Congress Announces ‘Urgent’ Emergency USPS Hearing

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The House Oversight Committee has scheduled a hearing for August 24 covering recent policy changes at the Postal Service that have had the effect of slowing down some mail delivery with well under 100 days to go until the general election, in which many mail-in ballots are expected to be used. Although President Donald Trump does not directly control policy at the Postal Service, the recent changes have been implemented by the new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, who is a close political ally of the Trump team and who Democrats are demanding make an appearance at their newly announced August 24 hearing.

DeJoy had already been on the House Oversight Committee’s schedule for a September 17 hearing, but Democratic leaders called the newly announced earlier hearing “urgent.” Democrats have demanded a “host of key documents and information” relating to the current state of affairs at the Postal Service by August 21, which is a few days before the newly planned hearing.

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Oversight chairperson Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), and the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s top Democrat, Gary Peters (Mich.), said:

‘The President has explicitly stated his intention to manipulate the Postal Service to deny eligible voters access to the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election. Alarmingly, the Postmaster General – a Trump mega-donor – has acted as an accomplice in the President’s campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail.’

The leaders also note that the “Postal Service itself has warned that voters – even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines – may be disenfranchised in 46 states and in Washington, D.C. by continued delays,” which “constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy,” as they put it.

The newly announced House Oversight Committee hearing will end the current House recess earlier than apparently previously planned; no votes are on the House’s schedule until the week of September 14, which is the same week that the House Oversight Committee was previously planning to take up the Postal Service crisis.

President Trump, on his own time, has launched a steady stream of broadsides against mail-in voting, which he has claimed is full of opportunities for fraud that could throw the integrity of the entire election into question. In reality — he is wrong. For starters, mail-in voting is already used at a significantly high rate across the country. Additionally, there’s simply no evidence that mail-in voting could lead to any sort of systematic fraud.

The Trump team has, among other things, recently trotted out a selection of examples of mail-in voting mishaps from New Jersey as supposed evidence for their claims about the vulnerability of the practice, but for starters, issues unfolding in one state do not remotely reflect some kind of automatically nationwide crisis. They just don’t. Secondly, issues getting aired out means that the system is working, because the problems are uncovered and dealt with.