Washington Congressional Delegation Demands DeJoy Immediately Reinstall Mail Sorting Machines After 40 Percent Were Dangerously Disconnected in the Seattle-Tacoma Area
SEATTLE — Eight members of the Washington Congressional delegation demanded Postmaster General Louis DeJoy immediately reinstall the sorting machines that have been dangerously shut down and removed from postal facilities across the state, causing delays to critical deliveries and potentially threatening the ability of millions to receive prescriptions, medical supplies, payments, veteran’s benefits, small business assistance, bills, ballots and other mail in a timely fashion. The lawmakers also requested answers to several questions related to the Trump administration’s coordinated sabotage of the USPS, and its direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of Washingtonians.
The letter—led by U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and signed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representatives Adam Smith (WA-09), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Denny Heck (WA-10), Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08)—follows reports that 40 percent of high-speed mail sorting machines in the Seattle-Tacoma area have already been disconnected. The USPS’ head of maintenance, Kevin Couch, has also given orders that the machines should not be reconnected.
“We urge you to immediately reinstall USPS sorting machines removed in Washington State and across the country to help ensure the timely delivery of essential medication and checks to vulnerable Americans and protect mail-in voting capabilities,” the lawmakers wrote. “To protect our constituents’ ability to receive timely mail service and to ensure their participation in our vote-by-mail system, we ask that you urgently act to ensure that there is no slowing of mail delivery as we enter the last weeks before the November election.”
The lawmakers requested that DeJoy respond to the following urgent items within 10 business days:
- Please provide the location and operating status of all machines decommissioned in Washington State since May 15, 2020, including the date it was dismantled, destroyed or removed. Please also provide an analysis of the impact of these removals on on-time mail delivery, including election mail.
- Will any additional machines in Washington be decommissioned prior to November 3, 2020? If so, please provide a list by location and type of machine.
- Please provide the location and operating status of all machines slated to be decommissioned and/or removed after November 3, 2020.
- Please provide a detailed analysis of how the removal of 15 percent of letter sorting machines, as reportedly proposed in an internal USPS document, would impact delivery times in Washington State.
- Please provide the rationale for Mr. Couch’s order to postal workers not to reinstall decommissioned sorting machines, despite your stated intention to reverse operational changes.
Today’s letter to DeJoy comes less than one week after the House of Representatives passed the Delivering for America Act on Aug. 22 with a bipartisan vote. The legislation fully restores Postal Service operations to what they were at the beginning of this year, prohibits the removal of mail boxes and mail sorting machines from post offices and blocks the closing of USPS facilities as well as the reduction of their hours. Additionally, it requires all official election mail to be treated as First-Class, bans prohibitions on overtime pay for postal workers and reverses DeJoy’s harmful policies that have delayed mail delivery. The legislation also provides $25 billion in urgently needed emergency funding.
Earlier this month, Rep. Jayapal chaired an emergency Congressional Progressive Caucus hearing with witnesses including Mark Dimondstein, who is the president of the American Postal Workers Union, and David C. Williams, who served as USPS Inspector General and Vice Chairman of the USPS Board of Governor before recently resigning upon DeJoy’s takeover of the Postal Service. The hearing uncovered several alarming findings—from DeJoy’s corrupt financial conflicts of interest and direct political interference into the USPS by Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to a coordinated scheme that would ultimately destroy the Postal Service while undermining our elections.
The delegation’s full letter is available here.