North Jersey Democratic lawmakers are blasting a 10-year-strategic plan from the United States Postal Service (USPS), saying it is short-sighted and contradictory to the agency’s mission.
Released March 23, the 58-page plan, titled “Delivering for America,” proposes several changes to help improve overall service, modernize the agency and make it more competitive to ensure long-term survival.
Part of that strategy calls for longer delivery windows for first-class mail, postage rate increases and cuts to post office hours. It also includes investments, such as a new fleet of delivery vehicles, training, facility upgrades and new mobile devices for mail carriers.
Sires, Pascrell Speak Out
Following the plan’s release, Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) said the proposed cuts would result in “harmful delays and the degradation of service for millions across the country.”
And Rep Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9) categorized it as another attempt by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy “to destabilize the Post Office” and “a blueprint (for the agency’s) continued decay and destruction.”
“This so-called plan offered by USPS leadership should itself be a dead letter. Americans demand the restoration of the reliable postal service they have always known and are entitled to as citizens of this country,” said Pascrell.
DeJoy: Path To ‘Sustainability’ And ‘Excellence’
After unveiling the plan, DeJoy said, “The need for the US Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue. Our plan calls for growth and investments, as well as targeted cost reductions and other strategies that will enable us to operate in a precise and efficient manner to meet future challenges, as we put the Postal Service on a path for financial sustainability and service excellence.”
Faced with an expected $160 billion in losses over the next decade, DeJoy stressed the need for cost cutting and modernizing the agency’s operations as its workload increasingly shifts from handling letters to hauling packages.
According to DeJoy, the USPS lost $9.2 billion in 2020 and its liability costs are exceeding its assets by about $162 billion If action is not taken to address the agency’s issues, it will need a government bailout, he said.
Sires: ‘Real’ Reform Needed
Several other Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have criticized the proposal, saying it undermines the purpose of the Post Office and could harm those who receive financial documents and prescription drugs through the mail.
Instead of enacting “cutbacks and ineffective measures,” Sires believes DeJoy should “work with Congress to achieve real USPS reform. As House Democrats continue passing legislation that works for the American people the needs of the USPS will not be forgotten.”
Sires continued, “As Congress works on a vigorous infrastructure package, I will fight to ensure this package includes the resources needed for USPS to thrive in the future and continue delivering a quality service to the American people,” he stated.
DeJoy Faces Continued Scrutiny
Details of the plan come as the USPS remains under intense scrutiny over persistent delivery delays under DeJoy, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who was named last year to head the agency.
During congressional hearings in February with the House Oversight Committee, DeJoy sparred with Democratic lawmakers over the slow delivery rates, policy changes that delayed mail the 2020 election and the agency’s 10-year plan.
Last month, President Joe Biden nominated three candidates to the USPS Board of Governors, a move that some Democrats hope will lead to DeJoy’s ouster. Currently, all six of the board’s members were appointed by Trump.
Pascrell: It Is Time To ‘Clean House’
Pascrell, who was the first member of Congress earlier this year to urge Biden to replace the entire board, said “Delivering for America” is “yet one more demonstration of why the whole leadership there needs to be removed.”
“The entire sitting Postal Board of Governors should be fired immediately for their silence and complicity in USPS’s decimation,” Pascrell said. “And then Mr. DeJoy should be escorted to the street where his bags are waiting for him. Every day we wait to clean house further endangers the American Post Office.”