Dozens of Lawmakers Call on Biden to Replace Entire USPS Board
Biden has nominated individuals to fill three vacancies, but House members say board must start from scratch.
A group of 50 Democratic lawmakers is pressuring President Biden to remove all existing members of the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors and replace them with his own nominees.
Such a move would likely allow the board to fire Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has faced significant criticism for his reform strategies since taking office last year. All six current board members were appointed by President Trump, though two of them—including Chairman Ron Bloom—are Democrats. Still, the lawmakers said the entire board in its current makeup has failed, citing ongoing mail delays and operational changes in the run up to last year’s election.
“Under the tenure of this [board], the Postal Service was blatantly misused by President Trump in an unsuccessful gambit to influence a presidential election, the Postal Service is currently failing to meet its own service standards with historically low rates of on-time delivery, and conflicts of interest appear to be a requirement for service,” said a letter spearheaded by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., who lead House subcommittees on government operations, trade and oversight, respectively. “It is time to remove all governors and start over with a board vested with the expertise and acumen this nation needs in its Postal Service leadership.”
Lawmakers previously pressured Biden to name individuals to serve in the three vacancies on the board, which he did last month. Those officials, if confirmed, would give Democrats (and Democrat-affiliated) members a majority among the Senate-confirmed board members, though DeJoy and his to-be-named deputy also sit on the panel. While some lawmakers have called for DeJoy’s ouster, the current Democrats on the board have demonstrated allegiance to the postmaster general and do not appear interested in removing DeJoy. During his campaign and since taking office, Biden has said only that he would fill the vacancies on the board and has yet to show any inclination toward finding a new postmaster general or replacing existing governors. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In their letter on Thursday, the lawmakers noted Bloom’s praise for DeJoy in saying he should be removed. They also cited the board for failing to speak out as DeJoy implemented operational reforms that led to delays, withheld analyses underlying his decisions, faced rebuke in an inspector general’s report and announced new changes this year. While the House members criticized DeJoy for his handling of mail ahead of the presidential election, USPS was overwhelmingly successful in delivering mailed ballots on time.
“It is impossible to have faith in a [Board of Governors] that remained silent in the wake of such scathing findings and continued failures,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is unconscionable that this board could continue to support this [postmaster general].”
They also raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest for DeJoy and some members of the board. DeJoy used to run XPO Logistics, which contracts with the Postal Service. He and Robert Duncan, a board member and former board chairman, have helped raise millions of dollars for the Republican Party.
The lawmakers asked Biden to “work with Congress” to find six replacement board members, saying they should be “of the caliber” of the president’s recent nominees. Biden has yet to demonstrate an interest in taking such an aggressive approach.
“It’s up to the board of governors, of which we just nominated three individuals to serve, and we certainly leave it up to their discretion,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday when asked about DeJoy’s future.
USPS stakeholders have said Biden has not shown he is “out for blood” and simply wants a full board. In addition to nominating the board members, Biden has furthered his influence on USPS decision making by replacing Robert Taub, a Republican, as chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, with Michael Kubayanda, a Democrat. Some of the changes DeJoy plans to soon put forward—such as slowing down delivery windows for about 20% of mail by reducing reliance on air transportation—would require approval from that commission.
In addition to slower mail and shrinking the workforce through early retirement offers, DeJoy said his forthcoming 10-year business plan would call for a $40 billion investment in the Postal Service.