Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced Tuesday he will suspend the cutbacks and operational changes he recently instituted to the U.S. Postal Service until after the November election.
In an effort to make the money-losing agency more efficient, he had eliminated most overtime for postal workers, imposed restrictions on transportation, and reduced the quantity and use of mail-processing equipment.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” DeJoy said in a statement.
DeJoy also announced he would “engage standby resources” as of Oct. 1 “to satisfy any unforeseen demand.”
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election,” he said.
DeJoy’s announcement comes after accusations that his reforms were meant to delay mail and impact mail-in voting in the upcoming election.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced on Sunday that she would call the House back to Washington from August recess to vote on legislation that would prevent the Postal Service from implementing any changes to its operations or level of service ahead of the November election.
“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues Sunday.
She then took aim at DeJoy, whom she called a “top Trump mega-donor” who has “proven a complicit crony as he continues to push forward sweeping new operational changes that degrade postal service, delay the mail, and – according to the Postal Service itself – threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.”
As many voters plan to vote by mail in November to avoid casting ballots in-person in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the USPS has become the latest flashpoint in partisan politics.
President Trump sparked controversy last week when he said he would block funding for the postal service, saying, “They want $3.5 billion for the mail-in votes. Universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”
However, while the Postal Service is facing financial difficulties, it does not need a cash infusion to handle the election. In its most recent fiscal quarter report, filed in June, the agency said it has “sufficient liquidity to continue operating through at least August 2021.”