In the face of growing calls for his ouster, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday morning is reportedly expected to unveil a plan to slash Post Office hours, hike postage prices, and extend first-class delivery times—changes likely to worsen nationwide mail slowdowns that began following implementation of DeJoy's initial round of operational reforms last year.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the details of the new plan, "DeJoy is expected to emphasize the need for austerity to ensure more consistent delivery and rein in billions of dollars in financial losses" that Democratic lawmakers and postal advocates say are largely attributable to a 2006 law requiring USPS to pre-fund retiree benefits decades in advance.
"Most of DeJoy's changes will not face regulatory roadblocks. The postmaster general unilaterally controls operating hours at post offices, and the board of governors appears to back DeJoy's changes to delivery times," the Post reported. "DeJoy plans to extend the service standard for first-class mail by a day... DeJoy also has discussed an 'imminent' postage rate increase with industry officials tied to a new ruling from the Postal Regulatory Commission that created a new pricing system. Industry officials said that increase could come as soon as this summer and be as large as nine percent, a cost many say will be passed on to customers."
DeJoy is set to roll out his plan, which the Post described as "the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation," at 11:00 am ET.
The sweeping changes will come as dozens of Democratic lawmakers are demanding that President Joe Biden immediately terminate all six sitting members of the Postal Service Board of Governors and quickly replace them with officials willing to remove DeJoy and protect USPS as a crucial public service. Under federal law, Biden has the power to oust members of the postal board "for cause."
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who in January became the first member of Congress to make that demand, reiterated late Monday that Biden must "fire the entire Post Office board," which has the authority to remove the postmaster general.
"Then fire this corrupt man before he destroys the entire USPS for good," Pascrell added.
Last week, Biden formally submitted to the Senate his nominees to fill the three current vacancies on the postal board, which is currently dominated by Trump-appointed officials. If Biden's nominees are confirmed by the Senate, Democrats on the board could have the votes needed to remove DeJoy, a Republican megadonor and former logistics executive with no prior USPS experience.
"He really needs to be fired immediately," said Robert Cruickshank, campaign director at advocacy group Demand Progress. "The Senate must not delay in confirming the postal board of governors nominees."
USPS delivery performance rapidly cratered after DeJoy took charge of the beloved agency last June, sparking nationwide outrage and warnings that the new postmaster general was deliberately sabotaging the mail service to help Trump and the GOP in elections that relied heavily on absentee ballots due to the pandemic. The mail slowdowns, which held up letters as well as key deliveries like prescription medications, persisted through the holiday season.
"The week before DeJoy implemented his midsummer changes, the Postal Service delivered 90.6 percent of first-class mail on time," the Post's Jacob Bogage noted. "It hasn't reached 90 percent in the eight months since."
Republished from Common Dreams (Jake Johnson, staff writer) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.