Warner, Kaine, Connolly leading efforts to strengthen oversight of U.S. Postal Service
Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine are urging congressional leaders to quickly confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees to oversee the U.S. Postal Service.
USPS has experienced well-chronicled delays under current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, with first-class mail on-time delivery rates averaging just 52.4 percent in the Northern Virginia Postal District, 55.1 percent in the Richmond Postal District, and 67.0 percent in the Appalachian Postal District.
Once Biden’s nominees to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors are confirmed, they can provide strict oversight over DeJoy’s 10-year strategic plan for postal operations, which has not yet been publicly released, but is expected to call for higher postage rates and further slowing of mail deliveries, according to media reports and recent congressional testimony.
“We write to express our support for President Joe Biden’s nominees to serve on the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service and to call for their immediate consideration before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the full Senate. The President’s nominees – Mr. Ron Stroman, Mr. Anton Hajjar, and Ms. Amber McReynolds – represent experienced, thoughtful experts on the Postal Service who will help to guide USPS through its current financial and logistical challenges. Acting with all possible speed to expedite their confirmations is critical as the Board of Governors will soon review Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year strategic plan,” the senators wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Gary Peters (D-MI).
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have once again seen the critical role of USPS in connecting our communities, and yet unacceptable mail delays have occurred due in part to ineffective leadership. Whether it is manifest in the delivery of birthday and Christmas cards or stimulus checks and medications, service levels have fallen to unacceptable levels. It is crucial that the Senate quickly move to confirm President Biden’s nominees to bring renewed focus on the vital, public service that USPS provides and ensure that mail delivery improves to the standards Americans have come to expect for generations.”
“Despite historic delays in recent months, the Postmaster General has indicated he plans to announce a new strategic plan in the coming weeks that would cut service standards and raise prices. From what we understand, Mr. DeJoy’s plan seems tailored towards codifying the very delays which have deeply frustrated so many Americans today.”
This move from Warner and Kaine comes as a group of House members is encouraging Biden to remove and replace the entire USPS Board of Governors.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), chairman of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), chairman of the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Oversight, led 50 of their colleagues in writing to President Biden to urge him to immediately remove and replace the six current members of the Postal Service Board of Governors.
“Under the tenure of this Board of Governors, the Postal Service was blatantly misused by President Trump in an unsuccessful gambit to influence a presidential election, the Postal Service is currently failing to meet its own service standards with historically low rates of on-time delivery, and conflicts of interest appear to be a requirement for service,” wrote the Members. “Because of their lax oversight, many families struggling through the pandemic still await delivery of their stimulus checks, credit card statements, or event holiday cards.”
The letter cites three broad failures on the part of the Board of Governors that warrant the immediate removal and replacement of its current members:
- Silence in the face of continued gross mismanagement
- Continued and self-inflicted nationwide delays in mail delivery
- Rampant conflicts of interest
“For these reasons, we ask that you immediately remove the six current Postal Service Board of Governors and work with Congress to find the right people to perform these essential duties,” the members concluded.