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Under questioning from Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged at a hearing on Monday that he knows "very little about postage stamps."

Why it matters: Porter and other Democrats have accused DeJoy, a Trump donor and successful businessman, of being unqualified to serve in his position at a time when the U.S. Postal Service is set to deliver a record number of mail-in ballots ahead of the November election.

The big picture: DeJoy, who clashed repeatedly with Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee during Monday's hearing, vehemently denied that he is "engaged in sabotaging the election" as part of a campaign by President Trump to undermine mail-in voting.

  • He reiterated that he would suspend until after the election the sweeping operational changes that have reportedly been causing widespread mail delays, but he would not commit to reversing them or reinstalling dismantled mail sorting machines.
  • DeJoy also testified that many of the changes that he's been accused of making were in effect before he arrived in the job in June and that he does not know who ordered them.

The exchange:

PORTER: "What is the cost of a first-class postage stamp?"
DEJOY: "55 cents. "
PORTER: "Just wanted to check. What about to mail a postcard?"
DEJOY: "I don't know."
PORTER: "You don't know the cost to mail a postcard? 
DEJOY: "I don't. "
PORTER: "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?"
DEJOY: "I will submit that I know very little about postage stamps."
PORTER: "Do you know about, within a million or so, can you tell me how many people voted by mail in the last presidential election?"
DEJOY: "No, I cannot."
PORTER: "To the nearest 10 million? 
DEJOY: "I would be guessing, and I don't want to guess."
PORTER: "Okay. So Mr. DeJoy, I am concerned — I'm glad you know the price of a stamp, but I am concerned about your understanding of this agency."

Go deeper

Updated Nov 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

More than 100 million Americans voted early in 2020

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than 100 million Americans voted early in the 2020 election across the U.S., according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening thousands of others with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.