The controversy over postal delays resulted in a surprise visit to the postal distribution center near New Castle by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, who had been tipped off about trashed equipment.
“This is physical proof that reversing those changes is going to be expensive and difficult because this equipment isn’t serviceable again,” Coons said in a video out today that called it “late-night shenanigans.”
U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy assumed office on June 16, and he quickly made changes that he said was necessary to reduce losses. Loud complaints followed, saying the changes have delayed pharmaceuticals and other vital mail and could cause mail-in ballots to be tossed for arriving too late.
“2,000 Delawareans have reached out to me to express their concerns about late delivery of medications, late delivery of Social Security checks, and late delivery of mail,” said Coons, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service.
“The mail isn’t a business; it’s a treasured service and a critical part of our nation, and with an election coming up soon, this fall, we cannot afford to put at risk the delivery of every mail-in ballot.”
On Sunday, Coons was alerted by several U.S. Postal Service workers exercising “the right of government employees to petition or furnish information to Congress or a Member. … You will see how the Postal Service is being destroyed from the inside out.”
On Monday, his office contacted leadership with the USPS Southern New Jersey District to alert them about the invitation and request a tour of the Quigley Boulevard distribution center.
Multiple emails and texts followed, turning down the request. Meanwhile, an employee told Senate staffers, managers “have told our maintenance people to rush to remove the remaining machines that they are taking apart. Telling them to tape up the floor where the broken tiles are exposing possible asbestos.”
Later that afternoon, Coons joined Sen. Tom Carper, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, and Attorney General Kathy Jennings for a nationwide Day of Action, speaking outside of a post office in Wilmington to underscore the Postal Service as essential to American.
Postal service has become a political issue. All the Delaware officials involved are Democrats. DeJoy is a Republican Party megadonor, and he is also being attacked for ties to postal competitors.
Delaware State Republican Chair Jane Brady said she didn’t have enough information to comment on this latest twist.
Delaware and other states are suing the Postal Service to stop the changes. Jennings’ announcement said Carper’s office has seen the proportion of constituent casework dealing with Postal Service complaints increase by 20 times.
The tension heats up Friday in Washington with testimony by DeJoy before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS board, which selected DeJoy in May, will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Friday.
On Saturday, the House is scheduled to meet to vote on legislation to stop the changes.
On Monday, DeJoy is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.