Chair DeLauro Statement at the Oversight of the U.S. Postal Service Hearing

2021-03-11 14:17

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Hearing on Oversight of the U.S. Postal Service Hearing. 

Thank you, Chairman Quigley and Ranking Member Womack, for holding this vital hearing.

It has been almost a year since the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors selected you, Mr. DeJoy, as the 75th Postmaster General of the United States. Since then the Postal Service has, frankly, become wholly unrecognizable from what it once was. Under your leadership, on-time delivery for something as simple as a letter to a loved one declined to just 60 percent and has still not fully recovered.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are now relying on the Postal Service for everything from medications, food, bills, and even livestock. But even as this pandemic was putting an enormous strain on the USPS, you implemented a number of new rules that led to severe and unnecessary mail delays.

We have all heard the stories from our constituents. Some have been forced to pay interest or extra fees because their bills were not delivered on time. Small business owners are losing money in the mail. And those who are sick are waiting days if not weeks for life-saving medications.

In my own district, I heard from a veteran whose insulin arrived 3 days late and who had to get the VA to provide the dosage he needed in order to survive. An immunosuppressed constituent of mine waited 17 days for a shipment of medication to go from Main Street in East Haven to New Haven four miles away. And I heard from a small business owner in Milford who is facing financial hardship because hundreds of client payments have never arrived. Though he has since been able to track down 80 pieces of mail, 50 of which were client payments, and 30 of which were bills he had to scramble to pay, about 200 pieces of mail are still missing.

This is unacceptable, and frankly, your leadership of the Postal Service has been an utter disgrace. It is simply inexcusable that, even after all this hardship, you are working on a new strategic plan that would permanently slow first-class mail and abandon current service standards.

Perhaps even more outrageous, even after Congress provided $10 billion to the USPS in the CARES Act to help address the impacts of this pandemic, you continue to put the health and safety of your employees at risk.

I am appalled, and my constituents are too. It is time for you to put an end to these delays, restore service and reliability, and prioritize the health and safety of the American people. If you cannot do that, if you do not want to actually make the Postal Service better, then I question why you even took this job. I am pleased with President Joe Biden’s decision to nominate three new members to the USPS Board of Governors late last month and I urge the Senate to quickly confirm their appointments, ensuring oversight to stop the damage you are causing.

117th Congress