Postal Updates

DeJoy’s USPS 10-year plan in trouble in House of Representatives

Apr 7, 2021, 8 AM

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

Democrats in the House of Representatives are so unhappy with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that they have named a piece of legislation for him.

It’s called the Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On-time Year Act, or the DeJoy Act.

Introduced March 26 by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and six other Democrats, the measure is the latest indicator of how the former North Carolina logistics executive has become one of most vilified postal chief executives since the United States Postal Service was created in 1971.

No recent postmaster general has encountered as much fury on Capitol Hill. 

Not even former Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon, who also faced mail delivery problems during his 1992-98 tenure, was attacked as sharply as DeJoy has been.

A key difference is that DeJoy, a major financial contributor to Republicans, was a partisan target from the moment he took office on June 15, 2020.

The complaints against DeJoy have become so intense that Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., warned that they might jeopardize passage of legislation critical to DeJoy’s 10-year financial rescue plan for the Postal Service that was announced March 23.

“Democrats’ personal dislike of Postmaster General DeJoy is so immense it’s blinding them from considering the meaningful reform proposed in the plan,” Comer said March 26 after attending a USPS briefing on the plan.

In an op-ed published March 29 in The Hill newspaper, Comer added he was skeptical that the plan “will ever have time to prove its validity.”

The reason, he said, is that Democrats have falsely painted DeJoy “as a Trump crony … actively undermining the Postal Service from the inside.”

Although House Democrats have been most vocal in their attacks on the postmaster general, they are not alone.

Mail industry groups, normally supportive of many postal programs, have renewed their initial criticisms of DeJoy’s Delivering for America rescue plan.

“In the entire 58 pages of the plan there does not appear to be any effort to retain mail volume,” said Michael Plunkett, president of the Association for Postal Commerce.

“Apart from price increases there is little about mail in the plan at all,” he said in his newsletter. “That’s inaction.”

Stephen Kearney, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, told his members “the plan is fatally flawed.”

“The impossibility of succeeding with the 100 percent ‘self-funded,’ more accurately ‘mailer-funded’ model should be clear to everyone,” he said.

The DeJoy plan depends in large part on raising postal prices despite the admission that mail volume is likely to continue to fall.

“With a 40 percent drop in mail volume and ever-increasing costs, driven mostly by labor and unfunded public service mandates, USPS can’t charge captive mailers enough and compete for packages enough to make the model work,” Kearney said.

Much of the Democratic ire at DeJoy clearly was triggered by his friendship with President Donald Trump and the Republican causes DeJoy has supported.

He was selected for the job by the Postal Service’s board of governors, which is filled entirely by Trump appointees.

The board itself — not the consultants who were supposed to find candidates for the job — picked DeJoy.

DeJoy has a blunt way of talking that the governors may have liked, but his style before Congress has won few friends on Capitol Hill.

DeJoy told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Feb. 24 that he was going to be around for some time. Then he added, “Get used to it.”

Look no further than Krishnamoorthi to see how postal attitudes have changed on the Hill.

In 2017, his first year in the House, he authored an op-ed in The Hill titled, “In Partisan Washington, Something We Agree On: Saving The Post Office.”

Krishnamoorthi cited his work on a postal bill that proved “much can be accomplished when everyone participates in the process.”

Asked whether his views on postal legislation are the same, Will Baldwin, Krishnamoorthi’s communications director, said, “The congressman’s views on the path to effective USPS reform have changed with the circumstances in light of the damage we’ve see done to the USPS over the course of Postmaster General DeJoy’s tenure.”

“This legislation is a direct response to the changes Mr. DeJoy has made and proposed, as well as to the damage those decisions have done to the dependability and quality of service Americans have received from the USPS,” Baldwin said.

The legislation would prohibit DeJoy’s plan to allow the USPS to take a maximum of five days to deliver some letters instead of the current two-day to three-day maximum.

“Meeting service standards is a fundamental part of the USPS mission and it must be addressed in any future postal reform legislation,” Krishnamoorthi said as he announced his legislation.

Not all Democrats are supporting Krishnamoorthi’s bill.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations and a DeJoy critic, said through a spokesman he is paying more attention to another postal reform measure being drafted by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY., chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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