Problems With The U.S. Postal Service: What's Really Happening? | WYPR

Problems With The U.S. Postal Service: What's Really Happening?

Aug 18, 2020

US postal workers are always mindful of potentially disruptive attacks that could slow delivery of the mail.
Credit Photo courtesy US Postal Service

Today on Midday, a conversation about the U.S. Postal Service, which is embroiled in a political and fiscal crisis unlike any in the service’s 228-year history.

 

 Shortly after our broadcast Tuesday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy released a statement announcing that he is halting his controversial cost-cutting initiatives at the US Postal Service until after the November election.  The statement says he is canceling service reductions, reinstating overtime hours and ceasing the removal of mail-sorting machines and public collection boxes.

  As the COVID-19 pandemic persists and intensifies in many states, election experts are predicting record numbers of Americans will use the mail to cast their ballots in November.  Is the Postal Service prepared to process those ballots and assure that every vote arrives in time to be counted by local boards of elections? 

Late last month, the general counsel of the Postal Service sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia in which he answered that question, “No.”  He said there is a risk that mailed ballots may not arrive in time.  Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy – a Trump donor who took office in mid-June – has ordered sweeping staff and operational changes at the Post Office that have already significantly slowed nationwide mail service.  President Trump has said he opposes emergency funding for the Post Office because it will support voting by mail...  

 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called Congress back from recess on Saturday to demand answers from the Postmaster General, and to pass legislation that would prohibit any service cutbacks ahead of the elections.  Louis DeJoy will appear before the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday.  He is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Monday.  

And today, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that Maryland has joined with a group of more than a dozen other states that are suing the U.S. Postal Service to reverse “unlawful” cost-cutting moves that Frosh said represent the “most deceitful plan in American history to disrupt an American election.”

 

Reporters Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, Emily Sullivan, WYPR, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Dem., Md 2nd Dist.
Credit Washington Post, WYPR/NPR, House.gov
 

To help us understand what’s really going on at the US Postal Service, Tom is joined first by Washington Post business reporter Jacob Bogage, who has been leading the paper’s coverage of the problems at the Postal Service.  

Later in the hour, Tom talks with WYPR reporter Emily Sullivan about the Maryland lawmakers who teamed up at a news briefing yesterday with local postal-workers union officials to criticize the operational changes made by the new Postmaster General.

Then, Tom talks with Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who represents Maryland’s 2nd District.  He sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which funds the Postal Service. The Congressman has been critical of the postal service changes, and will be voting to roll them back in the emergency House bill now being drafted.

All our guests joined us today via Zoom.