Aug 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Democrats call postmaster general to testify at "urgent" hearing next week

Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty

Top Democrats in the House and Senate called on Sunday for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to testify at an "urgent" hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Aug. 24.

Why it matters: Democratic lawmakers say they're being inundated with complaints that changes to the Postal Service, which the Trump administration says are aimed at efficiency, could sabotage ballot-handling. DeJoy was previously scheduled to testify before the committee on Sept. 17.

  • Ahead of the Aug. 24 hearing, the Democrats are demanding DeJoy produce a "host of key documents and information" related to the USPS crisis by Aug. 21.
  • They are also urging the Republican-led Senate Homeland Security Committee to "immediately begin vigorous and urgently-needed oversight" by holding hearings with DeJoy and the chairman of the USPS board of governors.

What they're saying: “The President has explicitly stated his intention to manipulate the Postal Service to deny eligible voters access to the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Oversight chair Carolyn Maloney and Senate Homeland Security ranking member Gary Peters said in a statement Sunday.

  • "Alarmingly, the Postmaster General – a Trump mega-donor – has acted as an accomplice in the President’s campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail."
  • "The Postal Service itself has warned that voters – even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines – may be disenfranchised in 46 states and in Washington, D.C. by continued delays. This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy."

What to watch: House Democrats will hold a members-only conference call Sunday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss an early return for the whole House to respond to "the attack on the Postal Service," Democratic sources tell Axios.

  • Speaker Pelosi raised the idea on a 5:30 p.m. call Saturday with House leaders.
  • "Everyone had a story" about the impact of DeJoy's changes, a source told Axios.

The House has no votes scheduled until the week of Sept. 14, according to Politico, which first reported the possibility of cutting the August recess short.

  • The source told Axios the starting point will be Maloney's "Delivering for America Act," which "would prohibit the Postal Service from dialing back levels of service it had in place on Jan. 1, until the pandemic ends.

During a news conference Saturday evening at his club in Bedminster, N.J., Trump defended Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former RNC fundraising official: "He wants to make the post office great again."

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