(Trends Wide) — Americans across the country could see a slowdown in mail delivery across the country starting this Friday, when the US Postal Service (USPS) implements its new service standards.
The changes, which include longer first-class mail delivery times and cuts to post office hours, are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s beleaguered 10-year plan for the agency that he unveiled earlier in the year. this year.
According to USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum, the service changes will not affect about 60% of first class mail and almost all periodic deliveries. Within a local area, the standard delivery time for one-piece first class mail will remain at two days.
However, mail traveling longer distances will take longer to arrive in some cases due to increased USPS transit time.
“These changes would position us to take advantage of more cost-effective means of transporting first-class packages by land, rather than using expensive air transport, which is also less reliable due to weather, flight traffic, availability limitations, competition for the space and the aggregate of transfers involved, “explained Frum.
Many Democrats have called for the removal of DeJoy, a major donor to the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump.
A controversial plan
The broad USPS plan, titled “Complying with America,” promises to make the Postal Service more competitive and modern, including a new fleet of energy-efficient delivery vehicles.
In March, DeJoy, a holdover from the Trump administration, told reporters at a press conference that it “takes a holistic view of the organization and is aimed at elevating our business, competitiveness, and our ability to meet the needs of the nation.” .
But several high-ranking Democrats criticized the plan. House Reform and Oversight Speaker Carolyn Maloney of New York criticized what she called the “unacceptable decision to permanently slow mail delivery.” And Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, who has confronted DeJoy in Congressional hearings, called it “a draconian plan that guarantees the death spiral of the United States Postal Service.”
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters said he was concerned that changes to the service would hurt people “who depend on the postal service for prescription drugs, financial documents, running their small businesses and more.”
Amid the mail slowdown during the summer of 2020, Democratic lawmakers linked DeJoy to then-President Trump’s anti-mailing rhetoric.
The party accused DeJoy of attempting to sabotage the Postal Service just as now-President Joe Biden was relying on mailed ballots to get him to the White House.
DeJoy’s situation in the postal service
During congressional hearings at the time, DeJoy discussed with Democratic lawmakers about slow delivery rates, the 2020 election, and his upcoming 10-year plan.
In February, DeJoy apologized for the slow mail during the peak holiday season and told the Democratic-controlled House Oversight and Reform Committee that it was “unacceptable.”
Also in February, Biden nominated three people to the agency’s Board of Governors, a move that some lawmakers hoped would eventually lead to DeJoy’s impeachment and that kept a promise that the government would make the board and the agency a priority. in the early days of his presidency.
The trio of nominees said in April during a congressional hearing that they had not made any commitments or been pressured by DeJoy’s possible firing.
The president cannot remove the postmaster general. Only the Postal Service Board of Governors, which is made up of members nominated by the president and confirmed in the Senate, has the power to do so.
Trends Wide’s Liz Stark contributed to this report.