by mail. 76% of all Americans live in a state they can vote by mail. 70% of Americans want to vote by mail. 50-60% intend to vote by mail, and along comes this. Now, let’s stipulate that your motives were pure, that you came at this like a normal private sector CEO. You see some problems, you want to create some efficiencies and save some money and make us work better.
Mr. Connolly: (01:53:16)
Wouldn’t you think though that you might take into consideration the context? And if you didn’t, as a good CEO when you saw unintended consequences, which your testimony would have us believe, these were unintended, you’d take measures quickly to ameliorate the unintended consequences, namely scaring the public half to death about the reliability of the postal service, lots of anecdotal if not empirical data that in fact, it materially affected the delivery of mail. As the new Postmaster General, you don’t want to be seen as the guy who actually damaged the 244 reputation of the postal service and scared voters into believing that their ballots won’t get there on time because of your service, do you?
So, I understand the context, and I think when we look in terms of the context, it was the summer time. Mail volume was down significantly, so it was not… We’re getting ready for the peak season, and the election was three months away.
It was a good time to start to try and roll this out. Again, the request was just run your trucks on time. Put in a plan to run your trucks on time. Okay? I mean, the impact… Let me just say, the impact is probably about… for that, because if the mail gets processed and a truck leaves, that mail will move on the next truck or the next day, right?
Mr. Connolly: (01:54:47)
So, these long stories of nine days and so forth, we’re not impacting that.
Mr. Connolly: (01:54:52)
Forgive me for-
Most service levels, if we add one day, we would be back-
Mr. Connolly: (01:54:56)
Forgive me for interrupting you, but I have limited time. That’s why I have to interrupt you. You made a statement before the Senate the other day, to Senator Gary Peters. You’ve had no contact with the Trump Campaign during your tenure. Is that correct?
I’ve had no contact with the Trump Campaign. I mean, I’ve spoken to the President. I’ve spoken to Steve Mnuchin. I’ve spoken to other people, but I have not… I have not spoken to anybody about the postal service.
Mr. Connolly: (01:55:27)
Did you not tell the Board of Governors this month in August that in fact, you had had contact with the Trump Campaign, to ask them to stop their attacks on the postal service and voting by mail?
I have put word around to different people to please… that this is not helpful to-
Mr. Connolly: (01:55:44)
So, you did have contact with the Trump Campaign? For a good purpose? But you did-
I’m trying to think of where. When you say the Trump Campaign, I’ve not spoken to the Trump Campaign leadership in that regard. I’ve spoken to people that are friends are mine, who are associated with the campaign, yes.
Mr. Connolly: (01:56:11)
One of whom was Steve Mnuchin?
Steve Mnuchin is Secretary of Treasury.
Mr. Connolly: (01:56:15)
I never spoke to Steve about telling the President to not do something.
Mr. Connolly: (01:56:22)
Thank you, Mr. DeJoy.
Chair Maloney: (01:56:24)
The gentleman’s time has expired, but you may answer his question.
Okay. What was the question?
Mr. Connolly: (01:56:30)
I’m sorry, the question was, what conversations did you have with the Secretary of Treasury, Mr. Mnuchin, about the postal service? Your hiring and the consequences that seem to have unfolded with these operational efficiencies?
The conversations I had with the Secretary were, when I came here, we had this note that was kind of stuck in the mud, and I worked with him to get the note done. And it was really… I’m going to try and control costs and grow revenue, and it was very high-level thing, and let’s try and get the deal done, so we have the loan. That was really it.
Chair Maloney: (01:57:11)
Thank you, Mr. Jordan is now recognized.
Jim Jordan: (01:57:14)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. DeJoy, was it the postal service’s fault that it took six weeks after the June 23rd, Chairwoman Maloney’s primary election for her to be declared the winner? Was that your guys’ fault?
I’m not filled with the details, but I know it took a long time.
Jim Jordan: (01:57:32)
But I’m asking, that wasn’t your fault, was it? It was the Board of Elections.
Jim Jordan: (01:57:36)
Was it the postal service’s fault that New Jersey was still counting ballots four weeks after the primary election last month?
Jim Jordan: (01:57:43)
How about the Democrats’ Iowa Caucuses? Was that the post office’s fault that we didn’t know who won the… I don’t know if we still figured out who won the Democrat Iowa Caucus. Is that the post office’s fault?
Jim Jordan: (01:57:54)
So, just a couple of facts, I just want to be clear. You’ve got $14 billion cash on hand, you’ve got a $10 billion line of credit. Is that right?
Jim Jordan: (01:58:04)
And changing out the sorting machines and removing and changing out mail collection boxes is nothing different than has happened before, right? Every Postmaster General, every year, we do those sort of things. Is that right?
Jim Jordan: (01:58:19)
Yeah, so there’s no different. In fact, what was the number? I think between 2011 and 2016, it was like 12,000 mail collection boxes that were removed, changed out by the Obama/Biden administration. Is that right?
It was a lot, I don’t know.
Jim Jordan: (01:58:31)
Yeah, it was a lot. And you didn’t order a reduction in overtime or a reduction in hours, I think you testified to that earlier.
I did not.
Jim Jordan: (01:58:36)
So why are these guys out to get you? What is it?
They have their own concerns. I assume they’re legitimate with them, and-
Jim Jordan: (01:58:47)
Well, you assume they’re legitimate? Why are they out to get you? I mean, Mr. DeJoy, they’ve had people protesting at your house last night. They’ve been doing it for weeks. 90 some of these people have already called for you to resign! They passed the bill before they even talked to you, before they even had a hearing.
Jim Jordan: (01:59:05)
They’re not interested in any bipartisan solution as evidenced by the fact the Chairwoman wouldn’t even contact the White House Chief of Staff, who had a bill that he worked on with the previous Chairman, the late Chairman Cummings, a bipartisan bill to address concerns at the post office. So I’m asking you, why are they after you?
Jim Jordan: (01:59:22)
First of all, you were appointed by the Board of Governors, right?
I was appointed by unanimous appointment, by a bipartisan Board of Governors.
Jim Jordan: (01:59:31)
Unanimous vote, bipartisan, not all Republicans. Democrats thought you were the right guy for the job, right?
Jim Jordan: (01:59:37)
So, why are they out to get you?
I have no idea. I do have a lot of support out there, amongst the employees and people in America though. I receive it every day.
Jim Jordan: (01:59:50)
You’ve got an amazing record in business. You’ve got an amazing history of community service, you help kids with their education, serve your community, serve our country, and these people are out to get you. As the Wall Street Journal said, “This is one giant conspiracy from the Democrats.” I just want to know, what could be their reason? What could it be, Mr. DeJoy? We know it’s not based on the facts. What could it be? Might it be politics, might it be?
Jim Jordan: (02:00:22)
Might it be the election coming up? Might it be the fact that they actually want to wait and count votes after election day? Maybe they want six weeks after the election, maybe they want to be counting votes six weeks after the election, the presidential election, the biggest election we’re going to have. Maybe they want to be counting votes six weeks after, like they did in the Chairwoman’s race, or four weeks after, like they did in New Jersey. Or maybe they want to wait forever, like they did in the Democrat Iowa Caucuses.
Jim Jordan: (02:00:48)
Might that be the reason? The chaos and the confusion that we saw with all three of those elections? Maybe that’s what they want. Could that be the reason, Mr. DeJoy?
I don’t know what motivates people to have different opinions of me.
Jim Jordan: (02:01:04)
Well, they’ve called you all kinds of names today already. Protesting outside your house. They were there last night, weren’t they?
Jim Jordan: (02:01:10)
Banging pots and pans outside your house, disrupting your neighbors, disrupting you?
Jim Jordan: (02:01:15)
When the facts, the facts as you’ve testified, are not anything close to what they’ve been saying for the last three weeks, what they said Saturday on the House floor. We know what this is about. We all know what this is about. This is about these guys wanting chaos and confusion, because I think they know this. I think they know on election night, President Trump’s going to win. They know on election day, the vote count on election day, President Trump’s going to win, and they want to keep counting. Six weeks, four weeks, Iowa Caucus, whenever… I don’t know when they decided that one. I still don’t know if they’ve declared a winner. I don’t know if it was Bernie or Biden or whoever was running then.
Jim Jordan: (02:01:50)
That’s what they want, and they’re willing to go after a guy like you, who has served our country, served his community, helps kids with their education, amazing record in business. They’re willing to go after you and you’ve been on the job 70 days, and everything you’ve testified is nothing new, that’s been done by… The same thing’s been done by other Postmaster Generals. Yet, they’re coming after you, because that’s how much they want to get this president. It’s disgusting, and we all know what’s going on, and the fact that you know it too, you won’t say it. I think that shows your character as well, but I’ll say it, because it’s the truth. And the American people understand it and see right through it. I yield back.
Chair Maloney: (02:02:28)
The gentleman yields back. Congressman Krishnamoorthi, you’re now recognized.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:02:32)
Good morning, Mr. DeJoy.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:02:34)
Before becoming Postmaster General, I believe you appropriately resigned from being the finance chair for the Republican National Convention, correct?
I did, sir.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:02:43)
And I say you appropriately resigned because even in your written testimony, you said, “We should keep the non-partisan tradition of the USPS,” and in this case, occupying a high level political post at the same time you’d be occupying a high level USPS post would create at least appearance problems if not more, right?
Yes, sir. I also think I couldn’t hold both positions.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:03:09)
Yes, sir. Mr. Duncan, are you on the line, sir?
Mr. Duncan: (02:03:17)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:03:19)
Mr. Duncan: (02:03:21)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:03:22)
Yes, sir. As Chairman of the Board, you are one of the highest ranking officials at the USPS, correct?
Mr. Duncan: (02:03:30)
As Chairman of the Board, I am a member of a part time board that is Senate confirmed [crosstalk 02:03:36]-
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:03:35)
But you’re the Chair of the Board, you’re the highest ranking official at the USPS. I’d like to point out that you are also on the board of two Republican super PACs. Namely, the Senate Leadership Fund and American Crossroads, correct?
Mr. Duncan: (02:03:51)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:03:52)
And I just went to the USPS website, sir, and I looked at your bio, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out on your official government bio at the USPS website, you said, “As RNC Chairman, he,” namely, you, “raised an unprecedented $428 million and grew the donor base to 1. million, a record at the time.” This is on your official government USPS bio. Mr. Duncan, I have a couple other questions for you. In your written testimony, you mentioned that an outside research firm called Russell Reynolds Associates was contracted to find the “best person for the job of Postmaster General,” correct?
Mr. Duncan: (02:04:39)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:04:42)
You further noted in your testimony that Russell Reynolds reviewed 212 candidates and then they narrowed the search to 53 after they reviewed those people’s bios and backgrounds and they vetted them, correct?
Mr. Duncan: (02:05:00)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:05:01)
And interestingly, according to David Williams, the former Vice Chairman of the Board, the former Inspector General for 13 years at the USPS, as well as a published report over the weekend, Mr. DeJoy was not among the 53 presented to the Board. Either one, Russell Reynolds considered Mr. DeJoy and decided there were 53 better candidates than him, or Mr. DeJoy was not considered by Russell Reynolds at all before presenting the 53 finalists. Which was it, Mr. Duncan?
Mr. Duncan: (02:05:36)
We were still in the process of developing a pool before we had our first round interviews at that point.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:05:42)
I understand. You’re talking about the first round of interviews, the round of 14. But you don’t dispute, obviously in your answer, that Mr. DeJoy did not make the initial cut of 53 finalists presented to the Board but he was inserted into the round of 14, not by merit, but his connections. It would be the same as an NCAA team not making the round of 64, but then swooping in to the round of the Sweet 16, and that’s what happened here. So, let me ask you this question. Mr. Williams repeatedly asked the Board to do a background check on Mr. DeJoy by the postal inspection service. Do you know what the postal inspection is, sir?
Mr. Duncan: (02:06:28)
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:06:30)
And you and the board refused to do that background check, and that was not shared with the Board [crosstalk 02:06:37] before they voted. Now, let me turn to my final set of questions here. Mr. Duncan, you were once quoted in a Republican fundraising letter saying, “The Obama/Biden Democrats and their liberal special interest allies are trying to steal their election victories from Republicans.” I assume you still believe that about Joe Biden and the Democrats, sir?
Mr. Duncan: (02:07:01)
I have no knowledge of that fundraising letter.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:07:03)
Yes, sir. It’s in this CNN article that quotes you directly, right here, and then we have another article from the Las Vegas Sun. It says again, you wrote in a letter, “Democrats will soon be trying to pad their totals at ballot boxes across the country, with votes from [crosstalk 02:07:22] voters that do not exist.” Do you [crosstalk 02:07:24] still believe that to be the case, Mr. Duncan?
Mr. Duncan: (02:07:26)
What are the dates of these letters?
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:07:29)
This article is from the Las Vegas Sun, from 2008. Do you still believe this, the sentiment?
Mr. Duncan: (02:07:37)
No. I don’t believe anyone at this point who is nominee of the major parties is trying to steal an election.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi: (02:07:44)
Thank you, that would be in contravention of what the President said in a tweet on August 20th. “They are trying to steal this election, the Democrats.”
Chair Maloney: (02:08:00)
The gentleman’s time has expired, but the gentleman may answer.
Mr. Duncan: (02:08:01)
Well, let me respond. There were lots of false premises in making a cut. The process worked that we had lots of people who put input, including members of Congress, members of the administration, all of our Board members, I think I put in a half a dozen different names. We ran into a period of time after the holidays and when COVID started that we weren’t moving as fast as possible.
Mr. Duncan: (02:08:23)
We got together, we talked about, “Well, we need to make sure that we have as many candidates as possible, because you get a better pool, you get a better choice at the end of that time.” It was during that period of time that Mr. DeJoy’s interest became or availability became known to me. I submitted that name as I had many others.
Chair Maloney: (02:08:40)
Okay, the gentleman’s time has expired. Mr. Massey, Congressman Massey, you’re now recognized. Congressman Massey. Congressman Massey, you’re now recognized, or we could then go to Mr. Higgins.
Speaker 8: (02:09:11)
Ah. Mr. [inaudible 02:09:12]?
Chair Maloney: (02:09:14)
Speaker 9: (02:09:15)
Mr. Roy, Mr. Roy.
Chair Maloney: (02:09:16)
Okay, we have some difficulty, we’re going to go to Mr. Roy and come back to Mr. Massey. Mr. Roy?
Mr. Roy: (02:09:24)
Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. Can you hear me?
Chair Maloney: (02:09:25)
We can hear you, but we’re not seeing you. Now we see you. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mr. Roy: (02:09:29)
Okay, excellent. Appreciate it, thanks for the indulgence. Mr. DeJoy, can you answer a couple questions for me. Were you nominated by the President of the United States, or were you selected by a unanimous, bipartisan board?
I was selected by a unanimous bipartisan board.
Mr. Roy: (02:09:47)
Thank you. A minute ago, my colleague, Mr. Connolly, lamented you have done “70 days of damage,” yet, Mr. Connolly, if I’m not mistaken has been on this committee for 11 years, Chair or ranker of the Government Operations committee for seven years, and given that the oversight committee held a hearing in April of 2019 about the financial condition of the USPS, why do you think Mr. DeJoy, that we are having a hearing today? 71 days before an election and 48 hours after we voted on legislation, before we had a hearing? Why do you think we’re having a hearing today?
I do not know, sir. But I will say that I am surprised at the lack of attention to the financial condition of the postal service over the last 10 years.
Mr. Roy: (02:10:36)
So, you’re saying to me that the financial condition of the postal service is nothing new? That this is something that we have known has been coming for a long time, and that the postal service has lost money for what? At least 13 consecutive years?
I think 10 years.
Mr. Roy: (02:10:55)
Okay. Mr. DeJoy, does the United States Postal Service deliver 8 billion pieces of mail a month, give or take?
Mr. Roy: (02:11:05)
And does it have about $14 billion cash on hand to manage the affairs of the postal service for right now, is that right?
Mr. Roy: (02:11:15)
If every single American voted by mail, which won’t happen, by the way, we all know that, it would be less than 10% of the total mail delivered in a given month, right? In other words, is the USPS perfectly capable of handling any amount of mail that would be attached to our election in November?
We’re very ready to handle the election mail, sir.
Mr. Roy: (02:11:36)
Mr. DeJoy, do you believe that this hearing to date so far this morning, or at any point today, will cover any of the following: the PPP extension, to ensure small businesses can survive while governments are keeping businesses shut down, the thousands of restaurants, the thousands of live music venues, the thousands of hotels, the thousands of barber shops across the country that are struggling to survive? Is anything in this hearing going to discuss any of that, to the best of your knowledge?
Mr. Roy: (02:12:07)
Are you aware of this Democratic congress pulling up any legislation to deal with these issues this month, rather than going home, but yet calling congress back on Saturday to have a hearing, or I’m sorry, have a vote before we even had a hearing on Saturday? Are you aware of that? Or is this the only thing we’ve been voting on in August?
I haven’t been following the agenda of Congress that much. I’ve had my own issues to deal with. I know this is-
Mr. Roy: (02:12:34)
Well, I appreciate that. There hasn’t been that much to follow, so I appreciate that. Are we discussing for example, human trafficking? Will that be discussed today? I’ve been asking for a hearing on the scourge of human trafficking, what we can do to stop that, I’ve been asking for a hearing on that for over a year. We’re not having that hearing today, are we? We’re having a hearing on this topic. Is that right?
I think we would be sticking to postal service matters.
Mr. Roy: (02:12:59)
That’s right. Look, Mr. DeJoy, I appreciate you being here in front of the committee, I think the fact of the matter is pretty clear. This is a political exercise. This is a show hearing. I’ve already been seeing out there on social media some of the difficulties in the technology and everything else, the fact of the matter is, we’re jamming through this for theater. We’re doing a hearing on the Monday after a vote on Saturday that has no prayer of becoming law and this is exactly what the American people are sick of. They want the postal service to operate, and you’re trying to work on trying to make it operate. We should have hearings about the health and the financial status of the postal service. We should work on legislation to improve it. There are bipartisan efforts to do that. We should actually roll our sleeves up and do that work. But by the way, I would say the same thing about the PPP. I was proud to work with Dean Phillips in June to pass the bipartisan legislation to help small businesses. Why aren’t we doing that right now? Why aren’t we doing that today? That is our job, and there are people out there who are struggling, they can’t make a check.
Mr. Roy: (02:13:58)
They can’t pay their mortgage. They’re wondering where they’re going to have their revenue in order to survive for a business they built up or to be able to employ the people that have worked for them for years. That’s what we should be working on, Madam Chairwoman, and I would just posit that this is a waste of time for the United States Congress. The American people are sick of it, and we should be allowing the postal service to go back to doing its job here, and we should be focusing on doing ours. With that, I yield back.
Chair Maloney: (02:14:21)
I thank the gentleman for yielding, and his comments, and just as a point of information, the Democratic Congress did pass the HEROES Act on May 15th, that did fund all kinds of help to people, and that is sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk, as well as this bill. So, he has a choice-
Mr. Roy: (02:14:39)
Chair Maloney: (02:14:40)
… he can move a stand alone, or he can move the HEROES Act. I now-
Mr. Roy: (02:14:43)
Madam Chairwoman, Madam Chairwoman-
Chair Maloney: (02:14:43)
… recognize Congressman [inaudible 02:14:46] Raskin. Mr. Raskin, you are now recognized.
Mr. Roy: (02:14:47)
Mr. Raskin: (02:14:47)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Roy: (02:14:48)
Mr. Raskin: (02:14:50)
I’ve got diabetic constituents who are waiting for insulin. I’ve got constituents with cancer waiting for chemo drugs to come in, but this headline really took the cake for me. Rats reported feeding on packages of rotted fruit and meat as Postmaster General’s cutbacks unleash chaos at California’s mail centers.
Mr. Raskin: (02:15:13)
This is from not some haven of liberal fake news, Business Insider Magazine. Mr. Postmaster General, why do you celebrate on-time departure of postal vehicles, if the deterioration and service that you regret has caused letters and packages left stacking up in the mail centers? Should we be celebrating vehicles going out on time if they don’t have people’s packages and letters on them and their prescription drugs?
Sir, we’re concerned with every late delivery and every package build-up, and there are a lot of contributing factors to why, and where-
Mr. Raskin: (02:15:57)
Okay, and we got your-
But let me finish. The process is an integral part of delivering mail, cost-effectively.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:09)
Okay, President Trump called the post office-
Okay, and why would we… The alternative is to run trucks late and run extra trips. Extra trips were empty also. Thousands of them, empty [crosstalk 02:16:19]-
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:19)
Forgive me, because I’ve got limited time. I can’t allow you to filibuster here. President Trump called the post office a joke. Is it a joke?
Postal service is not a joke.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:29)
Mr. DeJoy, if I wanted to become a letter carrier or a mail handler, or a postal clerk, would you hire me without a background check?
We have a process that I do believe includes a background check, so no.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:42)
Yeah, it’s compelled, right? Everybody’s got to take a background check. Except they didn’t have one for you?
That’s not true, I had background checks.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:49)
You did have a background check?
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:50)
Background checks, I got secret clearance, I had an FBI background checks, I’ve had everything.
Mr. Raskin: (02:16:54)
Okay, so you would be willing to release the background check?
No. Why would I be willing to release a background check?
Mr. Raskin: (02:17:00)
Well, that’s interesting. Let me go to Mr. Duncan about that. Mr. Duncan, would you be willing to allow Russell Reynolds to turn over the file from this process? Mr. Duncan? All right, well, let me come back to you, Mr. DeJoy. The former Vice Chairman of the Postal Board of Governors, Mr. Williams, who was also the Inspector General, also reported that you didn’t come through the normal Russell Reynolds interview process, but you were apparently the product of different nominations by different political people, and the astonishing thing about what he said last week was when you finally were brought in for that first interview, you basically interviewed the selection panel, rather than them interviewing you.
Mr. Raskin: (02:17:59)
To the point to where one of the members joked that they had better ask you at least one question so that it couldn’t be said that it wasn’t a real interview. Now, you were also reported stating that you weren’t sure that you wanted to accept the job and you needed to essentially interview them about what it entailed. What gave you the confidence that the job was basically yours for the asking when you finally met the selection committee?
Sir, I did not think the job was mine for the asking. I don’t know what Mr. Williams’ contention is or what his problem is with me. I have the-
Mr. Raskin: (02:18:37)
He was the Inspector General for 13 years at the postal service and the Vice Chair.
Oh, okay. So-
Mr. Raskin: (02:18:42)
He’s often probably part of the reports that have been stacking up that this committee hasn’t done anything [crosstalk 02:18:48]-
Mr. Raskin: (02:18:47)
Well, what do you make of the former Chairman of the Postal Board of Governors, Mr. Fineman, calling Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s involvement in the selection process “absolutely unprecedented?”
Steven Mnuchin had nothing to do with my selection, okay? I was called by Russell Reynolds-
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:05)
Did you talk to Secretary Mnuchin about taking the job? There was a report that you had lunch together to discuss this.
Totally inaccurate and outrageous.
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:12)
Before taking the job, you never talked to him about taking the job?
I talked to him about the job after I received the offer. I did not accept the offer immediately.
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:21)
Okay, but you never spoke to him before about his soliciting your interest in the job, or-
He did not solicit any interest. I kept my interest, which as you identified, you did not know that I had an interest. I had a perfectly good life prior to this, but I was interested in helping, and I was called by Russell Reynolds out of the blue to-
Mr. Raskin: (02:19:46)
Okay. One of the reasons that we have background checks, and I’ll be very interested with your permission and with Mr. Duncan’s permission to see your background check, is that we identify patterns of misconduct or potential conflicts of interest that are out there. Now, you had-
No, sir, I have no patterns of misconduct in my background.
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:02)
Let me finish my question if I could.
Speaker 10: (02:20:03)
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:20:03)
… no patterns of misconduct in my background-
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:03)
Let me finish my question, if I could.
Speaker 11: (02:20:03)
Madam Chair, he’s gone over time.
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:05)
One of your businesses was called New Breed Logistics, later XPO Logistics, which has contracts with the postal service stretching back many years-
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:20:13)
The gentleman’s time has expired. The gentleman [inaudible 02:20:16].
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:16)
Okay, well, the question is, they identified problems with contract performance and billing practices in the contract file. Would you consent to releasing that contract file so everyone can see what your business-
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:20:30)
I don’t even know what you’re speaking about [crosstalk 02:20:33].
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:34)
Are you not aware of XPO Logistics, which-
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:20:36)
I am aware of XPO Logistics.
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:37)
Okay. So do you have $30 million invested-
Speaker 11: (02:20:41)
Time, Madam Chair. He’s gone way over his time.
Mr. Raskin: (02:20:44)
Do you have $30 million in invested?
Speaker 11: (02:20:46)
He doesn’t even have to answer that-
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:20:47)
I have a significant invest in XPO Logistics, which I vetted before with the ethics department of the postal service. And I was given specific types of guidelines that I needed to adhere to. It’s a very, very small part of the postal service business I have nothing to do with, and I comply with all ethical requirements, and we have an OIG investigation. I guess they’ll get to everything that you’re interested in and we will see what will happen.
Speaker 11: (02:21:17)
Well, Mr. Raskin’s time has expired.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:21:21)
[inaudible 02:21:21] time has expired. The gentleman has been testifying for two hours. I call for a five minute break. We will resume in five minutes. A five minute break.
Speaker 12: (02:21:46)
It looks like we’re taking a brief recess.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:35:26)
Well, the recess is over. We are now back to work and our next, Representative Massie, you are now recognized.
Representative Massie: (02:35:37)
Okay. Madam Chairwoman, can you hear me?
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:35:39)
Yes, we can. We can’t see you, but we can hear you.
Representative Massie: (02:35:44)
You can’t see me.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:35:45)
Okay. Turn on your-
Representative Massie: (02:35:47)
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:35:47)
There you are, there you are. We see you and we can hear you. Okay.
Representative Massie: (02:35:51)
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:35:51)
Mr. Massey’s now recognized.
Representative Massie: (02:35:53)
All right. Okay. Madam Chairwoman, I ask unanimous consent to submit to the record two press releases from the US Post Office. The first one’s from April 28, 2011. The second one is from February 23rd, 2012.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:36:07)
Representative Massie: (02:36:11)
All right. I want to read some excerpts from these press releases and then ask Chairman Duncan to respond to the press releases because these are from Kentucky. In 2011, the post office announced, and I’ll read this, as a result of a study begun in September, 2010, the postal service has made the decision to move mail processing operations from the Ashland processing and distribution facility to the Charleston, West Virginia processing and distribution facility. What this means is here in Eastern Kentucky, when we mail our next door neighbor, the envelope goes to Charleston, West Virginia, before it comes back to our next door neighbor.
Representative Massie: (02:36:51)
I want to read from this other press release from the US Post Office, the Kentuckiana district. It says, and this is February 23rd, 2012, as a result of studies began five months ago, the postal service has made the decision to move all mail processing operations from the Bowling Green, Kentucky moved to Nashville, Compton, Kentucky, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Hazard, Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Our second largest city lost their mail processing facility in 2012. Paducah, Kentucky moved to Evansville, Indiana and Somerset, Kentucky, Knoxville, Tennessee. So this was in 2012. This was an election year and this was while Obama was president and Biden was vice president.
Representative Massie: (02:37:39)
I want to read a quote from chief operating officer, Megan Brennan, at the time. The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly under utilized infrastructure. Consolidating operations is necessary if the postal service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation.
Representative Massie: (02:38:03)
Now the Democrats have cooked up this conspiracy theory that the post office is now somehow going to be at fault for disenfranchising voters or suppressing votes because, and the media is complicit in this, they’ve shown video of mail sorting equipment being moved out of facilities. Well, here I’ve just mentioned 10 facilities in Kentucky that were shut down in an election year. And so I want to ask Chairman Mike Duncan, Mr. Duncan, do you believe this in 2012 was part of some conspiracy to disenfranchise voters in the 2012 election or part of some conspiracy to keep people from getting their medication or social security checks?
Chairman Mike Duncan: (02:38:47)
Congressman, I have no knowledge of the conspiracy that would keep people from voting or getting their social security checks. But as a resident of that area, I know that it’s added to the number of days it takes to send or receive a letter.
Mr. Raskin: (02:38:59)
Right. And I believe you know the chief operating officer Megan Brennan, she was the CEO in 2010, and then became postmaster general. Do you question her motives in the course of these operations?
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:39:16)
No. I worked very closely with Megan Brennan when she was the chief of this organization and she has great integrity. She knows the system, she’s been an operations person, she was a letter carrier. She worked her way up. She leads post office [inaudible 00:19:31].
Mr. Raskin: (02:39:32)
And she has a business degree from MIT, I would add. So this wasn’t a part of any kind of conspiracy then, it was a part of realigning the infrastructure of the post office to the changing needs of the US customer.
Mr. Raskin: (02:39:46)
And I just want to close by highlighting some irony and hypocrisy. Postmaster General DeJoy, how long will the post office be funded if there’s no more transfers of cash to the post office? How long can you operate?
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:40:05)
Sir, would you turn on your mic, please?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:40:08)
Representative Massie: (02:40:11)
Okay. Late 2021. So at least for one more year. I hope that members of this committee are aware that the US Government ceases to be funded on September 30th of this year. So we’re holding a hearing about a post office that’s funded for fully another year. Meanwhile, we’re not even in town because Speaker Pelosi isn’t concerned that government funding ends on September 30th. Everything but the post office shuts down on September 30th at midnight if we don’t do something.
Representative Massie: (02:40:44)
Also one other element of irony and hypocrisy, our democratic governor shut down 95% of the voting precincts in the state. And now Democrats are somehow trying to blame the post office for disenfranchising voters. And with that, I will yield back.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:41:01)
Gentleman yields back. We now recognize our Congressman Rouda.
Congressman Rouda: (02:41:07)
Thank you, Madam Chairman let’s level set for the thick headed individuals that don’t understand why we are here today. Let me sum it up for you. First and foremost, mail is being delivered late at the expense of those who need prescriptions, at the expense of small businesses who need the supplies to stay in business or reopen for business, for social security recipients, and veterans who need their benefits.
Congressman Rouda: (02:41:35)
That’s the first reason, the second reason, we’ve got a President of the United States who says that mail-in ballots are fraudulent, and if he doesn’t win the election, it’s because it was fraudulent. We know that’s not true, we know that’s a lie, and that life continues to be continued by members in this committee on the other side of the aisle. Third, we know from a memo from Mr. DeJoy to 46 states telling them they should be worried about receiving mail-in ballots to their voters on time and for them to be returned back in time to be counted. And fourth, we’re here because of the United States Postal Service has requested financial help from this institution.
Congressman Rouda: (02:42:15)
Let me turn to my questions. Unlike any private enterprise, the postal service has a universal service obligation to deliver mail to virtually every address in the United States regardless if it’s profitable or not. The postal service also has ridiculous mandate to pre-fund in 10 years time 75 years of retiree health benefits, unlike any other private or public institution. Mr. DeJoy, in your testimony you stated that you are against the pre-funding mandate. The Trump appointed board of governors, postal workers, and senators on both sides of the aisle are against that mandate. As you know, there is a bipartisan bill sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk that would eliminate the pre- funding mandate and free up tens of billions of dollars for the US Postal Service.
Congressman Rouda: (02:43:06)
Here’s some free business advice. Pick up the phone, please call Mitch McConnell. Because one vote, in one stroke of a pen by this president would free up billions of dollars for the US Postal Service to be able to accomplish the opportunity to revitalize that organization for decades to come.
Congressman Rouda: (02:43:26)
I have some questions about your business plan. It’s standard practice as an executive to come in, meet with your team, and develop a strategic plan before executing operational changes. This was the plan that was released in May, just before you became postmaster general. Did you make any written modifications to this plan since you have taken office?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:43:50)
First of all, sir, you’re incorrect on my position on the pre-funding of the healthcare. In my written statement that-
Congressman Rouda: (02:43:58)
I know, you support it.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:43:59)
I support it.
Congressman Rouda: (02:44:00)
Yes, I said that. Yes, you do support it. I recognize that. But back to my question, have you made any modifications to this business plan?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:44:07)
Well, I’m working on making modifications to that business plan.
Congressman Rouda: (02:44:10)
Yes. In fact, on August 13th, developing a strategic plan to achieve operational excellence and financial stability. Is that plan that you’re working on, would it usurp this plan?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:44:22)
If approved by the board of governors, it would. And I must say, we do need to identify that the legislation also requires the postal service to be self-sustaining, and it has not been self-sustaining for the last-
Congressman Rouda: (02:44:39)
And that’s why getting rid of the pre-mandate is so important. But I just want to make sure that we are working under a written plan of some kind. If you have made any written modifications in memos to team members, will you provide this committee with that information so we know how you have modified this five year plan?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:44:58)
When we come out with a plan, we [crosstalk 02:45:01]-
Congressman Rouda: (02:45:00)
Well, surely you’ve got memoranda and other documents floating around, right? You can give us a draft, can’t you?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:45:06)
I would not-
Congressman Rouda: (02:45:07)
You can’t give us a draft? I mean, we just got the report with the KPI, showing that you’re down 10% nationally. When we know that in battleground areas, it’s down even more. So you were able to get that to us late. Can you get us that information as requested?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:45:21)
Congressman Rouda: (02:45:24)
Let me ask you this. Let’s turn to the impact you have had with the internal communications that show senior managers not to even plug in the previously disconnected machines without approval from headquarters. Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are. Will you tell your workers and the American public right now that USPS employees can plug in disconnected machines?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:45:53)
I’m unaware of the directive that you’re speaking about.
Congressman Rouda: (02:45:57)
Well, it’s an internal communication from USPS. So you will then allow them to plug in machines to be able to do their job?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:46:05)
I’m not going to agree to something I’m unaware or the memo that you’re speak [crosstalk 02:46:09].
Congressman Rouda: (02:46:09)
But you know how absolutely insane this is? This is like telling Jamba Juice they can’t plug in the blenders to do their job.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:46:14)
Well, there must be a reason. I didn’t do it, but the organization has [crosstalk 00:26:19]-
Congressman Rouda: (02:46:18)
But you’re the head of the unit. You’re the head of the business. The buck stops with you.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:46:23)
The buck on what machine gets plugged in? That’s a outrageous statement.
Congressman Rouda: (02:46:27)
The fact that you’re down over 10% nationally in service-
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:46:30)
It has nothing to do with a plugged in machine anywhere.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:46:33)
[inaudible 02:46:33] time has expired. The gentleman’s time has expired-
Congressman Rouda: (02:46:35)
I yield back. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:46:35)
… the gentlemen can answer the question if he … We now recognize Congressman Ro Khanna.
Speaker 13: (02:46:47)
[inaudible 02:46:47] Hice.
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:46:47)
Excuse me, Hice, Congressman Hice.
Congressman Hice: (02:46:49)
Thank you. Madam Chair. I will just bring up, Madam Chair if I may, the fact that you allowed Mr. Raskin to go significantly over his time, while at the same time cutting off Mr. Roy. It’s not going unnoticed and I think Mr. Roy’s point regarding the HEROES Act, that it was $3.4 trillion of swamp spending, and did not even extend the PPP, which was what it was supposed to do. But what the HEROES Act did include was universal mail-in ballots, no voter ID for all those ballots, ballot harvesting. It’s funny to me that the HEROES Act, which was supposed to be about COVID help and relief, did not extend PPP, but it did have a whole lot of voting reform in it that actually brings us into the conversation here today.
Congressman Hice: (02:47:55)
Mr. DeJoy, I think you would agree with me, would you not, that the sanctity of the voting box, the ballot box, is a paramount issue for Americans? Would you agree?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:48:08)
Congressman Hice: (02:48:11)
And I’m sure all of us would. Now, in 2017, there was an investigation by the office of special counsel that concluded that the United States Postal Service improperly coordinated with the postal workers union in support of Hillary Clinton. And the investigation, the OSCs investigation, went on and stated that it was a systematic violation of the Hatch Act that was involved. And in fact, many postal workers were required to work overtime to make up for the absence of all of that. It is also very interesting that the union we are referring to, is the National Association of Letter Carriers, which just 10 days ago endorsed Biden for president. Let me ask you how many fraudulent votes are necessary for it to be considered too many?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:49:13)
I don’t know, sir. I guess one.
Congressman Hice: (02:49:17)
I would say one. We don’t want fraudulent votes. There’s no reason for us to have that. Your predecessor, Ms. Brennan, committed to congress to fully implement some of the recommendations. In fact, all the recommendations from OSC to avoid future Hatch violations. So I’d like to ask you, what kind of changes have you made to prevent these types of violations from taking place in the future?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:49:48)
Congressmen, that is not a focus I’ve had in my 70 days, but I will take a look at the status of that initiative and get back to you.
Congressman Hice: (02:50:00)
Okay. I would appreciate you getting back with us. There’s no question in my mind that the vast majority of USPS workers are faithful workers. They’re honest, dedicated public servants, but that being said, what the OSC has identified is without question, many cases of political bias.
Congressman Hice: (02:50:24)
And in fact, just lay this out, when you have a union that consists of 300,000 workers, and that union comes out and endorses a candidate, in this case Biden, and then that union is supposed to be expected to accurately handle and deliver ballots to both parties fairly, does that raise any concerns for you at all?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:50:53)
Sir, I respect everybody’s right to support candidates and donate to candidates. I have done so myself for 20 years. So in my mind, it doesn’t raise any awareness, concern with regard to postal workers and their initiatives-
Congressman Hice: (02:51:19)
Let me interrupt, I respect the rights of individuals too.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:51:20)
The postal service has 650,000 people and like the rest of the American society, we will have people that don’t pay attention to the laws. But for the most part, I believe in the ability to donate and support [crosstalk 02:51:35].
Congressman Hice: (02:51:33)
I respect your … thank you for your answers. Thank you for your answers. And I respect the right for people to vote and support who they want to as well. But this is a case where you have 300,000 workers, a union that has endorsed Biden. And there must be in place, some sort of mechanism to ensure that the handling of those ballots and all political material, election material, is properly handled and not in a biased way. And I look forward to you responding to us in the next week or so.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:13)
Congressman Hice: (02:52:13)
I yield back.
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:14)
Congressman Hice: (02:52:14)
Chairwoman Maloney: (02:52:15)
The gentlemen yields back. I now recognize Congressman Ro Khanna.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:52:20)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, Mr. DeJoy for being here. I want to see if we can find some common ground to resolve some of the differences. Can you begin by sharing with the American people and this committee the unofficial motto of the postal service?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:37)
Nor rain, nor snow, that sleet, nor hail will make our delivery [crosstalk 00:32:42].
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:52:41)
Yeah. It’s about service, correct, not about profit?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:44)
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:52:45)
Do you know how many veterans serve in the postal service about?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:48)
A hundred thousand.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:52:50)
Correct. Do you know what percentage of veterans, about, rely on the postal service for their prescription medicine?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:52:57)
I don’t know.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:52:59)
It’s a high number. It’s about 80% of veterans. So I guess my beginning, I want to ask you this, our defense department, we don’t tell them you have to go sell weapons to make revenue to serve the American people. We don’t say that about our health service or the National Institute of Health. Why should we have a different standard for the postal service? Why do you have to go make a profit instead of just serving the American people?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:53:25)
Sir, that’s an interesting and good question, and it’s not that we need to make a profit. It’s to be self sustaining, which means at least cover your costs.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:53:36)
But why? It’s such a small-
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:53:37)
I’m not a legislator. I’m the postmaster general and-
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:53:41)
I mean, do you know the history? Do you remember the time in the postal service history where that wasn’t a requirement?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:53:46)
I do, in the ’70s.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:53:48)
Actually, it was from 1840 to 1970. We funded the postal service. We didn’t require them to make a profit because we thought people should, in rural America and other places, and our veterans should serve. And one of the reasons people serve in the postal service who have served in our military is they view it as public service.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:54:05)
Now I appreciated one point you made, which is you assume that those who disagree with you have a legitimate difference, a legitimate perspective. Your perspective is that these mail sorting machines aren’t required because packages need to be delivered and open up floor space. It’s your testimony that you didn’t direct it, correct? Who directed it?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:54:29)
I have not done an … It came probably through our operations, it’s been a longterm-
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:54:34)
But you don’t know who directed it?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:54:35)
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:54:35)
You don’t know who implemented it?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:54:37)
Well, there’s hundreds of them around the country in different places. It was an initiative within the organization that preceded me.
Congressman Ro Khanna: (02:54:44)
Okay. So your perspective is this is necessary to make efficiency of packages. You understand that there are millions of people in America who have the opposite view, who are concerned that this may slow down the delivery of mail. Do you have any sense of how much it would cost to restore these machines?
Postmaster General DeJoy: (02:55:02)
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:03)
How much it would cost to restore these machines?
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:04)
Would it be more than $10 billion?
More than what?
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:06)
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:08)
Yeah. No, right?
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:09)
More than a billion?
It would be less than 10 billion.
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:11)
Less than a billion dollars?
I would assume so. It’s only 700 machines.
Mr. Khanna: (02:55:16)
So here’s my question, let’s stipulate that you may be right about the efficiency. I disagree with you, but let’s just stipulate that. Now we have Donald Trump, the president tweeting out yesterday that he’s up in the polls. He thinks he’s going to win. Nate Silver thinks Biden is going to win. I think everyone in this room can agree on one thing. Whoever wins, the American people should have confidence in that result. So if it cost less than a billion dollars, regardless of whether it’s efficient or not, what is the harm in just putting those machines back until election day, just for the peace of mind, for the confidence of the American people?
Well, first of all, sir, we’ve heard all the statistics about the mail and the votes and so forth. And we don’t need the machines to process an election, but you make a statement about for a billion dollars, if we just gave you a billion dollars. You’re not going to give us a billion dollars. We’re going to make a request. You have no way of getting us a billion dollars. We haven’t been funded in 10 years. You can’t pass any legislation that helps [crosstalk 02:56:20]
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:19)
If I could just finish this point. If we give you the money, do you see my point?
It’s a hypothetical, I’m not willing to-
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:25)
I guess what I’m-
You haven’t given us any money.
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:28)
What is the harm?
You haven’t given us any legislation.
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:30)
But what is the harm?
And you’re sitting here accusing me of things-
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:36)
I have accused you of anything. [crosstalk 02:56:38] I’m trying to understand what most Americans are trying to understand. What is the harm in putting these machines, even if the machines in your perspective, don’t do anything. What is the harm to do it until election day?
In Washington, it makes plenty of sense. To me, it makes none.
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:54)
You haven’t explained why. And then final question for you-
Because they’re not needed. That’s why.
Mr. Khanna: (02:56:58)
But if it will restore people’s faith in a democracy and avoid a polarized electorate, I would think-
Get me the billion and I’ll put the machines in.
Mr. Khanna: (02:57:07)
Okay, well, that’s a commitment. We’ll find a way to get you the money. The last question I have for you is, Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” I understand you’ve committed to the American people that you’re going to have these delivered in time. Can you give us a specific and detailed plan and submit that to Congress on how you’re going to make sure that the ballots get delivered in time?
I need to get back to you. If there’s a plan that we can, I mean, it’s normal processing procedures plus enhanced processing procedures around the election, I can probably give you some type of summarized objectives that we’ll try to fulfill.
Mr. Khanna: (02:57:52)
I appreciate that. I appreciate the commitment of a billion dollars and you’ll put the machines back and apply them. So thank you.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (02:57:58)
Gentleman yields back. I now recognize Congressman Comer.
Mr. Comer: (02:58:02)
Thank you, Madam Chair. And you went over four minutes. So I may go over a few minutes and I hope you’ll indulge me in my questioning. Mr. DeJoy, thank you again for being here today. I’m sorry for some of the rhetoric that you’ve had to endure over your first 60 days in office. That’s something that I want to remind everyone. You’ve been postmaster general for around 60 days. Is that correct?
Mr. Comer: (02:58:31)
Now I want to make this very clear to the American people who are watching this committee hearing. You report to the Postal Board of Governors. Is that correct?
I do, sir.
Mr. Comer: (02:58:40)
And the Postal Board of Governors is a bipartisan board comprised of both Democrats and Republicans. Is that correct?
It is, sir.
Mr. Comer: (02:58:47)
And it’s makeup is that way because of the statute passed by Congress requiring a bipartisan Board of Governors, right?
Mr. Comer: (02:58:54)
Well, if there’s one thing I hope my Democrat colleagues learn today is that you report to the Board of Governors, not the president of the United States. Now there’s been a lot of rhetoric by my friends on the Democrat side of the aisle pertaining to all of the changes that have been made. In fact, I want to reference a tweet by Representative DeFazio. I assume this is a photo op where he’s chained himself to one of the blue boxes that have been in the news a lot lately. In your opening testimony, Mr. DeJoy, you said you didn’t order the removal of the blue boxes, sorting equipment or the reduction of overtime. Can you explain to us who did and what that process was? Because I think it’s important for the American people to know, because there are a lot of Democrats here, even though they’ve talked about politics and they’ve talked about the fact that the president wants to sabotage the election, the Democrats are using this as a political ploy. They are spinning this to try to benefit politically.
Mr. Comer: (03:00:05)
In fact, Representative DeFazio has received $32,000 from the Postal Workers Union since 2012. So I’m sure his campaign donors probably appreciated that photograph. But again, if you wouldn’t mind telling us about the process briefly of the removal of the blue boxes, who ordered them and how that came about.
So this is a long standing thing that’s been going on in the Postal Service for a long time. The fact that I’m here at the committee to talk about boxes and things, I’d much rather spend the time to talk about the legislation we require to help get us into a sustainable position and other matters that concern the Postal Service. I had nothing to do with boxes or machines or restricting overtime or throwing the election or anything.
Mr. Comer: (03:01:06)
Well, correct me if I’m wrong. On average, about 3,100 collection boxes a year over the past seven years have been taken offline, dating back to the time when Obama was president. Is that correct?
It’s been a long time. Yes.
Mr. Comer: (03:01:18)
Am I correct to say that, during the Obama Biden administration, they removed 12,000 blue boxes, is that correct?
I think 35. I think there was a big… It’s just hard for me to associate box removal with the president of the United States. So you guys can do that here. I have a hard time.
Mr. Comer: (03:01:40)
Right. Mr. Postmaster General, do you remember the Democrats calling for the then Postmaster General to resign because President Obama removed 12,000 blue boxes? Do you remember that?
I don’t think I ever recall a request for Post General to resign.
Mr. Comer: (03:01:51)
I don’t either. So let’s be very clear. Removing the sorting machines, removing the blue boxes that were removed, they won’t affect the Postal Services capacity to handle ballots this election season. You’ve testified to that, correct?
Mr. Comer: (03:02:09)
Correct. Now the Democrats want to portray you as implementing new policies because of the false narrative that the president wants to somehow sabotage the election. Is that narrative true?
I am not engaged in sabotaging the election.
Mr. Comer: (03:02:27)
Absolutely false. As a matter of fact, aren’t you planning on voting by mail? Did someone tell me that?
I am. Yes.
Mr. Comer: (03:02:36)
So you have full confidence that when your ballot is in the mail, it will get to the appropriate election official on time, obviously, correct?
Mr. Comer: (03:02:45)
Will you pledge here today that the Postal Service will do its best to return all ballots this election on time?
I do, sir.
Mr. Comer: (03:02:54)
What would you tell Americans who are concerned about something happening to their ballot once they put it in the mail this election season? What would you tell Americans? Because they’ve seen a lot of that from my colleagues on the Democrat side. This has been their spin since the Russian hoax fell flat, since the impeachment sham died in the Senate, every conspiracy theory today that the Democrats have used to try to hurt the president has fallen flat. So this is the new flavor of the day. And it’s had the consequences of putting a lot of Americans concerned that if they drop that absentee ballot in the mail, that it’s not going to get to the election official. How can you relieve their fears that the Democrats have caused?
The American people have the commitment of the 650,000 women and men of the United States Postal Service, that we will do everything within our power and structure to deliver ballots on time. But again, we remind them to request your ballot early and vote early.
Mr. Comer: (03:04:00)
It’s really discouraging to hear the rhetoric from the Democrats about this whole postal issue. My grandmother was a rural mail carrier in Tennessee, spent her whole career as a rural mail carrier. The men and women I know in the Postal Service work extremely hard and they deserve better than the rhetoric and the postal bashing that has been coming from the other side. All for political purposes. We all want to see the post office succeed, especially in a district like mine, a very rural district that still hasn’t recovered from what Congressman Massey mentioned, the changes that Obama made when he took the sorting facilities out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Paducah, Kentucky.
Mr. Comer: (03:04:45)
But I’ll close my question with this. This is a sad day for the Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee is responsible for identifying waste, fraud and abuse. The Oversight Committee is supposed to be responsible for making government transparent and accountable. Postmaster DeJoy, you have come here with a sterling background. You are one of the most qualified postmaster generals we’ve ever had with your background in the logistics business. It’s an honor for the federal government to have you trying to reform the post office. But the bill that the Democrats rushed through Saturday, without even having a committee hearing on it, that bill ties your hands. And it also gives $25 billion to the Postal Service, which I find ironic because Mr. McGovern in the rules committee markup on Friday, said he didn’t trust you. We’ve had a couple of other Democrats say that they didn’t have confidence in you, but they gave you a $25 billion blank check with no strings attached. They’ve tied your hands to where you can’t make any needed reforms.
Mr. Comer: (03:05:56)
That’s not what this committee is suppose to be about. I apologize as a minority member of this committee, I hope that we can do better in the next Congress. Madam Chair, I yield back.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:06:08)
The gentleman yields back and I recognize my self for a point of personal privilege and information. The bill that the House passed that I authored, I authored that bill after the Postmaster General came forward with changes to the post office that slowed the mail down. It does not in any way hinder any effort to make the post office more efficient and effective. I also funded the post office because it deserves to be funded. It’s a national treasure, it’s a national service. And I now recognize Mr. Mfume for five minutes. Mr. Mfume.
Mr. Mfume: (03:07:00)
[ inaudible 03:07:03].
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:07:05)
Mr. Mfume, would you turn on your mic, please?
Mr. Mfume: (03:07:06)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Some of us represent dearly the people we represent. So in no way, and I want to assure members of this committee, that this is some sort of hoax. We are here, Mr. DeJoy, as you might imagine, because we’ve been hearing from the people who hire us, people who live across this country, in our districts.
Mr. Mfume: (03:07:24)
And so for me, that’s the people of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County, Maryland. Just like all of my colleagues have others, I’m sure, who’ve complained. And I just want to keep this focus on the face of those people. These are senior citizens, like you and like me, they’ve worked hard. They’re at a point in their life where they depend, like they’ve always had depended on the mail. Some of them have high blood pressure, they wait for their medications. Others have heart trouble, they wait for their medications. These are citizens, men and women who put on a uniform, in various wars and conflicts have represented us and rely daily on the mail for their checks, their VA checks, for their medicines.
Mr. Mfume: (03:08:05)
These are small business people like you used to be and many of these members of the committee may have been, who watch their small business compete now, not being able to keep abreast of basic things that they rely on to come through the mail. And then they are just average citizens. Somebody who wants to pay a bill because they don’t believe in the Internet. And they believe in writing an old fashioned check. And then they are told by the company that they’re being charged now with a late fee, because it didn’t arrive on time.
Mr. Mfume: (03:08:36)
So these are real, real stories. And when the mail slows down, it has a disparate impact on communities and particularly on communities of color around this country. These changes, Mr. DeJoy, I assume, are changes that you have vetted. I’m talking about the ones you’ve implemented with the Board of Governors. Is that correct?
The change, the organizational change and the requirement and the initiative to have the trucks leave on time within my authority, but I had discussed them-
Mr. Mfume: (03:09:18)
Well, let me ask this. Major changes are required to have an advisory opinion. Is that correct? Before they’re submitted to the board of governors.
That is not the change… There is some level of change that is, closing plants and so forth, we need to go to the PRC.
Mr. Mfume: (03:09:36)
And do you have analytics to sort of justify the changes that you’ve made? And if so, could you provide them at a later date to this committee?
I need to get back to you on that.
Mr. Mfume: (03:09:49)
Okay. It’s my understanding that the removal of mailboxes, whether it was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or last week required density studies. Is that still the case?
I believe it is.
Mr. Mfume: (03:10:00)
Could you supply to this committee the density studies for the last three months, because there’s been an accelerated removal of boxes, an accelerated removal of sorting machines, 671 to which you said earlier, you would not put back online. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t believe that Humpty Dumpty fell. I think he was pushed. And when I see these sort of things back up in such a way that we get your report, dated August 12th, that says, yes, there has been an 8% decrease in mail arriving on time, a 9% decrease in periodicals arriving on time and a decrease in virtually all other classifications, it just makes some of us a little suspect. And I’m sure you would understand that.
Mr. Mfume: (03:10:50)
Let me ask you, are you familiar with the expedited to street afternoon sorting program?
Mr. Mfume: (03:10:55)
It was introduced on the 25th of July. It affects 1200 zip codes across the United States. Are you aware of that?
I am aware of that. It affected a lot of zip codes. Yeah.
Mr. Mfume: (03:11:07)
Are you aware that it shakes up longstanding procedures at the post office?
I’m aware of what the process was and where there’s longstanding procedures, the intention of the plan is to adjust for the decrease in mail volume and get back on schedule. And that was a pilot. It wasn’t a change. It was a pilot program to marry up the carrier delivery to homes and businesses with the schedule of incoming mail from the-
Mr. Mfume: (03:11:46)
Are you aware that the National Association of Letter Carriers filed an official grievance against that program?
I am, but I will tell you before that program, before that pilot went off, we had a discussion with the union leadership and they were amenable to rolling out the program.
Mr. Mfume: (03:12:08)
And just before I yield back my time, sir, what would you say to those veterans, those senior citizens, those average Americans and those small business people who have been disproportionally impacted in the last five or six weeks because of the slowdown?
We are concerned about every delivery that is late, and we’re working very, very hard to get it back on track.
Mr. Mfume: (03:12:31)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:12:36)
Mr. Grossman, you are now recognized.
Mr. Grossman: (03:12:39)
Hi. Can you hear me now?
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:12:41)
Yes, we can hear you. We are not seeing you yet, Mr. Grossman. There you are. Okay.
Mr. Grossman: (03:12:47)
Okay. First of all, thank you for being here, Mr. DeJoy. Sorry, I think some of the questions have been unduly rude, but I’ll throw the question here. What percent increase in regular mail deliveries do you anticipate because of the election this October say compared to last October?
I’m sorry. I didn’t hear the question.
Mr. Grossman: (03:13:18)
What percent increase in mail deliveries do you expect this October compared to last October?
I think the election mail, it will run, it’s about over the course of a month, it’s about 2% of normal mail.
Mr. Grossman: (03:13:37)
About a 2% upper. Could you compare that to other days or times around Christmas, for example, any other bumps?
I think the narrative goes, mother’s day is higher or Christmas is higher. We’ve just handled census mail. So it is not a lot of mail, but it is critical. There are cut off dates. It’s not a mother’s day card. It’s a ballot and it’s important. So we put extra effort to make sure that it gets there on time.
Mr. Grossman: (03:14:20)
Okay. But you don’t consider it, say compared to how much mail you had maybe three years ago or the amount of mail-.
It’s not a volume issue, sir. It’s just that every ballot counts. So we want to get every one of them.
Mr. Grossman: (03:14:37)
Okay. I know here in Wisconsin, I assume nationwide, there’s postage comes with the absentee ballots. As a matter of fact, in Wisconsin, there is postage going out and postage coming back. Do you have plans to do anything with the additional postage that you’re going to get on the election?
You broke up, but I think I can guess at what you were trying to get at. We are not charging anything extra for anything, all our rates and classifications are-
Mr. Grossman: (03:15:16)
That wasn’t the point. In Wisconsin, the local unit of government that issues the absentee ballot pays to have the ballot sent out and actually puts a stamp on each ballot that’s coming back. So at least in Wisconsin, you should be getting more revenue in with the election. What do you plan on doing with the additional revenue you’re getting in or do you plan on doing something special at all?
I don’t know. I’m not understanding how we would get extra revenue. One way or another, we would have had a stamp on it going out or a stamp on it coming back. In any case, the revenue will go to… Any revenue we get, if it was additional revenue, will go to cover our losses.
Mr. Grossman: (03:16:10)
I’m assuming that when you get additional revenue, you like it when more mail is being sent, probably because you have fixed costs, you’re even ahead of the game if you have more Valentine’s day cards or Christmas cards, or in this case, more absentee ballots or whatever. Is that true?
We love mail.
Mr. Grossman: (03:16:35)
Right. So you should be happy and are we happy, but okay. That should put it on firmer grounds. You right now have, I’m told, about 14 billion dollars in the bank. Do you anticipate the election causing that to be rundown at all? Or do you anticipate it going up or have any dent on it?
I don’t think it will have too much of an impact in either way.
Mr. Grossman: (03:17:06)
Okay. So if you have 14 billion in the bank now, you’re still going to have 14 billion on as far as you know, on December 1st?
It just depends. We will probably lose 10 or 11 billion dollars this year. So depending on how package volume stays, we could have less cash. And if I may, having $14 billion, we also have… I have $12 billion worth of liabilities that need to be paid at some time over the next six months. We have $135 billion of liabilities. We running a 633,000 person organization that does not get funding. Even though the federal government ends in September, they have an expectation of getting funding. We don’t have an expectation of getting funding. So we have to drive costs out and increase revenue. And that’s the big difference that we have than any other agency.
So $14 billion, while it sounds like a lot of money. It’s not a lot of money for what we do.
Mr. Grossman: (03:18:15)
Right. But you anticipate still having money in the bank after the election. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
We’ll have cash. Yes.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:18:25)
The gentleman’s time is expired. The gentleman may answer the question.
We have plenty of operating capital right now to get through November. Yes. And handle the election.
Mr. Grossman: (03:18:37)
Thank you very much.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:18:39)
The gentleman yields back. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is now recognized.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:18:44)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. DeJoy, the culture and ethos of the U.S. Postal Service is every piece, every day. I’ve been in briefings with Florida’s local Postal Service employees who are telling me that since your arrival, this is no longer the mission of the USPS. Overtime to finish delivering mail is not allowed and piles upon piles of backlog mail are being left undelivered. Sorting machines are being sold for scrap or unplugged and roped off. My first question, is it still the policy and goal of the USPS to deliver every piece every day? Or have you eliminated or changed that in any way?
First of all, that is misrepresentation of any action that I have taken, but yes, the goal is to deliver every piece every day. And ma’am, we were not doing that before I got here. And my goal is to-
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:19:33)
Okay. Well it’s gotten… Reclaiming my time. It is clearly gotten worse since your arrival. We have piles upon piles of mail that, as a result of the changes that you’ve made, appear to have delayed the mail even further than supposedly they were delayed previously.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:19:51)
Change I’ve made.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:19:53)
Well, the changes that you’ve made.
Change. I made one change.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:19:56)
Well, I’m sorry. You’ve made far more than one change.
That’s not true.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:00)
Okay. Reclaiming my time. You’re not being honest with this committee.
That’s not true. I am being honest.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:05)
Okay. I would ask that the chair add time back and direct the witness not to interrupt me.
Mr. Comer: (03:20:12)
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:13)
Mr. Comer: (03:20:15)
Let’s allow the witness to answer the question to the false accusation.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:19)
Reclaiming my time. I did not interrupt any other member while they were talking and I expect not to be interrupted. The time is mine. Mr. DeJoy, you are not being honest with the committee about removing the sorting machines. We have been asking you for details for weeks, and you have been hiding them from us while removing them at a breakneck pace.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:40)
On August 4th, your staff gave this committee a briefing on this issue and all they told us was that you would be moving machines around to where they were needed most. We have the slides from that briefing. There was no mention of taking any sorting machines offline.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:20:52)
On August 11th, your general counsel responded to our requests for more information, with no mention of taking any sorting machines offline. Your culture of misinformation has even trickled down to Florida postal leadership.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:21:03)
On August 14th, my office asked whether sorting machines were being removed at the Royal Palm facility, which covers all of South Florida and were assured the capacity was actually being expanded. But it was only after I spoke with local postal workers that I was told about the FSS machine in Royal Palm, which had been shut down and roped off since July. Press outlets finally revealed the internal plan to remove more than 600 plus sorting machines. You were not transparent. We had to get it from news reports.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:21:31)
I want to take this opportunity to enter into the record, Madam Chair, an August 18, 2020 email from USPS Director of Maintenance Operations, Kevin Couch, Madam Chair. The email reads, “Please message out to your respective maintenance managers tonight. They are not to reconnect, reinstall machines that have been previously been disconnected without approval from headquarters maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager.”
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:21:56)
Mr. DeJoy, yes or no, and you’ve indicated in this committee hearing that it’s not your job to decide about whether sorting machines are on or offline, but at the same time you told Mr. Khanna that you won’t bring them online because they’re not needed. So yes or no, have any plant managers requested mail sorting machines be reconnected?
First of all, I-
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:14)
Yes or no?
I disagree with the premise.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:16)
I’m not asking you anything other than… Reclaiming my time, Madam Chair.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:22:20)
Yes. Reclaiming her time.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:21)
Yes or no.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:22:21)
Yes or no answer.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:23)
Yes or no, have any plant managers across the country in the USPS requested mail sorting machines be reconnected?
How would I know that?
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:31)
You’re in charge. You don’t know whether there are plant managers that have requested-
No. I don’t know.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:22:34)
Well, let me just assure you that there are plant managers that was reported in the press, in both Washington… There are plant managers in Texas and Washington, and I have articles that I can show you that have asked to have sorting machines reconnected and brought back online. And they’ve been too scared to come forward to say so. So you’ve indicated that it’s local leadership. In this hearing, I heard you say, it’s not your job to decide whether sorting machines are brought online or not. [crosstalk 03:23:11] Someone needs to mute, Madam Chair. Madam Chair.
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:23:16)
Please mute. The people that are listening, please mute.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:23:18)
I need probably about additional 30 seconds from the interruptions added back onto my time, please. You have said in this hearing, it’s both not your job to make decisions about sorting machines and at the same time, you’ve said that you’re not going to bring them back online because they’re not needed. It can’t be both. So my local barcode, my local handlers, who work with sorting machines regularly, and this specific barcode sorter machine have assured me that it would not be difficult to plug it back in. How difficult would it be to reconnect machines that haven’t already been destroyed?
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:23:51)
For example, on display, if we can bring that up on the screen, I was sent a photo from a processing and distribution center in Florida, where the power cord is hanging from the ceiling and not plugged in. My local handlers tell me that sorting machines regularly, and that specific machine specifically, that it would not be difficult to plug back in. Do you believe that it is the local handler’s job to decide whether they need a sorting machine and will you give them the freedom to plug the machines back in and bring machines that haven’t been taken apart, back online in order to make sure we can get the mail out on time, which you acknowledge has gotten worse since you are arrival?
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:24:31)
The gentlewoman’s time has expired, but the gentlemen is requested to answer a question.
That was a long list of accusations.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:24:39)
No, I just want a simple answer to the question about whether you will give-
Is it my time now?
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:24:43)
No, no, it’s always my time. And I’d like an answer to the question.
Mr. Comer: (03:24:47)
Her time is expired.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:24:47)
I’m sorry. I’d like an answer to the question. Whether or not-
We have a management team that is responsible for making decisions as to what machines are used and not used.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:25:00)
But those things are decided locally. [crosstalk 03:25:03].
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:25:02)
The gentlewoman’s time is expired.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:25:04)
Yes or no. Will you let them decide that locally?
Mr. Comer: (03:25:06)
Time is expired.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:25:06)
Okay. Well, then you have not told us the truth in this hearing and it is your fault that the mail has been late. Your fault. On you.
Mr. Comer: (03:25:15)
Time is expired, Madam Chair. Time is expired. Her time is expired.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz: (03:25:16)
You’ve acknowledged that. [crosstalk 03:25:19].
Madam Chair – Ms. Maloney: (03:25:17)
Request a response in writing. Okay. Congressman Higgins, you’re now recognized.
Mr. Higgins: (03:25:26)
Thank you, Madam Chair. That was quite a debacle. This is exactly… This hearing right here is exactly why America does not trust Congress. Our cities are on fire. Violent mobs roam our streets at night. The Chinese have crushed the American economy with a virus and Democrats are talking about a mailbox conspiracy.
Mr. Higgins: (03:25:52)
Postmaster General DeJoy, are you aware of any evidence whatsoever that supports a mail delivery conspiracy?
Mr. Higgins: (03:26:06)
Would you repeat that, sir?
Mr. Higgins: (03:26:09)
The question you answered, America needs to hear. Are you aware of any evidence whatsoever of some kind of a mailbox or mail delivery conspiracy?
I am not, sir.
Mr. Higgins: (03:26:23)
Postmaster General, thank you for being here today. Let me ask you, are you here on subpoena or voluntarily?
I’m here voluntarily.
Mr. Higgins: (03:26:32)
Well, you’re a better man than me because you sitting at attempt after attempt by my colleagues across the aisle to assassinate your character. And might I suggest to you, sir, as an American Patriot and a constitutionalist, if I was you, I wouldn’t appear before this committee without a subpoena in the future. Congratulations on your character for being here voluntarily to submit yourself to this harassment.
Mr. Higgins: (03:27:01)
During the course of your lifetime, sir, I’ll be 59 today. I cannot remember a time when the Postal Service was not in some sort of financial trouble. Do you recall any time, sir? Some sort of era that I’m not recalling that the Postal Service was totally squared away, operating within budget and was never in financial trouble?
I think in the late ’90s and early 2000, a few years, it was covering its costs. And happy birthday, sir.
Mr. Higgins: (03:27:42)
Thank you, sir. That’s very kind of you. I recall the same. Out of the last 40, 50 years, there’s only been a couple of years where there was anything that could be described as financial stability in a Postal Service. Dedicated men and women, but the fact is that inefficiencies are legendary within the Postal Service. So let me just ask you Postmaster, why did you accept this job? Tell America why you took this job.
Sir, I have a certain experience… I had certain experiences in my life business-wise with large projects and large-
Mr. Higgins: (03:28:35)
We know that you’re qualified, sir, I get that. But American needs to hear from your heart. Why did you accept this job, this incredible burden to serve your government and your nation in this way? What was your purpose?
I’ve been active in my community and the country most of my adult life. And this is something that was asked for me to participate in that I think I could help and fix and lead to a better place. And that’s why I took it.
Mr. Higgins: (03:29:11)
Well from this American and from my constituents, thank you. Thank you, sir, for taking on this burden and this task. One would think that perhaps next week Oversight Committee will have a hearing in suggesting that it smoking cigarettes could cause cancer who did not know in America that the Postal Service is constantly going through modernization efforts, attempts to become more efficient, struggles to become solvent into the future.
Mr. Higgins: (03:29:50)
Now you handle a lot of mail, do you not? I have one question in closing, sir. My understanding is you handle about 471 million pieces of mail a day. Can you handle the mail, are the…
Speaker 14: (03:30:03)
Billion pieces of mail a day. Can you handle the mail of the election cycle, given the fact that about 150 million Americans are registered to vote and your average mail delivery is 471 million a day, can you handle the mail delivery for the election cycle, good, sir?
The whole organization’s committed to delivering election mail and we will do it.
Speaker 14: (03:30:26)
Roger that. Thank you, sir. Thank you for appearing before us today. I apologize on behalf of all of America for the way that you’ve been treated by my colleagues across the aisle. Madam Chair, I yield back.
Madam Chair: (03:30:39)
The gentleman yields back. Congressman Sarbanes, you are now recognized.
Thank you Postmaster for being here with us today. I’ll be candid, I don’t trust you right now. I don’t know whether it’s, I don’t trust your judgment or I don’t trust your motives. If you think you could implement the changes you did without having the negative impact that we’ve seen, then I worry about your judgment. And if you did understand what that impact would be, then I’m concerned about your motives, but you’ve got an opportunity here today to demonstrate to us that your judgment is sound and that your motives are pure. You’re a businessman. We’ve heard a lot about that today. You’re an expert apparently in supply chain management, which requires a lot of planning, specifics, details, all kinds of minutia, correct?
Yeah. On Friday when you were in the Senate, you said quote, “As we head into the election season, I want to assure the 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.” Is that what you said?
Yeah. And you said it again today, the idea of getting the mail to people securely and on time. I got to tell you, I’m very concerned about the issue of what’s going to happen with the mailed ballots. We’ve heard that from others today, we have a president freely admitting that he is opposed to USPS funding because he’s hoping that a hobbled postal service won’t be able to handle mailed ballots. And your own general counsel has warned 46 States that mail ballots may not be delivered on time. Traditionally, as you know, the postal service has always prioritized sorting election mail separately and pushing it out as fast as possible, including daily sweeps of mail facilities for any election mail otherwise missed in processing.
Yet the States and localities have been left wondering if this is no longer the case and what the president’s continued broadsides against mail ballots will mean in practice for those efforts. On Friday, again, to the Senate colleagues of ours, you said first class or better treatment of election mail would not change quoting you in response to Senator Peters you said, “Yes, sir. We will deploy processes and procedures that advance any election mail. In some cases ahead of first class mail.” Now we’ll note that on the website, there’s an FAQ to election officials that says they should use first class mail or a higher level of service for election mail using USPS marketing mail service will result in slower delivery times and may increase the risk that voters will not receive their ballots in time to return them by mail. So you’re saying that the post office is going to handle this on a first class basis, but the same time the FAQ is telling election officials that they should take responsibility for this or otherwise the marketing mail service will come in more slowly. So we’ve heard about your commitment to our Senate colleagues. You said it again today, but to be honest, Mr Postmaster General, we need something in writing, that would be very helpful. A detailed accounting of how exactly you’re going to execute on your promises. You’re a specialist in logistics. So we want to know what are you doing at USPS to make good on these word? How is USPS designing its interface with States and localities with election mail vendors and others to assure that ballots get priority treatment? We need written policies and directives, not just words. I assume you know that USPS has long offered memorandums of policy to ensure the system-wide execution of key policies and procedures. I was looking at a bunch of these last night and in that vein, I’m asking, can you commit today to the immediate issuance of a formal USPS policy in writing that will guarantee all delivery of election mail is treated as first-class or better for the 2020 general election? Can you do that for us?
Our process is to do that physically. I have to get back to you on what I can give you in writing on that.
We’d like to see that in the form of a memorandum so we can verify the commitment that you’re making. This is where your motives can be shown to be pure. So if you could do that, I’d appreciate that.
First class mail is a classification of mail, and then we’re talking about a physical process. So, we could advance mail in front of first class, we’d still not call it first class mail.
I understand. I’m just asking to see in writing a memorandum on this, that the post office and the public, and we can get some confidence from. The other thing is we talked, I’m running out of time, but we talked about your ability to issue these reports. Could you commit as well today that you’ll give us some data specific updates on how the efforts regarding the mailed ballots are going and do that on a periodic basis, weekly perhaps? That would be very, very helpful. Could you do that?
Yeah. What I’ll do sir is, I’ll commit to give the committee an update on the improvement of the service, let’s say next Monday, where we stand on the service. I need to check if we can get down to the individual ballot level, see what we can do there.
That would be very helpful. I appreciate it. That will help demonstrate that you take this sacred duty seriously. I yield back.
If I can just add, the letters that went out to the State was not a warning or was not an indication that we would slow anything down. It’s trying to educate the State election officials on what the process was. This has been done in years and past. With the pandemic, we increase the content because we knew the vote by mail would be higher. It’s really, we’ve made 50,000 contacts with State and local officials in our regional areas and through headquarters to try and integrate their processes with our processes, so we would have a safe and secure election.
Madam Chair: (03:37:09)
Thank you. The gentleman’s time has expired. Congressman Gibbs. You are now recognized. Congressman Gibbs.
Thank you Madam Chair. Mr DeJoy, I got to apologize to some of the behavior, can you hear me?
Madam Chair: (03:37:25)
We can hear you and we can see you.
Oh okay. Postmaster General, I want to apologize for some of the treatment you had today. Obviously by what I’m hearing, you don’t really need this job. You didn’t really take this job and I’m not going to ask you directly if you didn’t need to take this job, but I’m assuming you didn’t need to take this job just like most people in the Trump administration, including the president, didn’t need take this job, but they did it for the love of country and they want to make this country better and help people. And I think you fall into that category so I’m going to apologize for some of the statements made today that very disturbing to me. And you’re just trying to do your job. You were hired into this job by the board of governors, Mr DeJoy. Did you ever have any discussions with the president on what to do to the post office or what you should do?
I never spoke with the president about the postal service prior to get getting the position. And I have not spoken to him about anything regarding the postal service since.
So you were brought in and to do this job to help us be more cost efficient, make changes. So obviously Postal Service to do their job and get out of the red. And so you’re doing your job and now they come after you, attacking you for doing your job. Now we’ve seen, I think we’re all in agreement, that first class mail as dropped considerable, but packages of first class or however you categorize it has increased significantly. And that’s one of the reasons why you’re making some changes of efficiency, cost efficiencies. And we’ve had a lot of discussion about the sorting machines. Now, is it true to say that what the mail volume is, even with the additional census and additional ballots, Christmas is higher mail time than anything else, there’s still going to be enough sorting machines to do this? And you’re also going to be able to move the packages by making the changes you’re making? Is that a true statement?
Yeah. We will have plenty of sorting capacity.
Okay. Some of the other delays. COVID-19, the absenteeism rate in the postal service. I saw there was an article here a couple months ago about the postal service took a very liberal policy about making sure that people don’t come to work if they have a temperature obviously, that probably made a lot of good, common sense. Are we having trouble filling on a day to day basis, getting drivers and mailman, a lot of shortages of personnel or what’s the situation with that?
Across the country, our employee availability is down three to 4% on average across the country. But the issue is in some of the hot spots in the country, areas like Philadelphia, Detroit, there’s probably 20, the averages cover that and they could be down 20%. And that is contributing to the delivery problem that we’re having.
Yeah, you got challenges. And I just wanted to make that point. I believe the vast majority of our postal workers are honest, public servants and the Office of Special Console has found [inaudible 00:03:40:56] political bias back in the 2017 report, back in the 2016 campaign, they were biased towards Hillary Clinton. Concerning the central increase in mail-in ballot since November, what steps do you think the post office has taken to ensure that political bias is not a factor in the delivery of balance?
I think I have not reviewed the report, but I have full confidence in the 650,000 men and women of the postal service, that they will handle election mail safe and securely. Like the rest of the country, there are individuals that do things they shouldn’t, and we have an inspection service and management team that look for that kind of stuff. But I have full faith that we will deliver a safe and secure election.
I appreciate that. Some of the challenges you have in States, I know here in Ohio, the primary election, the people who requested ballots to be mailed out to them on Saturday before the Tuesday election. And I think that is a real challenge because I think a lot of States do that. So what’s the Post Office doing to try to make sure they’re working with States so people realize that if you put your ballot on the weekend before Tuesday, the election, there might be a challenge of getting the ballot.
Madam Chair: (03:42:23)
Expired. The gentleman may answer his question.
I think he asked, I couldn’t hear, it was breaking up, but with regard to, and that’s one of the reasons that we are working with the State election officials to make sure and to educate the public, we will be sending a letter out to every American again, describing our participation in the election process. And again, requesting to request their ballot early and to vote early. But when it gets down to those last days, that last day, we will have various procedures, sweep procedures, expedite. I’ve heard stories of postal managers running ballots over to the election board. So we’re going to do everything we can to make sure every ballot gets where it needs to be.
Madam Chair: (03:43:17)
Thank you. Congressman Welsh you are now recognized. Congressman Welsh.
Thank you very much. And I want to thank Postmaster General DeJoy, and I want to thank the Chairman of the board, Mr Duncan, for your patient answering of our questions. As both of you know, it was president Nixon in 1970, who signed a very major postal reform bill to guarantee the independence of the post office and on the postal service website, its history speaks about that bill as something that was to quote, “Remove the postal service from politics.” And I assume that both of you agreed that that is an essential mission of the post office.
Mr DeJoy, I’ll ask you. All right. And Mr DeJoy, I have asked for a document labeled, DeJoy political donations chart to be presented and I want to ask you a few questions about that. Mr DeJoy, obviously you have the right to make political donations within the law, and I have no dispute with that, but I do want to go through them because of these questions that are being raised. According to the federal election commission records, since 2016, you’ve donated $3.2 million to Republican candidates and committees. Does that sound right?
Sounds about right, yeah.
Yeah, and the Republican national committee was the beneficiary of $1. 3 million in contributions, correct?
Yes. I am a Republican sir.
Right. And you contributed $1.2 million to president Trump’s Trump victory fund, correct?
I would need to check that, but it sounds about right.
Okay. And my understanding is that in November 2019, you were announced as the Chairman of the Republican national convention fundraising committee for the convention that was to take place in Charlotte. Is that correct?
Yes. That is a not-for-profit foundation that I was selected by the Charlotte hosts committee, which is usually a bipartisan and conventions for the city.
Right. And you stayed on that position until June 12th 2020, shortly before you took over officially as the Postmaster General, correct?
I did, sir.
Right. And from January to April of this year, in the run up before you were selected as Postmaster General, you provided 18 contributions in the amount of about $650,000 to various Republican committees. Correct?
You seem to have something in front of you. I don’t know what you’re looking at, but I give a lot of money. Let this go for the record, I gave her a lot of money to Republicans.
Right. And let me just ask you an obvious question. You obviously support the Republicans. That’s obvious, it’s totally within your right. You’re a big supporter of president Trump, totally within your right. How do you square being a major supporter of the president and Republican committees and other members with the independence that’s required of the Postmaster General? Can you really do both?
Well, you’re aware of the fact, of course, that President Trump has made very hostile statements about the postal service. He called the postal service a joke, I assume you disagree with that.
I do sir.
And he has also vehemently and repeatedly attacked mail in voting, saying, and I’ll quote, “Mail in ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 election.” Do you agree with that?
I’m in charge of delivering ballots. I don’t really want to comment on, that’s not my responsibility to elect, I’ll leave that to the States.
It’s not, but is it your view that if there is fraud, it will have nothing to do with the United States Postal service.
It is my view that if there is fraud, it’s our intent not to have any fraud do with the United States postal service, yes.
But if the mail is not delivered on time and Republicans and Democrats who do vote by mail, do not have a timely delivery of that ballot to their County clerks that in fact will result in them being disenfranchised. Is that not correct?
The mail will be delivered on time, sir.
Well, we’ve heard that you have made significant reforms to try to improve postal service, but it’s resulted in significant delays. And those delays have coincided of course, with the run up to the election. And you’ve apologized for that. It’s not just the postal boxes, the blue boxes, the mail sorting machines, but you heard from Congressman Cooper that the requirement about trucks…
Madam Chair: (03:49:03)
The gentleman’s time has expired. The gentleman’s time has expired but the gentleman may answer the question.
Thank you, Congressman. Again I’ll repeat, I had nothing to do with the collection boxes, the sorting machines, the post office hours, or limiting over time. The change I made was asked the team to run the transportation on time and mitigate extra trips based on a review of an OIG audit that was absolutely astonishing in the amount of money we were spending and the number of late trips and extra trips we were running. It was a plan that was rolled out with operations. And it was a very, very important aspect of the network. People ask, why do trucks matter? Why do on-time trucks matter? They do matter. They’re a fundamental premise of how the whole mail network is put together. If the trucks don’t run on time, the mail carriers can’t leave on time. They are out there at night. They have to come back and get more mail, collection processes or late, plant processes are distorted. I see several billion dollars in potential savings in getting the system to just connect properly. And that’s why we ran out and put a plan together to really get this fundamental, basic principle, run your trucks on time. I would not know how to reverse that now. Am I to say, “Don’t run the trucks on time?” Is that the answer that we’re looking to get me to say here today?
Madam Chair: (03:51:02)
The gentleman’s time has expired. Now we recognize our Congressman, Keller, you are now recognized.
Thank you Madam chair. And I would like to thank the Postmaster general DeJoy for being here today. On July 29th 2020, the USPS general counsel sent a followup letter from may to 46 States, including Pennsylvania expressing concern that the state’s deadlines for requesting and casting ballots by mail do not fit with the postal services delivery standards. Mr DeJoy, can you confirm that these letters and outreach to state election offices is something USPS has done in the past under previous Postmasters general?
Yes. This has been done in the past. I looked at a letter about a week ago that was sent out before the 16 election also, but we have intensified the effort to work with the election boards and to communicate with the election boards, to help them gain one knowledge on what our processes are. It’s really been amazing to me in this experience how many people in high places don’t really understand how we use a postmark.
I would agree with that. Also, the Democrats have been making a lot of noise about these letters your general counsel sent to state election boards. I’d like to clear this up, in the letters to the States, does the USPS say that they will not deliver ballots this November?
Do the letters state that the USPS will not or cannot process ballots this November?
No, sir, it doesn’t.
Do they say that the voters should not vote by mail?
No sir, it doesn’t.
Okay. Specifically the letter recommends that people voting by mail should complete and submit their ballots no later than October 27th to comply with Pennsylvania or to comply, Pennsylvania would need to change current law, which allows voters to request a ballot as late as Tuesday, October 27th, to ensure that the USPS can deliver completed ballots in time to be counted by election day on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 by 8:00 PM, as it is required under Pennsylvania law. Do you agree that Pennsylvania should move the application deadline for mail and absentee ballots back, for example, on or around October 19th to request the ballot in order to ensure voters can receive their ballots in time and complete them and return them no later than Tuesday, October 27th, as recommended by the postal services general counsel?
I didn’t catch all of the details on it. It would be best if the State election boards follow the recommendations about general counsel to ensure that every ballot, we’re still going to do everything that we need to do, but I don’t know why we would want to put this in conflict, it’s a very important process in the democracy. And I don’t know why we should have take any chance other than have a properly integrated system between the election boards and the postal service? And that’s all the general counsel and the team that supports them is trying to do, make people aware. Why would we want to put more risk in the system than is necessary?
Well, Pennsylvania law States that the ballots are to be received by November 3rd, by 8:00 PM. Anybody that’s reasonable, I’m 55 years old and I’ve used the postal service for the past 37 years to deliver my mail, to pay my bills, to do everything. And I don’t wait until the day that the bill is due to mail the check. I mail it in enough time knowing that it’s only reasonable that I have to walk to the mailbox, I have to put it into mailbox, somebody has to come collect it, it has to be put in a car or on a plane and taken to another place to be processed and delivered. It’s only reasonable that the States should take that into account when they set up their laws. So I’m going to keep moving on because there’s another point I’d like to get to also. Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that Pennsylvania will cover the cost of postage for every mail in ballot this year. The United States postal service handbook for area mail processing guidelines states that postmarks are not required for mail in’s bearing a pre-canceled stamp for postage. In other words, envelopes with prepaid postage that Pennsylvania send with the ballots to be returned, will they be postmarked?
We’re going to work to try and set up a process to postmark as much as we can. The process is that prepaid postage does not get postal.
It could, if nothing were to change, which the chairwoman’s bill said, you can’t change anything, so if nothing were to change, you wouldn’t be able to postmark those letters?
Yeah, if we didn’t make a special effort to postmark prepaid mail, we would not be postmarking. Now we have certain other ways of identifying election mail, which is how we have done in the past to try and postmark things. But they’re not seamless efforts.
You have to make some adjustments to be able to make sure that’s secure.
I would sincerely hope that the chairwoman of this committee would have thought of, and that would have been the value of having this hearing before she introduced a bill saying you can’t make any changes, because you’re trying to do things to make sure that the items you handle are done in time. So I do appreciate that. The one thing, Postmaster DeJoy, can you guarantee that you will deliver every ballot to the people when they request them and every ballot when it’s returned?
I guarantee we will use every effort of 650,000 people that work at the organization to fulfill that obligation.
You won’t change anything this selection that you’ve done previously?
Madam Chair: (03:57:18)
Gentleman’s time has expired. Gentleman you can answer the question.
I think I did.
Madam Chair: (03:57:24)
Congresswoman Speier is recognized. You’re now recognized.
Thank you, Madam chair. I have two documents I’d like to submit for the record. One from the postal service on the reorganization and one from citizens for responsibility and ethics in Washington.
Madam Chair: (03:57:38)
Thank you. Mr DeJoy, thank you so much for being here today. You have answered some questions about your contributions to the president. You also contributed $586,000 to attend a dinner for him in February of this year. Is that correct?
I don’t think so, no.
Well, there’s records that show you did. Your wife has also been nominated to be the ambassador to Canada, is that correct?
She is, yes.
All right. Mr. Duncan, wherever you are.
Mr. Duncan, you have also been active in president Trump’s campaign and as a director of American crossroads, super PAC, is that correct?
I am the director of American crossroads super PAC, yes.
And you’ve contributed over $1.9 million to president Trump’s campaign.
That’s not correct.
Not you personally, but the PAC?
I don’t know the answer to that.
The records show that. So your both vested in making sure that the president gets reelected, is that correct?
I’m not here to talk about the president’s election. I’m here to talk about postal service issues.
Okay. Mr. Duncan, how much did the postal service pay Russell Reynolds to be the company to look for a replacement?
I don’t have that number. I’ll be happy to try and provide it for you.
All right. In your own testimony, you said they started with 212, they then vetted 50 and they got down to the first round interviews and there were 14. But Mr DeJoy was not one of them. So we paid this company to do a national search for the replacement for the USPS Postmaster General. He was not in that group, but Mr Barger said, “Well, we have another candidate.” Did you recommend Mr DeJoy as a candidate?
Let me go back on your premise that he wasn’t included, we were still taking recommendations at that point of time before the first interview process has gone in.
All right. Mr Duncan just answer the question, did you recommend Mr DeJoy as a candidate?
I gave Mr DeJoy’s name as a candidate, as I did with other candidates. I submitted it through the process.
All right. But he was not part of what was provided to you by the search firm. Let’s move on. The president has been very critical of Amazon and the contract they have with the postal service, Mr DeJoy, have you reviewed that contract?
I have not reviewed the contract specifically in any detail, no.
But you did offer some testimony, I believe in the Senate that suggested that you had in fact reviewed it and that you thought that the rates were okay.
The question was about rates. There’s a contract. Contracts are thick. I’m studying the rate building process of the postal service on the NSA’s.
So you did look at Amazon’s rate?
I did look at Amazon’s rates, yes.
All right. On your statement of financials…
As long as hundreds of other rates, okay?
I understand. In your statement of financial disclosure, you sold your Amazon stock on June 22nd, I believe. And then you purchased options on Amazon on June 24th. That would suggest to almost anyone that there is a conflict of interest. It doesn’t require that you make a decision. It only requires that you participate. Did you check with the government office of ethics to see if that was appropriate?
In the postal service, you file your forms the day you arrive at work. I filed my forms. I was going to a meeting on Amazon. I own stock someplace in a hole at Morgan Stanley. And they told me I had to either accuse myself from reviewing a number of contracts or sell the stock. I called our broker to sell the stock. We actually had calls…
Mr DeJoy I’m going to have to move on.
But I did not buy options. I actually bought covered calls back.
It’s on your statement.
I bought covered calls back at a loss. That’s what I did to get completely out of stock. I had to unwind covered calls, quick.
You still have those calls, do you not?
No. I had to pay more money for the calls then I sold them for. I think you should get an understanding of what a covered call is before you accuse me of any improprieties.
All right. I think, let me just ask one last question. Have you removed any machines that automate the postmarking process?
I have not removed any machines.
Madam Chair: (04:02:54)
Gentlewoman’s time has expired. The gentlemen may answer.
I have not, I’ll repeat again for the hundredth time, I have not removed any machines.
Well, that’s separate from the sorting machine.
Madam Chair: (04:03:08)
Congresswoman Miller, you are now recognized.
Any machines. I repeat, I have not removed any machines.
Madam Chair: (04:03:14)
Congresswoman Miller, you are now recognized.
Thank you, Madam chair. Can you hear me?
Madam Chair: (04:03:20)
Yes, we can.
Okay. And thank you, ranking member Comber, and especially thank you to our esteemed guests today for taking the time to participate in this so-called hearing. Postmaster DeJoy and chairman Duncan, my constituents in rural West Virginia rely on the postal service to receive their essential prescriptions, their mail and packages. Thank you for your continued work during the pandemic to ensure that these critical services continued. In a year, that is riddled with conspiracy theories, such as baseless claims of Russian collusion, we are wasting another hearing opportunity to attack our duly elected President over the most blatant and verifiably false claim that Republicans are destroying the United States postal service. This couldn’t be further than the truth.
Everyone knows that the postal service needs a serious overhaul, but bailing out our postal service without instituting any necessary reforms is not the answer. Democrats here today are doing a great disservice to our postal workers and undermining American confidence in our electoral process. The Postmaster General has said repeatedly that the USPS will have no difficulty delivering ballots, but my colleagues across the aisle place the blame on the postal service instead of their own States incompetence to properly hold their own elections. The USPS can handle the absentee and mail in ballots from the 2020 election.
Speaker 15: (04:05:03)
Handle the absentee and mail-in ballots from the 2020 election, and has enough money to remain solvent well into next year, giving the Postmaster General and Congress time to work on its dilutions to put the USPS back on a sustainable path. While all of us here today recognize that the postal service is an essential duty of the Federal Government, there seems to be only one party that is serious about making sure that it works effectively for the American people. Postmaster DeJoy, on average, how many pieces of mail does the United States Postal Service to deliver in a day?
About 451 million pieces.
Speaker 15: (04:05:46)
Thank you. If every single eligible voting-age Americans voted by mail in a single day, about 153 million or so, would the United States Postal Service be able to ensure that these pieces of mail were delivered?
I think we have adequate capacity to handle the mail for the election, yes.
Speaker 15: (04:06:10)
And you would be able to do this without significant impact to your normal day to day operations.
You’re asking me one day, I have not done that analysis, but the way balance flow throughout the week we would handle it very easily.
Speaker 15: (04:06:33)
However, you cannot control what deadlines States set in terms of requesting and returning ballots or how long it takes for these election boards to count the ballots, to call a rate. Isn’t that correct?
Speaker 15: (04:06:49)
We saw huge delays in election results in New York, as I’m sure the Chair is well aware. The core issue, why you are here today, Mr. Postmaster General, is to ensure that every American has their right to vote fully protected. What is becoming abundantly clear is that the Trump administration, Republicans in Congress, and the USPS are not obstacles to that right, rather you are helping to ensure voting access despite incompetence and partisanship on the part of a great many State election officials across the country.
Speaker 15: (04:07:25)
Last week, a scathing analysis by NPR found that at least 550, 000 mail in ballots were rejected in the presidential primary elections earlier this year. Of those nearly half those rejected ballots came from New York, New Jersey and California, where there isn’t a single Republican in statewide office. This November, we must ensure that all Americans can and should be able to vote safely in person at their local polling locations, and those that do need absentee ballots can and should be able to vote securely through the USPS as they have in past elections. I hope our colleagues and our counterparts at the State level heed the recommendation of the USPS on how to execute this undertaking free from politics and partisanship. I yield back my time.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:08:24)
[inaudible 04:08:24] yields back. I now recognize Congresswoman Kelly. You are now recognized.
Congresswoman Kelly: (04:08:30)
Thank you, Madam chair. I’ve been on this committee for over seven years, five years in the minority, the hypocrisy around how witnesses are treated, and around the Post Office is astounding. Thank you for being here Mr. DeJoy. Small businesses are a vital part of the United States economy, they represent nearly 75% of all employers, and account for 44% of all economic activity. Small businesses, many without significant savings or access to credit, have relied on the postal service to stay afloat. During this pandemic, the postal service plays an important role, as you know, in enabling their growth and commercial success.
Congresswoman Kelly: (04:09:13)
Last Friday, you testified before the Senate Committee and I quote, you feel bad about the dip in our service. Well, there are a few businesses that feel pretty bad too. Cassidy Lavender a Louisiana business owner was forced to abandon the postal service after losing nearly $10,000 due to his shipping delays. Beth Nolan, a Michigan business owner had to fire an employee to recoup the costs spent making up for her delivery delays. At 2013 OIG report found that small businesses are a key customer segment for the postal service, generating more than 9 billion in annual revenue before implementing the numerous operational changes discussed here today. Were there any analysis performed on the impact, such changes would have, on this key customer segment?
There was not numerous operational changes. There was one request that we adhere to our transportation schedule, and I did not perform any operational analysis myself, but we had a team looking at how we would plan to roll out the change, and that team was across the whole country, an existing team, not a new team. And I don’t know how much analysis we would need to do to comply with our schedules that were already established.
Congresswoman Kelly: (04:10:46)
It seems decisions were made without taking into account the real world impacts. A beauty salon in my district has not received mail for a week to 10 days, the owner is concerned about bills might be delivered late, which can have a terrible impact on their business. Another person I spoke to said she receives her mail now every other day, and still hasn’t received a check she’s relying on. When I went to the post office myself to mail a package, the postal workers there said, “We know who you are, and we just want to apologize, but we’re just doing what we’re told.” I didn’t get those phone calls when President Obama was the President. Will you commit here today to reversing any policy or practice that has the effect of slowing down mail and package delivery? I represent the Chicago Land Area, and I’m hearing from postal people themselves, and they want you to address the lack of staffing and the late start times, which they feel has greatly impacted the delivery of the mail.
We’re very concerned about every delayed package or a piece of mail, and we are also very interested in fostering the support of a small business. What I can tell you is we’re working very hard to get these standards back to where they were before. There are a variety of issues that are contributing to this, not just the requiring the trucks to leave on time, but we are working across the country to improve service.
Congresswoman Kelly: (04:12:27)
My district is urban, suburban, and rural. I my colleagues have asked for something in writing, and I would support that, that we need to see something in writing, not just promises. An estimated 14.5 million rural Americans who lack access to reliable internet, rely on the postal service to meet their basic needs, including receiving life saving medications, collecting paychecks, and paying the bills. It is important that rural Americans have access to reliable and affordable delivery services, or are they too inefficient to service, since we talk about we’re trying to be efficient, they just forgotten about?
No, they’re not forgotten about. We are working to deliver to every American on a timely basis.
Congresswoman Kelly: (04:13:13)
Well, your chase for operational efficiency has been at the expense of hardworking Americans. And I hope you will take these concerns into account as you assess some of your decisions from the past 78 days and beyond.
Yeah, I very much do ma’am, and the changes I’m making are for the betterment of the postal service and the American people long term. We lose $10 billion a year, and there’s no end in sight. We have $145 billion in liabilities and 10 to $14 billion in cash. So you can blame me for this, but these conditions have been around long before my time, and they need to be addressed.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:13:53)
[inaudible 00:08:55]. Congressman Green, you are now recognized.
Congressman Green: (04:14:01)
Thank you Chairwoman and ranking member. Today, Democrats are pushing the conspiracy theory that President Trump has put the postal service in great jeopardy. This is just more hysteria in a long line of Democrat hoaxes, including the Russia Probe, the Mueller investigation. Remember Adam Schiff, he saw with his own eyes proof of Russian collusion. I guess he must’ve kept that from Mueller. Oh, who can forget the impeachment sham, by the way, attacking the President’s loans, his business associates, of course his tax returns. They have nothing to offer the American people, but attack on the man they despise, Donald Trump.
Congressman Green: (04:14:39)
The Postal Union should realize, and I know they’ve endorsed Joe Biden, but they should look at this, the Democrats are throwing the postal carriers under the bus just to get at Trump. It’s despicable. If Postmaster General’s donations are a conflict, and he’s doing a good job, wouldn’t the postal unions, millions in donations over the years to Democrats, disqualify them from delivering the mail. Message to all postal workers, the Democrats are insulting your integrity. Weaponizing the house oversight committee fuels Speaker Pelosi’s postal conspiracy theory is an outrageous abuse of power. Don’t be fooled by the partisan rhetoric. The reality is the USPS has the money they need in the near term, certainly through the election. The postal service has the most cash on hand it’s had in years, and it has access to a 10 billion Cares Act Loan, but it’s not even tapped into yet, but Oh, we had to come back this weekend to vote on more money for the USPS.
Congressman Green: (04:15:38)
The postal service will prioritize ballots over other mail. They will process election mails, first class mail, regardless of the postal [inaudible 04:15:45]. Postmaster General DeJoy has assured the American people, and I quote, “The United States Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail securely and on-time.” The Democratic attacks on the postal service are baseless. Now the postal service has been losing some money, 8.8 billion last year, a big reason for these budget deficits, the evolution of technology, the internet, first class mail is down. This issue significantly predates the Trump administration, but now due to the pandemic online business is booming package volume through the roof. Package revenue this year increased 2.9 billion compared to FYI 2019. In other words, the post service has made more revenue in the pandemic than it did in the last period or the same period last year.
Congressman Green: (04:16:36)
USPS is in no immediate fiscal danger. On June 30th, the board said that they have, “Significant liquidity to continue operating through at least August 2021.” Postmaster DeJoy, who said, “I don’t need anything to deliver mail on election night, but we do need legislative reform, we need freedom from a change in the Postal Regulatory Commission Regulation, and we do need to be reimbursed for our costs.” The fact is the postal service well-prepared for the election? Yes. Postmaster General DeJoy has had a long career in logistics, unanimously selected for the post by the board of governors, which has two Democrats, by the way. He’s implemented common sense cost cutting measures to address the problems.
Congressman Green: (04:17:23)
Saturday’s bill, which passed, tries to help those reforms and operational changes, while in the short term, the post service will be fine, reforms must eventually be instituted to ensure solvency. As far as these protesters outside, the home of the Postmaster General, these protesters who are banging pots and pans intimidating and bullying the Postmaster is terrible, it’s unconscionable, but completely in line with the book burning police, eye lasing, criminals who are destroying lives, destroying property in Democrat controlled city. But hey, that’s who they are now. Let’s not call the Congress back to fix the loss unemployment in a pandemic, but let’s call the Congress back to vote to give the post office more money, they don’t emergently need, before we even hold the investigative committee hearing, all that support a conspiracy theory that a bipartisanly selected Postmaster General is trying to steal an election, this is theatrical. It’s a joke. What a way to end the Democrat majority’s time leading the house. Another conspiracy theory and attack on the President. Typical. Actually it’s saddening. Our postal workers are quite capable, and they are ready for the 2020 election. Madam Chairwoman, with that I yield.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:18:45)
Congresswoman Lawrence. You’re now recognized Congresswoman Lawrence.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:19:04)
Thank you Madam Chair. Postmaster General, shortly after you took the office, I reached out to schedule a introductory call with no agenda in particular, just to share my experiences as a career postal employee to kind of welcome you to the seat. But my request was turned down. I was told you needed your time to get acquainted with the agency, and that you did not have time to have that meeting. But I’ve seen since you’ve been in office, the time to get antiquated to make these really, really impactful decisions on delivery and processing of the mail, you were comfortable with doing so. I want to ask you Mr. DeJoy, are you familiar with Chapter One of 39 U.S. States Code?
No, I’m not.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:20:09)
Okay. The code reads, the United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided by the people to the people by the government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. Mr. DeJoy, Did you take an oath for office when you became the Postmaster General?
I did, ma’am.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:20:38)
I remember when I took my oath of office, when I was sworn in to be a employee of the postal service, and to just tell you my journey, because I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the names, I started as a distribution clerk, working tour one. Then I moved to being a letter carrier, then to being a acting supervisor, then a supervisor of delivering collection. I served in HR, I served in safety and health, I served as an EEO investigator. I had the entire state of Michigan in a district role of the women’s program and for career counseling and development.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:21:18)
I ended my career after several task force that are put on to monitor and to track the mail before we made decisions like taking out equipment, density counts. I, as a supervisor of delivery, I know what it took to remove a post office box, it’s called a collection box, it’s not a blue box, it’s a collection box. So I wanted to talk to you about, have you ever served as a letter carrier?
First off ma’am, I congratulate you on your career path. No, I’ve never served as a letter carrier.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:22:05)
I did serve, the postal service is introducing a new initiative called Expedited To Street Afternoon Sortation, and it reduces the morning office time to allow carriers to leave for the street earlier, and then upon returning from the streets, the carriers are then to sort any undelivered mail for the next day. Are you aware what that initiative that you have rolled out the impact it has on delivery caring?
To the intent that that was a program that was on the shelf. The intent of that program is to adjust for… It’s been a significant decline in mail, as you know, into an adjusted that was worked out with union leadership to run a pilot. I stopped the pilot when I stopped everything else. So the intent of it is to get the carriers out earlier so they can come back earlier. And that’s basically in the day.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:23:12)
Mr. DeJoy, I really stress that you do some deliberate work to understand the impact that it has, because if a carrier does not come back, because this is the challenge that we have all the time, a carrier, if he has only one piece of advertisement, must stop at every home. So regardless of the volume, if you’re making the same amount of stops, you’re not going to shorten the time. And so when you do that, the carrier is going to be out basically the same amount of time. And so when they come back, you’re delaying the mail. I have complaints in my office from people getting delivery one day a week now, sir. That is not according to your oath, that is not according to what the Chapter One of 39 says your role is.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:24:11)
I want to, in my short period of time, Madam Chair, I was interrupted, I would just like to end this with, some of my colleagues have said, this is a theater. Why are you here? You’re here because the citizens of the United States rely on the postal service to deliver, our seniors our veterans. One thing is clear, you have been a major supporter of the President as documented. I don’t resent you for that. You have that, right? But when you are getting messages daily in tweets that the postal services, we don’t make a deal, they don’t get the money. The money means that you won’t have universal mail in. I want you to know that you have an oath of office-
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:24:59)
The gentlewoman’s time has expired.
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:25:00)
… and I expect for you, and the American people expect for you to hold it. Thank you ma’am.
And ma’am, I will live up to that oath. And if I can expand on your question with regard to the expedited process. That would not result in one day a week mail across, in any area, we do have some employee availability issues in some of the hot spots across the nation where we have, as you would know, we could have 700 routes and only 500 carriers, and it’s-
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:25:37)
For crying out loud, why would you implement that in this time?
I did not implement anything to affect that. The expedite-
Congresswoman Lawrence: (04:25:46)
But you’re adding fuel to the fire, and that’s the point I want to-
I’m committed to six day delivery. I am committed to growing the postal service, I have ideas for new business opportunities for the postal service. In the code, it also says we must be self sustaining, and we’re not, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Thank you though. And congrats again.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:26:15)
In the interest of time the gentleman has been testifying for quite a long time, and we are now going to have a recess for five minutes. (Silence). The committee will now reconvene. Congresswoman Plaskett, you are now recognized.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:39:11)
Thank you very much Madam Chairwoman. And thank the witness for being here. Mr. DeJoy, first, before I have that discussion with you, my line of questioning, hearing my colleague just a little earlier talking about abuse of power was just such an outrageous statement, and what he said was an abuse of power. I think we in Congress are here to ensure that there is no abuse of power in any of the branches of government. And when he talks about the collusion, we see that when the Senate Republicans finally get off of their butts and do their job, eventually there is corroboration to some of the work that happens here in the house, at least the house is going to do its job. And there are issues that need to be addressed.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:40:03)
… the House is going to do its job. And there are issues that need to be addressed here today, and that’s what we’re going to do. So Postmaster DeJoy, your general counsel, Thomas Marshall, said, “We are currently unable to balance our costs with available funding sources to fulfill both our universal service mission and other legal obligations.” That letter went on to outline a number of drastic operational changes that are being attempted to implement in the name of cost cutting. You have spoken here today about the measures that need to take place, and in one instance you’re saying how you want to get those done, and then I also hear you saying as if it was not you or you’re not responsible for the changes that have been made. In your August 13th email to all postal employees, you took credit for the changes that have been made. Here’s what you said. You took credit, and you said also, unfortunately, “This transformative initiative has had unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels.” That was your email, is that correct? Mr. DeJoy?
It sounds like it is.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:41:10)
Okay. And as a transformative initiative, it’s fair to say that these changes were intended to have a meaningful impact, is that correct?
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:41:18)
And these changes are happening across several states and across the country.
I don’t know what you’re reading from.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:41:26)
The transformative changes that are that you all have intended as cost cutting measures
No, it was not cost-cutting masters. The two changes I made was the organization and complying with the schedule. I [crosstalk 04:41:41] other changes-
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:41:41)
And those transformative initiatives have happened across states, several states?
Every state a truck moves in, yes.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:41:47)
Okay, so that would be several states. Yes. Thank you. I have a slide that I’d like to show about First Class Mail. If you can see from the slide, this is a US Postal Service slide, it discusses the pre-sort First Class Mail. It appears that there’s been a decline since July. This slide reflects nationwide numbers. Would you agree with that, Mr. DeJoy?
Yes, it does.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:42:10)
And clearly an 8% drop in one-time mail is a meaningful impact, and the headlines from across the country that the committee has collected show how widespread these delays are. Would you agree that there are delays presently?
There are delays, yes.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:42:24)
Thank you. I know in my own district, which relies heavily on the mail, because we cannot drive to different big boxes or other locations being an island, [Leonadi Blake 00:02:36], her Cigna prescriptions usually take three to five days, have taken two weeks. Shannon [Desig 04:42:43], who runs a small retail store on St. John, usually 10 days max for Priority, which is kind of long for Priority, but we are an island, and now it takes weeks.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:42:52)
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:42:54)
Ivan Jacobs, Priority Mail typically takes four days. It’s now taking 12 days. [Charlene Stapleton 00:04:42:59] summer college program items have disappeared. It goes on and on and on. Now in 39 USC Section 3661-B provides, “When the Postal Service determines that there should be a change in the nature of postal services which generally affects service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis, it shall submit a proposal within a reasonable time prior to the effective date of such proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) requesting an advisory opinion on the change.” Now, you have agreed with me in previous questions that this has been a change that has substantial nationwide basis, it generally affects postal services, and that it is a change in nature of postal service which generally affects service on a nationwide, substantial basis. Have you, sir, submitted a request for an advisory opinion to the Postal Regulatory Commission?
A request for an advisory opinion on asking the organization to adhere to their transportation schedules is not required.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:44:08)
I didn’t ask you about the transportation schedules. I asked you…
That’s the only change that [inaudible 04:44:14]…
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:44:13)
If I may finish my statement, sir. I’ll let you finish yours. That when a Postal Service determines there should be a change in the nature of postal services which generally affects service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis, the changes that have occurred are… have had a meaningful impact on service, one, under Buchanan vs. US Postal Service, the three factors for legal requirements are a meaningful impact on service, a change that must be in the nature of postal services, and a change which would “affect a broad geographic area.” Does that not the case?
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:44:50)
The gentlelady’s time has expired. The gentlemen may answer.
Thank you. The change that was made was not expected to have the impact it had for the duration of the period that it had, but it also did not contribute to 10 and 12 and two-week delays. Mail that was processed that didn’t make it on a truck would have gone on the next truck. If you looked at that chart, you would see that as soon as we went into day plus one, we were backup into the 90 percentile. There are other factors that are contributing to excessive delays throughout the country for these longer delays.
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:45:37)
Congresswoman Plaskett: (04:45:39)
… as well as others. And the fact that you would institute these impacts after that has happening to this country. Really questions your logistics expertise.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:45:48)
The gentlelady’s time has expired.
We are working very, very hard across the whole country to get all the mail on the trucks, and we’re seeing rapid recovery. And we will… Once this is put back in balance, we will have a better system and a much more cost effective system.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:46:12)
Okay. The Congresswoman’s time has expired. Congress member Gomez, you are now recognized. Vice Chair of the Committee, Congressman Gomez.
Congressman Gomez: (04:46:21)
Thank you so much, Madam Chairs. I want to focus on the change that you take credit for, which is making sure that the trucks have gone out on time. So I’m going to read a series of questions. Most of them at the beginning are yes, no. You instituted a change to sharply reduce extra mail delivery trips by “requiring trucks to run on time and on schedule,” correct?
Congressman Gomez: (04:46:44)
And referring to this new delivery schedule, you told the Senate, “Our production processing within the plants was not fully aligned with the established schedule, so we had some delays in mail.” Correct?
Congressman Gomez: (04:46:57)
Mr. DeJoy, when precisely did you implement the change of requiring the trucks to leave on time? The date.
It was the second week, I think, second week of July.
Congressman Gomez: (04:47:10)
Second week of July. Thank you, sir. So you told the Senate that the US Postal Service did an analysis showing these changes theoretically would mean “all late deliveries would have been improved.” Then you told Senator Rosen that didn’t happen “for a variety of reasons.” Then you continued, “The analysis we did would show that we would improve service to every constituent.” Can you briefly describe the variety of reasons that that did not happen?
You confused me.
Congressman Gomez: (04:47:38)
Basically the fact that you said that this would actually improve by the delivery of mail on time, you said that that would happen. And then later on, you said for a variety of reasons that did not happen. What are those variety of reasons?
Yeah, so the this will improve service and reduce cost substantially, and it will also be the fundamental baseline of operation for postal services [crosstalk 04:48:08]…
Congressman Gomez: (04:48:05)
Mr. DeJoy, I’m going to reclaim my time. I’m asking you specifically, because you said this in the beginning of your testimony, you said for a variety of reasons…
Specifically… One of the big… So variety of reasons has to do why mail delivery is down across the nation. With regard to this specific change, the production schedules within the plants were not aligned with the transportation schedules going out… going between the plants. There’s about 10% of the mail was not aligned. The production plants were getting done late, and the trucks were leaving. This was not a mandate that every truck leaves on time. We still have a significant amount of trucks that run delay and a significant amount of extra trips. Judgements were made at each individual plant that that did not… that provided for transitional in doing it. We will get this back. We’re working it very hard, and it will be a successful endeavor for the United States Postal Service.
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:03)
Well, that’s what we’re hoping. Mr. DeJoy, you couldn’t make this commitment to the Senate on Friday, so I’m going to ask you again. Do you commit providing the analysis that you use regarding the truck schedules that would show that there will be lower late deliveries? Would you provide that to us by Friday?
I will go back and see what I can…
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:22)
I have it for you right here. This is what you said. I can read a quote for you.
Okay, well I’ll go back and look, too, and if it said that and I have something, I’ll send it to you.
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:31)
I kind of highly doubt that you’re going to do that, but-
Why would you doubt? Why would you do that?
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:35)
Because you’re not very forthcoming. You also told the Senate, “Our recovery process…”
I’m here, sir.
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:39)
… “should have been a few days and amounted to be a few weeks.” Why have days turned into weeks?
I’m trying to figure that out.
Congressman Gomez: (04:49:50)
So what I find interesting is that you’re supposed to be some logistics expert, right? That’s what you’ve been brought in. That’s what people have said, that… and then all of a sudden, you said, “Okay, we’re going to get these trucks to leave on time,” but you didn’t focus on getting the mail to the people on time, and that you said that that would actually improve, right? You were to reduce late deliveries, but the opposite happened. And then you would say that it would take only a matter of days to fix, but that didn’t happen. Right?
Congressman Gomez: (04:50:18)
I know people that work in operations, my wife works in operations, very good at it, and they’re looking at data all the time, all the time, and seeing what little operational changes can be done to change the flow of whatever you’re trying to accomplish. So that’s what people are questioning your ability, right? I actually talked to a lot of postal workers in Los Angeles. I represent Los Angeles. I was out there, and they said that the delay in the packages, these changes, is causing mail to back up, where you have baby chickens that are being left in boxes that are going silent, that are starting to rot, food that’s starting to rot, flies that are starting to [infestate 04:50:58] the facilities. And they brought up the same fact that they take us an oath, an oath, to get the mail out on time. They’re asking are you living up to that oath, right?
Congressman Gomez: (04:51:09)
I was actually avoiding following other colleagues who called on you to resign, but I do think that now it’s time for you to resign, not because you’re necessarily there’s this grant political conspiracy but just the incompetence that we’ve seen when it comes to the Postal Service. It’s time for you either to step down and have somebody that can run it, or the Board of Governors should fire you. I yield back.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:51:33)
The gentleman yields back. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, you are now recognized.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:51:39)
Thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman, and thank you to Postmaster DeJoy for coming in and offering your testimony today. Mr. DeJoy, when your announcement in your new position as Postmaster General was announced, there was some folks that were flagging concerns that you would be the first Postmaster General in two decades without previous experience or service directly in the USPS. But to be fair, and as you mentioned, you do have extensive career experience in supply chain logistics, correct?
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:52:10)
And in fact, you served as CEO of your own supply chain company, New Breed Logistics, for 30 years, correct?
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:52:18)
And that was up until about 2014, when you merged New Breed Logistics with another company, XPO Logistics, where you also served as CEO for a year and then served on its board of directors until about 2018, when you submitted your resignation, correct?
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:52:34)
Now I would like… Madam Chairwoman, I would like to submit to the Committee three documents for the record: the Postmaster’s new entrant report detailing his financial disclosures, publicly available data detailing the USPS top suppliers for the last three years, and the recent XPO SEC filings. Now, Mr. DeJoy, you’ve received-
Speaker 16: (04:52:55)
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:52:55)
Thank you. Mr. DeJoy, you’ve received about $1. 86 million in rental payments from your former company XPO, correct?
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:53:10)
Have you taken any meetings with XPO Logistics since becoming Postmaster General?
I have not.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:53:16)
Have you emailed, texted, called, video conferenced, or communicated with your former company, XPO Logistics?
I have many friends at the company, and I’ve spoken to him casually over those several months. Yes, I probably would have spoken to him.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:53:31)
Thank you. Now you started in your role as Postmaster General on June 16th of this year. That’s a very big job. I don’t need to tell you that. And it has a lot of responsibility. You mentioned meeting with President Trump, Secretary Mnuchin. I can’t even imagine how busy that must be now. Do you keep a daily calendar?
I do, yeah.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:53:54)
Have you or your staff made any deletions to your calendar since becoming Postmaster General on June 16?
I don’t think so.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:02)
You don’t think so? Do ethics officers at USPS have access to your calendar to screen conflicts of interest?
We have an ethics officer that looks at meetings that I have, yes.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:15)
And they have full access to your calendar.
They will work… Yes.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:19)
Can we get a commitment from you to submit your calendar dating back to June 16th to this committee?
I don’t know. I’ll check with counsel.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:28)
Well, you know…
I don’t want to set a precedent for my calendar to be submitted every two months.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:34)
Well, according to regulations that we currently have, electronic calendars that are submitted and maintained on USPS computers are Agency records, and so can we get your commitment to hand that calendar over to this committee as a matter of course for investigation?
If that is in fact… I’m new to this. If that is in fact a process that our counsel says I must comply with, then I will do that, yes.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:54:58)
Thank you. Madam Chairwoman, I would say the details of this calendar are extraordinarily important to the committee’s investigations, and if we cannot receive them voluntarily, I would recommend consideration of a subpoena for these details.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: (04:55:15)
Now, lastly and selfishly, I represent New York’s 14th Congressional District. We have written the Agency several times regarding accessibility for a ramp in our historic Jackson Heights post office, and I would greatly appreciate return correspondence to make sure that we can ensure that our disabled and elderly constituents can get access to the post office. Thank you very much. I yield my time.
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:55:43)
The gentlelady yields.
Whenever. [inaudible 04:55:53]…
Chairwoman Maloney: (04:55:57)
You’re now recognized, Congresswoman.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:55:58)
Thank you, Chairwoman Maloney. While some of our colleagues might use this hearing to continue to gaslight and mislead our constituents, I am here to get to the truth. The American people deserve that. To direct the systemic slowdown of mail delivery during a pandemic within months of a national election is incomprehensible. At best, these actions represent irresponsible leadership from a novice who has absolutely no business leading a government agency. At worse, they are cruel, unethical, and anti-democratic, and this is certainly no way to repay the 600,000 dedicated and brave employees who risk their lives every day to deliver essential mail. The Postal Service is one of the largest employers of veterans and has one of the most diverse workforces in our country. 40% of postal workers are people of color, and for generations working for the USPS was one of the only living wage jobs accessible to black and brown Americans. No doubt, many of these families have a personal story of how the USPS job made it possible for them to buy their first home or to send their child to college.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:01)
Now, it is well documented that many of these same families have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will bear the brunt of any efforts to dismantle the USPS. So Mr. DeJoy, in the interest of time, yes or no: at your direction, the Postal Service is currently under a management hiring freeze. Yes or no.
At management level, yes.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:24)
For the record, Mr. DeJoy, does the hiring freeze apply to any other category of workers?
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:31)
And you are also seeking to push early retirement, correct?
We’ve submitted [inaudible 04:57:36]…
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:36)
Yes or no.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:39)
Mr. DeJoy, 40,000 postal workers have had to quarantine. Over 6000 have tested positive, and over 60 have died from COVID-19. Do you know if these numbers are the most accurate and up to date?
83 have died.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:57:55)
And so to be clear, does this mean that you are collecting, in real time, formal data on COVID- 19 and its impact on your workforce?
We have a task force that has complete visibility of everything from PPE to cases in the geographical area, cases within the Postal Service.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:58:18)
So you do have a mechanism whereby you are, in real time, formally collecting data as to the impact of COVID-19 on your workforce.
Yes, we do.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:58:27)
Okay. In the Greater Boston region alone, more than 220 postal workers have contracted COVID-19. A letter carrier in Chelsea, a city in my district, was hospitalized and was told by his doctors that his respiratory system would never be the same. Mr. DeJoy, will you commit to providing this committee with the data that you say you are already formerly collecting disaggregated by Congressional District, on COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers by Friday? Since this is quite literally a matter of life and death.
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:59:03)
Can you commit to that, to providing this committee with data disaggregated by Congressional District on COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests, and quarantines of postal workers by Friday?
I will look into our ability to provide that to the Congress, and if it’s available, we’ll certainly do it. I don’t…
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:59:23)
It would certainly be in keeping with the oath that you took and what you’ve offered here, so I look forward to receiving that by Friday. Now, a few days ago before the Senate, you said the delays in delivery are attributable to “employee availability in many, many parts of the country.” So isn’t it true that pursuing a hiring freeze and early retirement when your workforce is already stretched thin by coronavirus would exacerbate delays in the mail? Yes or no?
Pursuing a hiring freeze has to do… did not have anything to do with the [inaudible 00:19:57]…
Congresswoman Pressley: (04:59:57)
Yes or no. Your workforces are [inaudible 04:59:59] thin…
No, no, no, no, no. No.
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:01)
Mr. Dunkin, were you aware when you… when you selected… Where is Mr. Dunkin?
He’s not here.
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:08)
Okay. Here you go.
Speaker 17: (05:00:08)
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:11)
Okay. Mr. Dunkin.
Mr. Dunkin: (05:00:13)
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:13)
I was just looking to direct myself. Okay. Were you aware when you selected Mr. DeJoy that his company, New Breed Logistics was determined by the National Labor Relations Board to have acted with anti-union animus? Yes or no?
Mr. Dunkin: (05:00:26)
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:28)
Were you aware that the Equal Opportunity Commission won a $1.5 million lawsuit against New Breed for sexual harassment and retaliation? Yes or no?
Mr. Dunkin: (05:00:38)
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:40)
Were you aware that four women working for New Breed suffered miscarriages because the company refused to accommodate their requests for light duty? Yes or no?
Mr. Dunkin: (05:00:47)
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:00:50)
Did you make any attempt to investigate these labor and employment practices before making him the head of one of the largest and most diverse federal workforces? If not, why not?
Mr. Dunkin: (05:01:00)
Yes, we have various background checks. Russell Reynolds hired DC firm to do an additional background check on him. We worked with our inspector general to [crosstalk 05:01:10] background…
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:01:10)
Well, I question the integrity of that background check if you don’t have answer to these questions.
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:01:17)
The gentlelady’s time has expired.
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:01:17)
And Mr. DeJoy, the hardworking people…
Speaker 18: (05:01:17)
Time has expired.
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:01:17)
… of the United States Postal Service deserve a better leader.
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:01:17)
Speaker 18: (05:01:17)
Madam Chair. Madam Chair.
Congresswoman Pressley: (05:01:20)
In my opinion, the only thing you should be delivering is your resignation.
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:01:22)
Okay. Congressman Armstrong, you are now recognized for five minutes.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:01:29)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I’m the last one on our side that gets to go, so I’m going to ask probably the most important question of the day. Passed $25 billion from the US House of Representatives yesterday, and if you don’t get that money that we passed on Saturday, will the post office be fully operational on November 3rd?
Yes, we’ll be fully operational.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:01:49)
Thank you. I sat right there in that chair in April 2019, the last time that we had a hearing on the Post Office and postal reforms, and we listened for a day as we heard about the systemic problems, all of the consequences, the years-long of losing money and all the strategic disadvantages that exist in the Post Office. And something happened. The witness in your seat at that time managed to do something which is unique in this committee, and she drew equal opportunity criticism from both sides of the aisle. Now, just to be clear, you weren’t the Postmaster General in April 2019.
No, I was not.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:02:24)
I was on a telephone briefing in April of 2020 when we heard about the impacts of COVID from overtime to your postal workers contracting to the disease and where the Democrats of this committee absolutely said that we needed $25 billion or the Postal Office wouldn’t exist. And I do want to say, I’m sorry for the 83 people who have died and all the people in your organization that have been sick. I didn’t agree with it then, and I don’t agree with it now, but to be clear, you weren’t the Postmaster General in April of 2019, were you?
No, sir, I wasn’t.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:02:59)
I’d ask unanimous consent to submit the memorandum from April of 2019 or 2000…
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:03:05)
[inaudible 05:03:05] objection.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:03:06)
So then we got to ask what this is about, and what it’s about is driving fear, placing blame, and probably most significantly raising money. But it’s not about raising money for the Post Office, it’s about raising money for elections. And I have here DCCC, DNC members of Congress, members of Senate, all running ads on the Post Office. You know what? About saving the post office. None of these ran in 2019, none of these ran in April 2020. So we’re asking for the same thing we asked for in April of 2020, and we’ve waited until August to run these things. In fact, your organization had to issue a cease and desist to MoveOn.org, did they not?
I’m not aware. I think I heard something about that.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:03:52)
Well, I’m going to ask unanimous consent to issue the Post Office record on a cease and desist to MoveOn.org.
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:03:58)
Congressman Armstrong: (05:04:00)
I love your organization. I love your carriers. I love your rural carriers. I was the only Republican on this committee to co-sponsor the pre-funding bill on the pension bill. Best thing I’ve heard you say all day is you’re committed to six-day mail, because maybe one of the reasons we’re not as disproportionately impacted in North Dakota is because we’ve been going through this for a long time. So that’s the best thing I have heard all day long. But I do have a couple of questions and you’ve talked about making sure the elections and doing all of that, but some of this is based on… I mean, you’re talking about votes as they come in throughout the system, right? So North Dakota, 23% of their votes is typically absentee, about. Ohio, pretty important states, 21% of their ballots is typically absentee. Wisconsin, 28%. Now, I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that those numbers get to 60%, this election cycle. Would you agree with that?
They’re going to be a great deal higher.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:04:58)
But you cannot deliver a ballot unless it’s requested. If a voter doesn’t request it, the Post Office can’t send it.
Well, that’s true, but in places where they… I don’t know the particular state rules, but they’re…
Congressman Armstrong: (05:05:13)
And that’s what I’m getting to. And so if the ballots track throughout the course of this in their normal theory or rate, that works, but Wisconsin doesn’t require you to request a ballot until October 29th, and they’re required to be due back on 11th third… on 11/3. The difference between 28% and 60% is about 2.9 billion ballots. Ohio, the difference between 21% and 60% is about 2.1 million ballots, and they don’t require you to request one until October 31st, and it’s due back on the second. North Dakota, my state who got one of these letters, doesn’t require doesn’t require you to postmark your ballot until the 11/2 for the election, and the difference between 23% and 60% would be 126,327 ballots. So my question for you is how are we going to deal… I mean, how do you possibly deal with different capacity issues as it exists there?
Sir, the capacity to handle is not really going to be the issue. The issue is going to be as with the dates that you identified, as we get closer, the… we could have… we’ve had situations where when the ballots come in on the same day, the turnaround time is so slow that we need to really scour and look amongst all the other 450 million pieces of mail, find ballots and make sure they get delivered and postmarked. And the problem comes in when, once we do that, we get it over to the State Election Boards, and it’s what they decide to do with the timing and everything with the ballot that is… whether the ballot gets counted or not.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:07:11)
And then I just have one last question that actually doesn’t relate to elections or anything, but you have seen an increase in packages volume at the… or at the United Postal Service since the pandemic began, and we’ve seen the decrease in First Class Mail over the course of time. Our law firm went from $30,000 a year to zero, but is there some… Are you looking into, because you’re making more of a profit on packages, that you may be prioritizing packages versus First Class Mail?
There’s no… There’s a lot of judgment used in each location, and one of the things I’m trying to get my hands around, and… but the general intent is what comes in comes out according to its class, right? So if it’s a First Class package, it would move ahead. So there’s no specific direction to do anything. And I appreciate your support on the six-day-a-week delivery. I think there are many, many ideas we’re working internally right now to help really connect with the American people in the new economy and grow some revenue and achieve sustainability. So thank you.
Congressman Armstrong: (05:08:23)
Thank you. And…
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:08:24)
The gentleman’s time has expired. Congresswoman Tlaib, you are now recognized.
Congresswoman Tlaib: (05:08:30)
Thank you so much, Madam Chair, and welcome to the People’s House, Postmaster General DeJoy. My residents and I don’t have a tremendous amount of time, so I really would appreciate straightforward answers to the questions I have. As a lawyer, Mr. DeJoy, I believe that it is incredibly important that all of us citizens, especially public servants leading major federal agencies, are fully aware of and understand fully the law. Do you agree? Yes or no?
Congresswoman Tlaib: (05:09:01)
Good. Then as an educational exercise and to ensure everyone here is clear on the law, I’d like to start by paraphrasing 18 US Code Clause 1701, which says, “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs the passage of mail shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months or both.” I recommend that you and your lawyers familiarize yourself with this passage in particular, but as well as 18 US Code Clauses 595 and 610.
Congresswoman Tlaib: (05:09:26)
So Mr. DeJoy, let’s look at how you came to work for the impeached President. Before this role, you have never worked in the federal government as a public servant, correct?
Congresswoman Tlaib: (05:09:39)
So clearly you were not hired for your or deep understanding of the federal government. So let’s see what experience you do have, your resume, so to speak. Before becoming the Postmaster General, you were for a time a Deputy National Fundraising Chairman for the GOP, and since 2016 you donated approximately $1.2 million to this impeached President’s campaign and groups that support him. On June 24th, 2020, you bought between 50,000 and 100,000 in what you refer to as “covered calls” in the Amazon corporation. But let’s be very clear, Mr. DeJoy: no matter what financial maneuvering you performed to try to hide it, the fact is that you have financial interest in Amazon. So Mr. DeJoy, yes or no: are you aware that Amazon uses the US Postal Service for 40% of its shipping?
I disagree with the premise that I bought stock and…
Speaker 17: (05:10:32)
Do you know that 40% of its shipping?
I know that it does a lot of shipping with us, yes.
Speaker 17: (05:10:37)
Okay. And I understand it, your Amazon “covered calls” expires in about October of this year. So you’ll have to make a decision regarding this financial interest and may potentially have sensitive information about Amazon’s business with the US Postal Service which may influence that decision. This appears to be a classic example of conflict of interest and insider trading. Yes or no? Will you commit right now to divest any and all financial interest in Amazon to avoid illegal insider trading?
Ma’am, that was a lot of time on an issue that doesn’t matter. I don’t own any Amazon.
Speaker 17: (05:11:12)
You have financial interest. You can call it whatever you want, Mr. DeJoy. It’s a financial interest.
I don’t own anything with Amazon. You can continue to…
Speaker 17: (05:11:20)
Until you do that, your financial interest in Amazon will continue to be problematic and illegal and a conflict of interest. Regarding this matter, you have a simple choice, Mr. DeJoy: you can either resign or divest in that interest. It is very clear that you have vested interest in seeing the President remain in office and your financial interest in Amazon demonstrates a clear conflict of interest that would be greatly concerning even if you weren’t in the process of dismantling the Postal Service, which you are. And I’ve heard from a number of carriers, a number of people in my postal service, that completely conflict with what you’re saying to us in this committee. Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from folks that have said that not only are significant delays from changes you’ve made, but some [inaudible 05:12:04] critical medications, again due to delays of your actions.
Speaker 17: (05:12:10)
I like to remind you that unlike in the private sector, Mr. DeJoy, where you served your own self interest, your job as post general… Postmaster General is not to serve your own profit schemes on the taxpayer’s dime. You are to serve the United States Postal Service, its workers, and the American people. This impeached President, Mr. DeJoy, you have to realize, has a track record of employing crooks who end up in a lot of trouble for their illegal activities, Mr. DeJoy. Rick Gate, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon. With all due respect, you are not in good company right now, so do the right thing and resign. And I thank the Madam Chair for bringing this to our attention.
Speaker 17: (05:12:53)
And please, on behalf of the 13th Congressional District, all we want is for our folks to have access to a qualified Postmaster General that understands the importance of medication, understands that workers need protection at the workplace, and that we are going to actually get mail delivered on time. Because what we hear on the streets, Mr. DeJoy, is completely the opposite of what you’re saying to us. And you’ve done so much damage in just short a period of time that you’ve been there. And I do believe there’s a conflict of interest and you need to understand there are legal consequences to that. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chairwoman Maloney: (05:13:30)
The gentlelady’s time has expired. Congresswoman Porter, you are now recognized. Congresswoman Porter.
Congresswoman Porter: (05:13:36)
Mr. DeJoy, thank you for being with us today. What is the cost of a First Class postage stamp?
Congresswoman Porter: (05:13:48)
Just wanted to check. What about to mail a postcard?
I don’t know, ma’am.
Congresswoman Porter: (05:13:55)
You don’t know the cost to mail a postcard?
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:01)
What if I want to mail a… You said 55 cents for a First Class stamp, but what if it’s one of those greeting cards that’s a square envelope? Then what is the postage?
I’ll submit that I know very little about a postage stamp.
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:16)
Then what is the weight limit? You are more in the shipping logistics business. What’s the weight limit for Priority Mail?
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:27)
Okay. And what is the starting rate for USPS Priority Mail?
The starting rate for what?
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:36)
USPS Priority Mail.
Starting weight? 14 ounces.
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:42)
No, the rate, the price.
I don’t know. I don’t know.
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:48)
Do you know about, within a million or so, can you tell me how many people voted by mail in the last presidential election?
No, I cannot
Congresswoman Porter: (05:14:58)
To the nearest 10 million?
I would be-
Speaker 19: (05:15:05)
Is that a no, Mr. DeJoy?
… I would be guessing, and I don’t want to guess.
Speaker 19: (05:15:10)
Okay. So, Mr. DeJoy, I am concerned. I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency. And I’m particularly concerned about it because you started taking very decisive action when you became Postmaster General. You started directing the unplugging and destroying of machines, changing of employee procedures and locking of collection boxes. As a professor, I’ve always told my students that one of the most important rules in life is to read the instructions. Did you actually read an independently analyze the major overhaul plans before you ordered them to take effect?
Again, I will repeat that I did not order major overhaul plans. The items you identify were not directed by me. I did, and we don’t need much analysis to run the trucks to a schedule.
Speaker 19: (05:16:15)
Reclaiming my time, Mr. DeJoy, could you please tell me who did order these changes, if you, as Postmaster General, did not? Because these changes have resulted in, and you have said yourself in this hearing-
Well, the Postal Service has been around for 250 years. There were plans, there were many, many executives, almost 30,000 executives within the organization-
Speaker 19: (05:16:35)
Reclaiming my time, Mr.DeJoy-
… and there were plans that existed prior to my arrival that were implemented.
Speaker 19: (05:16:42)
Mr. DeJoy, if you did not order these actions to be taken, please tell the committee the name of who did.
I do not know.
Speaker 19: (05:16:55)
Mr. DeJoy, did you analyze these plans before they went into effect, you as Postmaster General supervise whomever did apparently [crosstalk 05:17:07]?
As I’ve stated numerous times, the plans were in effect and being implemented before I arrived.
Speaker 19: (05:17:16)
But Mr. DeJoy, do you take responsibility for these changes?
I take responsibility from the day I sat in a seat for any service deterioration that has occurred. You’re asking about operational changes that go on throughout the whole organization around the country. I don’t-
Speaker 19: (05:17:42)
Mr. DeJoy, I’m reclaiming my time, sir. Mr. DeJoy, will you commit to reversing these changes?
Speaker 19: (05:17:52)
Mr. DeJoy, will you commit to, if the independent… I want to switch to conflicts of interest quickly. Will you commit that, if the Inspector General finds that you committed misconduct with regard to your financial interest in any other company, such as XPO Logistics or Amazon, will you commit, if the Inspector General find that you’ve committed misconduct, will you commit to then resigning?
I don’t believe they will find misconduct, but I don’t see why I would commit here right now to resigning for any reason.
Speaker 19: (05:18:31)
Well, you don’t think there’s any reason that you should ever resign?
No reason that I’ve heard here today.
Speaker 19: (05:18:39)
Okay. Mr. DeJoy, do you today, because this has been… You’ve gone back and forth a bit. I want to ask one final question. Do you own any financial interest, whether options or stocks, covered calls bought or sold, do you own today any financial interest in Amazon?
I do not.
Ms. Maloney: (05:19:03)
The [inaudible 05:19:04] lady’s time has expired. [inaudible 05:19:06] you may answer the question in more detail, if he wishes. The chair now recognizes the Vice Chair, Congressman Gomez, for the purpose of a unanimous consent request.
Congressman Gomez: (05:19:20)
Madam Chair, I’m asking unanimous consent to enter into the record the transcript of Mr. DeJoy’s testimony in the Senate on August 21st, where he specifically says, “Senator, I will go back and get the analysis that designed a truck schedule that I directed.”
Ms. Maloney: (05:19:39)
Without objection. The Chair now recognizes Congressman Quigley. You are now recognized, Congressman Quigley.
Congressman Quigley: (05:19:49)
Thank you, Madam Chair. Thank you, sir, for being so patient. I, too, am not accustomed this long [end 05:19:55] to being at the end of the questioning, but it does afford us an opportunity to try to put this in the larger picture. One side says blame, the other side says accountability, and doing what you did in the private sector, you recognize accountability. Appreciate the fact that it would be hard to sense that you are accepting it now. You’ve accepted the responsibility for the delays, but we’re still not clear what exactly what changes took place and what were yours. Under Ms. Lawrence’s questioning, you said you stopped the pilot program when you stopped everything else. Let me ask you, what in your mind were you stopping besides the pilot program?
I stopped the removal of collection boxes around the country, I stopped the process of reducing hours at postal retail centers, and I stopped the removal of the flat and mail sortation machines.
Congressman Quigley: (05:21:09)
So, your argument for doing that was that it wasn’t working or-
No, it just I met with the Speaker and Senator Schumer, and we just collectively thought about the heightened discussion that was going on around the nation [crosstalk 00:05:21:28].
Congressman Quigley: (05:21:29)
And respectfully, sir, why that, and not the overtime issues and not the sorting machines? Why did you pick those and not the others, which seem to have pretty dramatic impacts, given the fact that things didn’t go well? Wouldn’t you want to look back, coming from the private sector, and say, “Gee, maybe that is impacting us negatively”? Was there some other reason you’re thinking, “Well, no, I’m not going to change those”?
Not change the truck schedule and the-
Congressman Quigley: (05:21:59)
The overtime, the sorting machines.
I have spent $700 million, and we have spent $700 million-
Congressman Quigley: (05:22:05)
You recognize that there are many, including in my district, post office locations which are cutting back on overtime. They’re following somebody’s order, and you won’t mention who that is, so back to accountability, you got to admit, you own it, right?
How do you know that they’re cutting back on overtime?
Congressman Quigley: (05:22:27)
Well, let me put it another way. Are you certain that they’re not cutting back on overtime?
The direction was given to stop cutting back on overtime in postal retail centers. So, am I certain?
Congressman Quigley: (05:22:44)
When was that given?
I haven’t done an audit yet, but I would believe they’re pretty compliant.
Congressman Quigley: (05:22:52)
Wait, when was that order given? Was that part of the order you just talked about?
I don’t know what you’re asking me.
Congressman Quigley: (05:23:00)
Are you saying when you stopped everything else, it included the overtime issue, as well?
There was no directive to reduce overtime anywhere within the organization. Overtime-
Congressman Quigley: (05:23:14)
And are you certain that no one was cutting back on overtime?
No, I’m not certain. That’s part of the problem at the Postal Service, sir. That’s what I’m trying to get my hands around. And that’s why I did the reorganization. There’s a lot judgement-
Congressman Quigley: (05:23:30)
Respectfully, you can imagine, though-
… there’s a lot of judgment made in local areas that is not [crosstalk 05:23:34].
Congressman Quigley: (05:23:34)
… you’re being selective in what you’re taking credit for or not. And a cynical person could say, “You’re just trying to avoid going before the regulatory body,” because these aren’t changes, but when your own, as you say, you’re a Republican, when your own party says, “Did you stop these changes?” You said, “Yes.” And in your documents, you talk about the fact that there were changes. You can’t have it both ways. There were changes. You seem to have a line there that you don’t want to have, because it means you have to go before the regulatory board, and you don’t want to do that.
It sounds like-
Congressman Quigley: (05:24:08)
It sounds like what happened.
It sounds like a weak theory to me.
Congressman Quigley: (05:24:15)
Have you communicated with anyone in the administration since you were considered for this spot about how to operate USPS?
Congressman Quigley: (05:24:27)
No one has communicated with you who works in any way with the Trump administration, and you haven’t communicated in any way with anyone who works in the Trump administration or the Trump campaign about how to operate post office?
The only time I communicated with someone in the Trump administration was Secretary Mnuchin when we were negotiating the terms of the $10 billion note. And my discussion in… It was early on in my arrival in generalities where that I think that we have some opportunities here, looking to try and grow revenue, improve service, and get some costs out.
Congressman Quigley: (05:25:11)
And what was the direction the other way?
There was no direction. The Postal Service is mine to run. There was no direction.
Congressman Quigley: (05:25:17)
My time’s expired.
Ms. Maloney: (05:25:18)
Your time is expired. Before we adjourn, I really want to thank you very much for your time. You’ve been here all day. Oh, wait a minute. Is she here? She’s virtual. Okay. I saw her earlier. There’s one more member of Congress who has waived on from the great state of North Carolina. It’s Alma Adams. She was here, but she is now virtual, alma Adams. You are now recognized. Alma Adams, are you… I assume she’s not here with us now. Is she around or not? No. It doesn’t appear that she’s here now. But before we adjourn, I have a few items that I’d like to wrap up with the witness, and also, I would like to grant ranking member Comer all the time that he may want to consume. And he will get that opportunity once I am finished. I’ll move through this quickly in the interest of time. She is here? Is she remote? So, she is getting on. My apologies to you, Mr. DeJoy. Congresswoman Adams, you are now recognized.
Speaker 20: (05:26:51)
Tell her to unmute herself. Tell her to unmute herself.
Ms. Maloney: (05:26:54)
Congresswoman Adams, can you unmute yourself?
Speaker 20: (05:26:56)
Tell her to take out her [inaudible 00:12:07].
Ms. Maloney: (05:27:08)
Take out what? Okay. (silence).
Speaker 21: (05:28:46)
Mr. DeJoy, you may want to hire the Democrats’ computer guy to help deliver the mail on time.
Ms. Maloney: (05:28:52)
I apologize for the delay. We were trying to accommodate really from your home state, North Carolina, who wanted to question you. So, Mr. DeJoy, on Friday, Senator Peters asked you if you had discussed the changes to postal operations with President Trump, mark Meadows, anyone else at the, at the White House, or anyone in the campaign, and you said no. I believe that Mark Meadows has accompanied you to meetings on Capitol Hill, and for the record, do you stand by your statement that you have had no conversations with Mark Meadows about any changes in postal operations?
I’m trying to remember the answer that I gave. Mark Meadows accompanied Steven Mnuchin and myself and Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi. We were in the room, and then we started talking about machines. I mean, from the standpoint of that conversation there, Mark Meadows was there. I left, we shut the thing, and then we had a discussion about, when we made the decision here at the Postal Service, to stop the processes with regard to the sorting machines and so forth. I can’t remember when I spoke to him about that, but I was speaking to… I called the Speaker. I called Senator Schumer. I think we’ve reached out to your office. So, that particular process, we spoke about the stopping that we were doing. With regard to the changes with regard to the organization and with regard to the truck schedule, I didn’t speak to anybody about that.
Ms. Maloney: (05:30:51)
Okay. Have you spoken to anyone else at the White House at any time about changes to postal operations?
No, ma’am, I haven’t.
Ms. Maloney: (05:31:02)
Okay. So, if you didn’t consult… Okay. If you didn’t consult with these people… Or should we go to Alma Adams? She’s now ready to talk. Alma? Alma Adams, should we now go to Alma… Alma, you are now recognized. I apologize. Alma Adams, you are recognized.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:31:25)
[inaudible 00:16:24]. Madam Chair, can you hear me?
Ms. Maloney: (05:31:28)
Yes, we can hear you, and we can see you.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:31:31)
Well, thank you very much, and I apologize. Some issue on this side, but thank you for convening the hearing. Thank you, Mr.DeJoy for being here today. I want you to know that my office, sir, has received almost 5,000 calls and emails asking Congress to save the Postal Service. As a matter of fact, the people love the Postal Service. They rate the Postal Service over 91%, more than any candidate I know. Now, I don’t live in the country club. I represented Guilford County for about 50 years, and I’m representing the 12th district in Charlotte now. But the folks that I represent can’t afford their medication to come late, they can’t afford for their balance to come late, and they can’t afford for their voices to be silenced. They need the US Postal Service, and let’s be clear, you have been charged with running a Postal Service, Mr. DeJoy and not a business. But I got a photo of my post office in Charlotte, but Mr. DeJoy, bless your heart, are you getting your mail on time, sir?
I do not know.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:32:42)
Okay. Well, I heard you say in your opening that you did not direct the removal of sorting machines and postal collection boxes, and you indicated you didn’t know who it was or who was doing that, but since you are in charge, I think it would be helpful, with all the questions that have been asked, for us to know that. But since I’m mentioning this blue box thing, in my district here, the boxes have been covered with trash bags. I don’t understand that, and I don’t know if you know anything about it, but do you? And there’s a photo of it.
I do not know anything about it.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:33:19)
Okay. Well, it’s in the post office that I go to, and it’s a main post office. And if you can find out, I would appreciate that. But I did visit the center yesterday, the Scott [Fatrel 05:33:33] Posting Distribution Center on Friday, and I was told that the USPS senior management said that you don’t, or foresee, having any influx of election mail going into the election of November 3rd. Is that correct?
I didn’t hear the question.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:33:53)
In other words, you’re not going to have an influx of election mail going into November, is that correct?
I don’t know how anybody would say that. I think as we move to the election, we’ll have election mail, and we’ll be able to handle it.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:34:16)
Well, seven machines are missing and being removed from Charlotte, and we have a demand in North Carolina of almost 400,000 people requesting their mailing ballots. In my district, 53,000. So, do you know about the sorting machines that are missing in my district?
I do not know specifically about sorting machines missing in your district.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:34:50)
All right. You also said that because you didn’t have any thing to do with that, and you came on and you accepted what was here, so do you think you can be helpful and at least putting things back? I know you said that that’s not something you wanted to do, but considering all of the testimony today, all of the stress that citizens are going through not getting their mail, not getting their medications, things getting spoiled, insulin, those kinds of things, do you think you could have a second thought about that, Mr. DeJoy?
First off, as I said, we’re all very concerned about each delivery. My goal right now is to have these, these truck trips filled with mail, and we’re seeing a great deal of improvement. And I believe we’ll be, with regards to the transportation, we will be in much better shape over the next week.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:36:05)
Okay. Let me stop you right here, because I don’t want to know about that part. I wanted to know if you’re having any second thoughts. I certainly hope that you would. So, let me ask you about the… On August 18th, you announced an expansion of the Postal Service Leadership Task Force. On the 21st, the Board of Elections announced the bipartisan mail committee. Is this initiative different from the task force that you announced on the 18th, Mr. DeJoy?
So, to be clear, we had a task force, there was a task force at the Postal Service before I arrived. After review, I expanded the task force to include the union leadership, and then the Board, at a Board meeting, decided to just to show the connectivity of the Board, to the management team, through the 650,000 workers that were all to represent to the American public, that we’re all together on guaranteeing that we would have a safe and secure election.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:37:09)
Okay. Let me reclaim my time here for a moment and ask you for [inaudible 05:37:13]
Ms. Maloney: (05:37:13)
Congresswoman, your time is expired. Congresswoman, your time is expired.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:37:15)
Ms. Maloney: (05:37:15)
I will allow Mr. DeJoy to elaborate more if he’d like, but your time is expired.
Congresswoman Alma Adams: (05:37:20)
All right. I just want to know if he would allow you and the ranking member to appoint a staffer to participate at least as an observer on this committee.
Ms. Maloney: (05:37:31)
Well, I’m going to let him reply in writing because our time is expired right now, but I think that’s a good request and I’m sure he’ll give it good consideration. Now, Mr. DeJoy, so if you did not consult with these peoples about the operational changes, we are also interested in who you did consult with before making these changes. The unions have raised concerns that they were not adequately consulted, for example. So, my question is, will you provide this committee with a complete list of the people you did consult with about the changes, people inside the Postal Service, at other agencies, and any outside parties in the government or in the private sector? Will you provide us with that complete list?
Ma’am, the extent, I can tell you right now, I discussed this with all the vice presidents and the COO of the existing management team when I arrived, and the VPs around the area, there’s no big, complex problem solving that’s necessary to try and get your trucks to run on a schedule that’s designed to take the mail from the processing plant to the delivery unit so it gets on time. So, that was basically it. I had an OIG audit that was delivered to me, that you have access to. It’ll show you the damage that was being done to the organization by not running truck trips on time. And I asked the management team probably, 10 vice presidents, to put together a plan to run your trucks on time. About three weeks later, they came, they said, “We’re ready to go,” and we went. That’s the extent of the analysis.
Ms. Maloney: (05:39:34)
So, I’m going to ask you again for the people you consulted with. I ask it voluntarily, and I’d like it in writing, but if you refuse, then we will be forced to consider obtaining it by a subpoena.
Ms. Maloney: (05:39:49)
Mr. Dunkin, I would now like to turn to you. Mr. Dunkin, are you still with us, Mr. Duncan?
Mr. Duncan: (05:39:55)
Yes. Yes, Congresswoman.
Ms. Maloney: (05:39:56)
Thank you. Thank you. On Friday, Senator Rosen asked Mr. DeJoy to provide the transcripts or minutes of any closed, non-public board meetings from this year, and Mr. DeJoy said he did not have the authority to do that. But you’re the Chairman of the Board, will you commit to providing this committee with the transcripts or minutes of any closed, non-public board meetings from this year, including, in particular, the emergency meeting you just held?
Mr. Duncan: (05:40:34)
Madam Chairwoman, I commit to that. I will work with our council to provide everything legally possible for the committee.
Ms. Maloney: (05:40:42)
Well, that’s great. But if you have any other lingering concerns, if the council may not provide all the information, would a friendly subpoena help?
Mr. Duncan: (05:40:55)
I think we can work this out. The minutes are something that we have available to us.
Ms. Maloney: (05:41:01)
Well, I thank both of you for testifying. It’s been a long day. Thank you very much. And I now recognize the distinguished ranking member for as much time as he may consume for his final thoughts and words.
Mr. Comer: (05:41:16)
Thank you, Madam Chair. I’ll be brief. I’d like to first begin by asking unanimous consent to submit for the record this Politico article that just came out basically saying that this committee hearing was a waste of time. Next, Postmaster General DeJoy, I want to thank you for being here today, for spending this much time. I also want to thank you for taking the job. When we have hearings like this, as we’ve seen, unfortunately, this committee, for the last year and a half, it’s going to get harder and harder for good people like you to come from the private sector to put your name on the line, to try to make government more efficient, which is supposed to be the role of this committee. I don’t know what was more disturbing for me to watch today, listening to Democrats who have never owned a business, much less a logistics business, try to tell you how to deliver anything quicker, or listening to a couple of those Democrats who struggled with what a covered call actually was.
Mr. Comer: (05:42:15)
But nevertheless, today’s hearing did serve to confirm our suspicions of Democrats’ motives for this whole hearing and the bill that they passed on Saturday. Our suspicion all along was that it was politically motivated. As we’ve seen with the picture that I showed of Representative DeFazio, obviously a photo op to try to get more tweets and likes and to fire up their base who’s not fired up about their presidential candidate, apparently. It’s also an opportunity to raise money, as we saw with Representative Armstrong, with his, at mountains of evidence, where members of the Democratic Party are fundraising off the post office. Our suspicion was that the majority had little more than conspiracy theories and baseless, frankly, irresponsible charges to make against you, and we’ve seen that. And our suspicion was that the Democrats have no interest in doing anything to address the real issues that affect the Postal Service. We heard that today. They provided the postal service $25 billion because “it’s a worthwhile institution.” I agree it’s worthwhile, indeed vital, but it is unsustainable unless we help implement reforms.
Mr. Comer: (05:43:31)
Mr. DeJoy has made it clear the steps he has taken since becoming Postmaster General are good faith attempts to improve his organization. I would love to say that all the time we’ve spent over the past several days has moved the needle in a positive way. I’m not sure I can, but hopefPoully, the time Republicans have spent talking about the real issues will provide momentum to lead to something positive. Hopefully, the time Republicans have spent shining the light on partisan Democratic attacks have helped Americans to understand the real situation. If the majority is serious about fixing the longstanding financial and operational challenges, then we stand ready to work together. And to do that, Congress needs to have a working relationship with the Postal Service.
Mr. Comer: (05:44:18)
This week has been the opposite of a partnership and I fear has done longterm damage to the nation’s trust in one of its most esteemed, important, and citizen-serving federal entities. And I also fear the Democrats’ conspiracy theories have risked American’s faith in the elections in a way that Russians and Chinese could only dream of. There is no way the process we have followed can produce results that will help the post office be better and serve all Americans. We can do better. And I hope to work with my colleagues to assure the post office is around for decades and centuries to come. Thank you, Madam Chairman. And I yield back.
Ms. Maloney: (05:44:56)
Gentlemen, and in closing, I want to thank our witnesses for their testimony, and I want to commend all of my colleagues for participating in this important conversation. With that, and without objection, letters from organizations in support of the bipartisan legislation passed by the House on Saturday shall be part of the hearing record, along with articles and letters from across the country depicting the effects of the delays on veterans, the elderly, the chronically ill, small businesses, farmers, and ordinary Americans who depend on the mail to be delivered. Without objection, all members will have five legislative days within which to submit additional written questions for the witnesses to the Chair, which will be forwarded to the witnesses for their response, and I ask our witnesses to respond as promptly as you are able. This hearing is adjourned. Thank you.
Mr. Comer: (05:46:03)