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'Get used to me': Derided Postmaster General Louis Dejoy says he's not going anywhere

Graig Graziosi
·4 min read
United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told Democrats eager to see him removed from his position to “get used to me” during a meeting of the House Oversight Committee.

When asked by Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper if he planned to stick around or if he thought he would be replaced by a new appointee, Mr DeJoy pointed out that he was not actually a Trump appointee, but was selected by the USPS Board of Governors from a group of 200 candidates. He said he planned on staying in his position “a long time.”

The derided postmaster general made the comments while testifying at an oversight hearing concerning the financial state of the USPS.

Mr DeJoy said there was "no path to totally eliminating" the United States Postal Services' annual financial losses during the meeting.

“Our dire financial trajectory, operational and network misalignment to mail trends, outdated pricing, infrastructure underinvestment, inadequate people engagement, and an insufficient growth strategy – all demand immediate action,” Mr DeJoy said.

He addressed the committee on Wednesday, where provisions of the Postal Service Reform Act were being discussed, specifically the USPS's mandate to pre-fund retirement of its workers up to 75 years in advance.

The reform legislation is expected to save approximately $50bn for the USPS, with $35bn of those savings coming from the elimination of the pre-funding mandate.

However, Mr DeJoy said that the measure would not go far enough to stop the postal service from losing money, as the service - which was not established to be a profitable business - was projected to lose $160bn over the next 10 years.

Members of the committee suggested removing the pre-funding mandate and moving USPS retirees onto Medicare rather than relying on private health care options.

However, Postal Board chairman Ron Bloom told lawmakers that “we can’t just throw money at the problem. We must address the systemic issues plaguing its outdated model.”

The pre-funding mandate - which is unprecedented in public or private institutions - accounts for 84 per cent of the USPS's annual losses.

Mr DeJoy said he is developing a reform plan that would include slower mail service - by eliminating first class mail - and raising prices, but that would ultimately result in a "sustainable" postal service.

The postmaster general, a supporter of Donald Trump, was selected to run the USPS in June by the bipartisan USPS Board of Governors, and immediately faced criticism for his ties both to the then-president and to logistics and shipping competitors to the USPS in the private sector.

Democrats accused Mr DeJoy of using restructuring at the postal service - like reducing hours and removing high-speed letter sorters - as a way of sabotaging the service ahead of the 2020 election, which saw an unprecedented number of mail-in votes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Several lawmakers used the committee meeting to re-litigate the 2020 election and the events leading up to it.

Congressman Jody Hice, a Republican from Georgia, complained about Democrats' rhetoric following Mr DeJoy's hiring, saying their complaints that Mr DeJoy was a Republican donor set a dangerous precedent for future postmaster generals. He said Democrats painted Mr DeJoy as a "wrecking ball" bent on destroying the USPS.

Rep Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, used his time trying to lead Mr DeJoy into attacking Democrats, which resulted in the postmaster general telling him that he "did not want to participate."

Mr Jordan asked if Joe Biden was planning on removing Mr DeJoy, or if people were still calling for his firing. When Mr DeJoy said no, Mr Jordan then asked him why, and after several minutes of insistent questioning, the postmaster general gave the congressman said "because we had an election."

The congressman's ultimate point was that the fury over Mr DeJoy and the state of the post office was a political ploy by Democrats ahead of the election. He spent nearly no time addressing the actual monetary issues facing the service.

Congressman Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, indirectly accused Mr Jordan of gaslighting the room before turning his attention back to Mr DeJoy.

Later in the meeting, Mr DeJoy and Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib locked horns over a speed sorting machine. Ms Tlaib asked Mr DeJoy to look into why speed sorters in a Detroit USPS facility were not being used, and Mr DeJoy attempted to distance himself from the question.

Ms Tlaib cut in, frustrated, telling Mr DeJoy to "do his job," before asking if he would commit to looking into the issue. He said the USPS does not take taxpayer money - essentially a way of saying he has no obligation to examine the situation just because a member of Congress demands it - but said he would look into it for Ms Tlaib.

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