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Postmaster General Mocks Dems: You’re stuck with me forever

Jim Watson./GettyLouis DeJoy had defiant news on Wednesday for those trying to oust him as US Postmaster General: “Get used to me.” The comment came after Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) left the contested US Postal Service Chef had asked how long he would stay as Postmaster General – “long time,” DeJoy spat back – during a hearing on Wednesday in the House Oversight Committee. This exchange was a clue to the whole process, often chipped, militant, and fueled by Democratic lawmakers’ outrage over DeJoy’s handling of the USPS at a time of worsening mail delays and difficult questions about the long-term viability of the service. DeJoy’s crack on Cooper made the Democrats’ blood boil even more. But maybe he has one point, at least for now: Since the Postmaster General is appointed by the Board of Governors of the Service – rather than the President – it means President Joe Biden or Congress cannot fire DeJoy even if they wanted to. His removal would only be possible if Biden filled Democratic posts on the USPS Board of Governors, which has the power to hire and fire general postmasters. Confirmation of these Senate posts will take time, although the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Biden has identified three candidates for further development. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are working with DeJoy on urgent bills to reform the agency’s finances and employee pension, even with many publicly calling for his resignation. For many Democrats, DeJoy’s Wednesday appearance on Capitol Hill could complicate this balancing act: They loved not only what the Postmaster General said, but also how he said it. “I have to say – I just don’t think the postmaster will get it,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a member of the oversight committee that DeJoy asked about the agency’s delivery standards on Wednesday. “I think it’s time for him to go.” “I thought he approached many of our questions with exactly the same attitude, which was sneering condescension,” said Krishnamoorthi after the hearing on The Daily Beast, referring to DeJoy’s response to Cooper. “This won’t fly, man. I will not fly. “Wednesday’s hearing marked the second time in DeJoy’s brief tenure that he had been given a high profile barbecue on the House Oversight Committee. Shortly after taking the lead in the USPS in June 2020, delays and irregularities mounted rapidly – a particularly alarming development for lawmakers on the eve of an election where more voters than ever wanted to vote by mail, with board members opening the way to DeJoy In a controversial hearing in August 2020, the Democrats questioned the former logistics manager and GOP mega-donor on everything from cuts in overtime to the price of a postage stamp. Interviewed Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) found a memorable response from DeJoy: “I will submit that I know very little about postage and postage.” When the House Democrats called DeJoy back to Capitol Hill this week, their worst fears were The USPS delays had no effect on the voting system. However, they still had many questions about DeJoy’s administration of the USPS: In October, the USPS inspector general released a report that found that the changes DeJoy had made to delivery schedules and protocols were worsening delays. Already hit by the pandemic, the USPS hobbled into a busy holiday season and now offers the worst service many long-time agency observers have ever seen. Board member Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) was a 29-year-old USPS veteran prior to joining Congress. She told The Daily Beast after the hearing that she had never seen the service in such dire straits as it is now: “I don’t think we ever faced it,” she said. The unprecedented delays are taking place across the country. In Washington, DC, only 40 percent of all premium mail arrived on time at the end of December 2020 – compared to nearly 90 percent the previous year. Chicago residents are getting vacation packages a month and a half late. Lawmakers are inundated with calls and emails from frustrated constituencies looking for answers. This week, 33 senators signed a letter to DeJoy asking him to explain the recent delays. DeJoy apologized for these delays at the start of the hearing on Wednesday. “We have to acknowledge that we have missed our service goals by a long way this peak season,” he said. “I apologize to customers who have felt the effects of our delays.” But Lawrence expressed concern about DeJoy’s upcoming “strategic plan” to get the USPS through this difficult stretch. Although the Postmaster General has not released details, he testified on Wednesday that he would propose cuts to delivery standards, including the standard that local mail is delivered within two days. Democrats believe this would be a catastrophic move at a time when the USPS is struggling to compete with private sector competitors, especially when it comes to consumer costs, DeJoy has suggested, “To say this is bold and necessary … that’s not a guide, “said Lawrence. “He has to prove himself. He heard us loud and clear that he has to prove himself.” The Michigan Democrat paused in a nutshell that DeJoy deserved the removal and told The Daily Beast that she and other Democrats are working with the USPS on postal reform legislation. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Oversight C. Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) supported working with DeJoy to pass reforms. With the new political reality in Washington, the Postmaster General has begun to appeal to democratic lawmakers. Lawrence said that DeJoy did not take or respond to their calls during the last administration – but they had a “cordial” call after the 2020 election. Other Democrats see any magic offensive as too little, too late. Krishnamoorthi said he supported working with the incumbent USPS leadership to pass reforms, but argued that DeJoy should leave as soon as possible. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior supervisory committee member, issued a statement following DeJoy’s hearing welcoming Biden’s appointment of three candidates to the USPS Board of Governors – and expressly expressing his hope that they would remove DeJoy. “These nominations are an important first step in reforming the postal service,” said Connolly. “I hope that the newly constituted Board of Directors will do the right thing and hire a new, qualified Postmaster General.” A majority of the nine-member board would be required to support DeJoy’s removal. There are currently four Republican and two Democratic candidates. If all of Biden’s decisions were upheld, the Democrats would hold a majority on the board. Republicans on the oversight committee had questions for DeJoy about postal delays, but largely cast him as a victim of a Democratic crusade against Trump. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the panel, compared the party’s concerns about USPS delays – and Trump’s possible role in those delays – to the Trump impeachment investigation, which he said was based on “unfounded conspiracies.” . Right-wing MP Andy Biggs (R-AZ), meanwhile, suggested that the main cause of USPS delays was indeed the protests against Black Lives Matter that summer, and read articles from fringe businesses like Gateway Pundit to support his point . And Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) expressed unfounded belief in widespread conspiracies over electoral fraud while saying it was not time to go into “details” the certification of the electoral college had on Jan. 6 “No right to teach anyone about the dangers of partiality”. However, the Democrats were more concerned about the fate of the USPS than about the state of affairs in Congress. “It’s not a theoretical concept,” said Krishnamoorthi. “It’s not an abstract subject, it’s real to each and every one of us … I have to tell you, people are starting to bypass the mail, which is a scary concept.” Read more at The Daily Beast. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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