Ranking Member Mfume’s Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing with Postmaster Louis DeJoy
Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2023)—Below is Ranking Member Kweisi Mfume’s opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at today’s Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Ranking Member Kweisi Mfume
Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce
Hearing on “Tracking the Postal Service: An Update on the Delivering for America Plan”
May 17, 2023
As we convene today’s Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce, I want to emphasize the latter half of the name of this Subcommittee: the Federal Workforce. Last week, Congressman Connolly, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and I co-led a resolution designating the week to honor our nation’s public servants, including postal workers and even our own congressional office staff. Thank you for keeping our government running. Your hard work and sacrifices do not go unrecognized.
The Former Chair of this Subcommittee continuously leads valiant efforts to acknowledge and appreciate our public servants and is a fierce defender and supporter of the Federal workforce. Congressman Connolly, I know Monday’s attack is weighing heavy on your mind, as it is on mine. I am devastated by this senseless violence and am praying for your team members’ speedy recoveries.
Mr. DeJoy, welcome back. Although we may have our differences, I am looking forward to a fruitful discussion.
Throughout the pandemic, Baltimore and much of Maryland’s 7th Congressional District had the worst on-time delivery in the nation—by far. Now that mail delivery is improving, Maryland is experiencing one of the worst spikes in mail theft—particularly in Bethesda, Potomac, and Chevy Chase.
Moreover, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service reports that robberies of postal carriers have increased by 78%, resulting in nearly 500 robberies in 2022. Criminals who commit robberies of Postal Service letter carriers are specifically looking for one thing: “arrow keys,” which grant access to most mailboxes across an entire ZIP Code associated with that key. This provides bad actors with ample opportunities to steal checks and rewrite them to withdraw excessive amounts from the victim’s bank account, and further victimizes mail recipients to other potential crimes.
I am concerned about the thousands of dollars that a single family could lose if a check is stolen. And I am concerned about the safety of our hardworking postal carriers targeted by senseless crime.
To cut costs, the Postal Service has increased their reliability on the private sector to deliver mail. The results have been fatal.
In the past three years alone, third party trucking companies have been involved in 68 fatal crashes, which have cost 79 people their lives. We expect the Postal Service to deliver our mail securely, and safely. Yet, it appears that the Postal Service can’t guarantee safety, and has instead prioritized cost-saving strategies.
Our postal carriers must be reassured that their employer, Mr. DeJoy, is implementing all strategies and focusing all resources necessary to ensure the safety of its carriers, and the timeliness of the mail they deliver.
That is why Ranking Member Raskin, Congressman Connolly, and I sent a letter to Postmaster General DeJoy requesting the Postal Service’s detailed response to this alarming threat to the nearly 600,000 Postal Service employees who are just trying to do their job.
Mr. Chair, I ask for unanimous consent to submit our letter to the record.
I look forward to your response, Mr. DeJoy.
Since the USPS’s 2021 implementation of their 10-Year Plan, 54.4 million Americans entrusted the Postal Service to deliver their 2022 Midterm Election voting ballots securely and on-time per first-class standards, which is now classified as within one to five business days. While the Postal Service delivered 99.82% of mail-in ballots on time, roughly 640,000 ballots arrived late.
It is clear that the Postal Service still faces significant challenges in achieving long-term success and financial stability.
Congress already stepped in to address these financial challenges through the enactment of the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 (PSRA), which provided significant financial relief to the Postal Service and eliminated the archaic requirement to pre-fund Postal Service retiree health benefits, and moved Postal Service retirees onto Medicare.
Yet, even with these changes, the Postal Service will not be able to meet their own goal of breaking even in fiscal year 2023. I’ve had concerns about the Postal Service’s ability to meet these cost-saving goals from the start, and introduced a resolution in October 2021 that objected to Postmaster General’s Plan until further investigation.
Mr. DeJoy, your testimony indicates that we should anticipate “aggressive actions” to reverse financial losses. I hope to hear more about those actions today.
I recognize that there have been some successes to report in the second year of a 10-year plan. It is our duty as Members of this Committee to remain vigilant, and I will continue to demand accountability every step of the way.
The Chair and I are charged with conducting true and meaningful oversight, so I implore you, Mr. DeJoy, to overcome these challenges and restore reliable mail and package delivery services to the American people.
Thank you, Chair Sessions. I yield back.