At a Thursday White House press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki laid out the Biden administration’s current position on leadership at the Postal Service, where Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has faced serious scrutiny over serious service delays that have unfolded while he’s been in place. In short, Psaki observed, “the Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.” While leading the Postal Service, DeJoy has vocally prioritized cost-cutting, leading to a less effective delivery system, and this slowdown was poised to cause potential serious problems for the 2020 presidential election because of the high usage of mail-in voting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Postal Service slowdowns didn’t end up significantly damaging the presidential election, but the issues remain — ballots aren’t the only important items that move through the Postal Service, after all. DeJoy appeared at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, but legislators didn’t exactly seem suddenly convinced of the appropriateness of his leadership. Meanwhile, Psaki commented as follows at the White House on Thursday:
‘The president is committed to the Postal Service’s success, which is why yesterday he nominated three extremely qualified individuals to fill the empty spots on the board of governors. And the American people highly value the Postal Service and the men and women who deliver our mail every day and are working hard to do exactly that. But I think we can all agree, most Americans would agree, that the Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.’
Jen Psaki on Biden's USPS Board of Governors nominees: "The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 25, 2021
Replacing DeJoy would have to be the work of those appointees for the Board of Governors at the Postal Service, because the board is responsible for appointing the Postmaster General. Biden’s three appointees are slated to enact a Democratic majority on the board, suggesting that DeJoy’s future is not certain. As Psaki noted:
‘I think the president is certainly familiar with the process. He believes the leadership can do better, and we are eager to have the board of governors in place.’
Reporter: Did the president and the transition team underestimate how much of a problem her tweets would become?
— The Hill (@thehill) February 25, 2021
Biden’s three appointees include Anton Hajjar, Amber McReynolds, and Ron Stroman — two men of color and one woman — and the three of them share a wide breadth of past experience. McReynolds, for instance, once served as the elections director for Denver and now leads the non-partisan National Vote at Home Institute, while Stroman served in multiple staff positions in the House of Representatives and elsewhere in the federal government. Confirming presidential nominees for the postal board is the responsibility of the Senate, but the current Democratic majority in the Senate means that there likely won’t be a problem on that front.
Biden makes it official, announces 3 new nominees for USPS board of governors that if confirmed would give him a majority that could oust Louis DeJoy pic.twitter.com/ErdMl6OVnr
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) February 24, 2021
Besides the postal board nominees, the Senate is also slated to soon vote on a COVID-19 economic relief package, which should have an easier time thanks to the chamber’s Democratic control. Democrats are planning new direct relief checks, increased unemployment assistance, and more, and the package is apparently slated to be done and ready for Biden’s signature by mid-March, which is about a couple weeks away.