Watch CBS News

Postmaster general agrees to testify before Congress amid scrutiny over mail delays

Democrats accuse postmaster general of sabotaging mail-in voting
Democrats accuse postmaster general of sabotaging mail-in voting 02:11

Washington — The new postmaster general has agreed to testify before the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee next week amid growing pressure from lawmakers to reverse a series of changes that have led to mail delivery delays, adding to concerns about whether Americans voting by mail could be disenfranchised.

Louis DeJoy, who took the helm of the U.S. Postal Service as postmaster general in June, and Robert Duncan, the chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, agreed to appear voluntarily before the Oversight panel August 24, the committee announced Monday. On Sunday, Democratic congressional leaders in both chambers summoned DeJoy and Duncan to answer questions about the recent changes ushered in by the new postmaster general, who is a major GOP donor and close ally of President Trump.

Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, indicated she expects DeJoy to also turn over to lawmakers a trove of documents related to the new policies implemented at the Postal Service.

Negotiations For New Coronavirus Relief Package Continue At The Capitol
Postmaster General Louis Dejoy arrives at a meeting at the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol on August 5, 2020. Getty Images

"The American people want their mail, medicines, and mail-in ballots delivered in a timely way, and they certainly do not want drastic changes and delays in the midst of a global pandemic just months before the election," Maloney said in a statement.

In what will surely be a contentious hearing, DeJoy is expected to face questions about the operational shifts he has overseen in an effort to cut costs at the cash-strapped agency, including cutting overtime and prohibiting postal workers from making extra trips to deliver late-arriving mail, which has led to a slowdown in mail delivery.

The slowdown and backlog of letters and parcels has led lawmakers in both parties to sound the alarm that Americans are not getting crucial medicines and bills on time, while Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of deliberately kneecapping the agency to hinder efforts to expand vote-by-mail. Democrats' concerns that the president is sabotaging the Postal Service for his electoral gain reached a fever pitch over the weekend after the Postal Service confirmed last week it sent letters to 46 states warning mail-in ballots may not be received in time to be counted.

The House passed a coronavirus relief measure in May that would provide $25 billion for the Postal Service specifically, while legislation introduced in the Senate calls for the agency to receive the same injection of federal dollars. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Monday that Mr. Trump would be open to a narrow measure that included funding for the Postal Service. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will return this weekend for a vote on providing funding the Postal Service.

But the president frequently rails against the agency, while claiming his administration's goal is to improve the Postal Service.

"The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN, while at the same time saving billions of dollars a year for American Taxpayers. Dems don't have a clue!" he tweeted Monday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.