The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has announced that they are holding a hearing this Thursday to consider three nominees from President Joe Biden for the Postal Service Board of Governors. The board is responsible for appointing the Postmaster General, meaning that — instead of direct intervention from the president — they’d be in a position to help remove the highly controversial current Postmaster General Louis DeJoy themselves.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has just set a hearing date for President Biden's three nominees to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors: Thursday, April 22.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 20, 2021
DeJoy has attracted steep criticism for his policy changes that he has implemented at the Postal Service, which he began to roll out last year. He’s characterized the policy updates as meant for cost-cutting, but profits aren’t the main point of the Postal Service — in reality, it’s a critical government service that some, like veterans who receive medications in the mail, rely on for support.
Recently, Reuters notes, DeJoy’s team “outlined a proposed 10-year strategic plan that would slow current first-class delivery standards and raise some prices to stem $160 billion in forecasted red ink over the next decade.” A considerable portion of the Postal Service’s net losses stem from a legislative requirement for the agency to pre-fund retirement benefits for its workers. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who leads the House Oversight Committee, has “circulated draft legislation” that would replace the required agency pre-funding with Medicare enrollment of Postal Service workers, Reuters adds.
Biden’s nominees for the Postal Service board include Anton Hajjar, who is a former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, who serves as CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute and was an elections official in Denver; and former deputy postmaster general Ron Stroman. Although every one of the six members currently on the nine-seat board are white men, none of Biden’s picks are. There’s a legislative requirement for no more than five members of the same political party on the board, so Biden can only have a slim Democratic majority — including, for now, a couple of Democrats appointed by Trump because of that requirement for a party split.
Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, concerns swirled about whether DeJoy’s mishandling of the Postal Service and plummeting on-time delivery rates would negatively impact mail-in voters. Although no systematic issues appear to have emerged, whether or not the Postal Service will effectively handle mail-in votes should not be an open question! Mail-in voting surged across the country during the 2020 election cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic.