Postmaster Louis DeJoy says USPS will ‘suspend’ some operational changes until after election

Coronavirus Pandemic

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 13: A postal worker leaves a United State Postal Service facility on August 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. President Donald Trump said today that he opposes additional funding for the Postal Service because the lack of additional funding would make it more difficult to deliver mail-in ballots. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a statement on Friday that says he will “suspend” changes to the United States Postal Service that have prompted concern about mail delays until after the election.

“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability,” DeJoy said in a statement. “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 will appear Friday before the Senate to testify about the uproar over mail delivery disruptions. Lawmakers and others are warning the changes could imperil the November election.

Trump has denied he is trying to slow-walk the mail, but the administration is scrambling to respond to the public outcry. House lawmakers prepared an emergency vote for Saturday to halt the changes. The Postal Service said it has stopped removing mailboxes and mail-sorting machines after complaints from lawmakers.

Full statement:

“The United States Postal Service will play a critical role this year in delivering election mail for millions of voters across the country. There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether the Postal Service is ready, willing and able to meet this challenge.

I want to make a few things clear:

The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.

I am announcing today the expansion of our current leadership taskforce on election mail to enhance our ongoing work and partnership with state and local election officials in jurisdictions throughout the country. Leaders of our postal unions and management associations have committed to joining this taskforce to ensure strong coordination throughout our organization. Because of the unprecedented demands of the 2020 election, this taskforce will help ensure that election officials and voters are well informed and fully supported by the Postal Service.

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.

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.

In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.

I am grateful for the commitment and dedication of all the men and women of the Postal Service, and the trust they earn from the American public every day, especially as we continue to contend with the impacts of COVID-19. As we move forward, they will have the full support of our organization throughout the election.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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