Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement on Tuesday that he would halt operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service until after the 2020 election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail."
Why it matters: Widespread delays and backlogs had prompted allegations from Democratic lawmakers that DeJoy and President Trump were attempting to undermine the Postal Service ahead of an election that will see a record number of mail-in ballots.
- The House was poised to return to session on Saturday to pass USPS-related legislation, and DeJoy had been called to testify before both the House and Senate.
Between the lines: The USPS alerted 46 states and Washington, D.C. at the end of July that it cannot ensure ballots sent by mail in the general election will arrive in time to be counted. Dejoy's statement does not address what changes the service has made since the letters were sent.
What he's saying: "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."
- "In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. "
- "To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded."
DeJoy added ... "I want to assure all Americans of the following:
- Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
- Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
- No mail processing facilities will be closed.
- And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed."
The bottom line: "The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall," DeJoy wrote.