Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a megadonor to former President Donald Trump, insisted during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday that he plans to remain at the head of the U.S. Postal Service “for a long time.”
But President Joe Biden took a step late Wednesday afternoon that Democratic lawmakers are hoping will mark the beginning of the end of DeJoy’s tenure, which has been characterized by scandal, precipitous declines in Postal Service performance, and accusations of deliberate sabotage of America’s most popular government institution.
As DeJoy on Wednesday faced heated questioning on his past operational changes at USPS as well as his future plans to raise costs and further slow mail delivery, Biden nominated three officials to fill existing vacancies on the Postal Service Board of Governors, the body with the authority to replace the postmaster general.
According to the Washington Post, Biden has “named two Democrats and a voting rights advocate to fill three of the four openings on the Postal Service’s governing board…: Ron Stroman, the Postal Service’s recently retired deputy postmaster general; Amber McReynolds, the chief executive of the National Vote at Home Institute; and Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union.”
“If all three win Senate confirmation,” the Post noted, “the nine-member board would be made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans with McReynolds, whose organization is a darling of left-leaning groups, as the lone independent.”
Congressional Democrats who have been urging Biden to take action to get rid of DeJoy applauded the president’s nominees as solid choices and called on the Senate to swiftly confirm them.
“They will bring a fresh perspective, a diversity in lived-experience, and a broader understanding of the challenges all Americans are suffering with the current USPS — something lacking in the current Board of Governors,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said in a statement. “These nominations are an important first step toward reforming the Postal Service. My hope is the newly constituted board will do the right thing and bring in a new, qualified postmaster general.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), one of several Democrats pressing Biden to terminate every current postal board member, called Biden’s picks “an impressive group of diverse nominees well-suited to the work of saving our Post Office.”
“Our entire country is fed up with USPS leadership. Something needs to change and that change begins here,” Pascrell tweeted. “This is a key step, but only the start. I continue to urge POTUS to remove all the sitting governors, who’ve been complicit. Once they’re replaced, DeJoy should be sent packing.”
This is a key step, but only the start. I continue to urge @POTUS to remove all the sitting governors, who’ve been complicit.
Once they’re replaced, dejoy should be sent packing. In the meantime, Congress must start the work of reforming USPS so it can thrive for next 100 years. https://t.co/QsHlv452La
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) February 24, 2021
During Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing, USPS Board of Governors chair Ron Bloom — one of two Democrats currently on the board — said he believes DeJoy has been “doing a good job” despite nationwide outrage over persistent mail delays, which have held up prescription medicines and other key deliveries.
While Bloom’s support for DeJoy would seem to present a problem for potential efforts to oust the postmaster general, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern pointed out that Bloom is currently in a holdover year after his term officially expired in December — meaning that Biden can nominate a governor to replace him.
“Donald Lee Moak is a progressive union guy recommended by [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer,” Stern noted, referring to the other Democrat currently on the postal board. “Based on my reporting, I am confident that he will not stand in the way of DeJoy’s removal.”