WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, delivered a major message of his own Friday, as he testified during an emergency session in Congress.
He claims politics are not behind the recent mail delays, and mail-in ballots will not be a problem.
"I want to assure this Committee and the American public that the Postal Service is fully capable of delivering the nation's election mail securely and on time," he said
It was a needed confidence boost as he answered questions by the predominantly Republican Senate Committee for Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The testimony comes amidst recent delays in mail delivery, which have impacted people's paychecks and medications according to Greg Carney, who says, "I would finally get the medication weeks, up to three weeks later”.
And it’s something echoed by the former Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, David Fineman, who says "Quite frankly, if you keep this slowdown happening, people will die.”
Some say the delays were deliberate, done to jeopardize the mail-in voting process for the November elections.
According to Representative Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan, "The President of the United States admittedly, is doing everything he can, including choking off essential support for the United States Postal Service, in order to prevent people from casting their ballot. Shame on him. Shame on him."
Hundreds of mail boxes have been removed around the country, and large sorting machines have been sidelined.
DeJoy says it's a cost cutting measure which he's now stopped until after the election...but which has been going on for years. And he says it’s needed for the Postal Service to survive.
"We talk about a 633 thousand person organization with nine months of cash and everyone thinks that's OK. That's outrageous thinking," he explains.
DeJoy also denied reports that cuts in overtime or other White House directives caused delays but that it’s because COVID-19 sidelined ten percent of the workforce.
"Trying to have any negative impact on the elections is an outrageous claim,” he said
In fact, while the President has openly criticized mail-in voting, saying about the ballots, “We'll grab it. We'll just put it in a big pile there. Everyone just grabs it. It's a disgrace. Even common sense tells you that."
DeJoy, a major Trump supporter, says "I think the American public should be able to vote by mail."
But for it to work, he adds, ballots need to be mailed at least a week before the election. And if that’s done, there won’t be any issues.
"We will scour every plant each night leading up to election day," he assured the Committee.
DeJoy did admit that major changes were coming to the Postal Service after the election...including a rate increase. He wouldn’t elaborate on those plans, but he'll likely get a major grilling on that when he testifies in front of the House on Monday.