Postmaster General says USPS won’t make changes to ‘operational initiatives’ until after election

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Postmaster general says USPS is financially unsustainable
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In a noteworthy about face from previous policy, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that the USPS will not implement operational changes to mail delivery until after the 2020 election.

Despite the significant change, members of Congress, particularly those from the Democratic Party Caucus from in and around New York City, said that the situation is not resolved.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn is the House Democratic Party Caucus chairman. At a news conference on Tuesday on the steps of the Brooklyn’s main post office, Jeffries reacted critically to the postmaster general’s announcement.

“It’s a modest step in the right direction,” Jeffries said, referring to DeJoy’s announcement, “but he didn’t indicate in his statement that he’s going to reverse all of the things that he has done.”

Postal union workers provided PIX11 News with a photo of what it said are mail sorting machines that were ordered out of service in a postal facility on Long Island that serves the New York City area. It was one of dozens of facilities nationwide where sorting machines had been taken out of service, union workers said.

They also said that Postmaster DeJoy had hundreds of mailboxes removed nationwide, and ended overtime work.

For his part, on Tuesday, De Joy issued the statement that said, in part, that “…there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic.”

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,” his statement continued, “I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”

DeJoy also said that the USPS would not remove any mail processing equipment or mailboxes and would not close any mail processing facilities between now and the election.

The statement did not address whether the agency would restore services or equipment that had been cut prior to Tuesday.

DeJoy, a longtime ally and donor to President Donald Trump took over as Postmaster General in June. Since that time, he’s instituted several changes that customers and workers have said have led to delays in mail delivery, including the elimination of overtime.

NBC News also reports that drivers have been instructed to leave on their routes earlier in the day, even if express shipments haven’t arrived.

In DeJoy’s statement on Tuesday, he asserted that “overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.”

“Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards,” DeJoy’s statement said. “The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the country, mail-in voting is expected to significantly increase during the 2020 election.

Trump — who has staunchly opposed universal mail-in voting — said last week that he opposed funding the USPS in order to prevent expanded voting by mail during the election.

Despite that, the House of Representatives is expected, in a special session on Saturday, to approve a $25 billion funding package to help shore up USPS operations.

The $25 billion figure was recommended to Congress by the USPS Board of Governors, which is selected by the president.

DeJoy is also expected to testify before a U.S. Senate panel on Friday, and in front of a House committee on Monday.

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