Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will testify Friday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as lawmakers speak out against his overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service.
The hearing, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET before the Republican-led panel, will mark DeJoy's first time directly answering questions from Congress about the post office, which has come under intense scrutiny in the runup to the 2020 presidential election.
"I am pleased to have secured an oversight hearing on Friday with Postmaster General DeJoy in order to address urgent questions on the Postal Service delays that are causing massive disruptions across the country," Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
"As Ranking Member on the only Senate Committee with oversight of the Postal Service, I will continue pressing for answers on Mr. DeJoy's recent directives and their impacts on all Americans, who rely on the Postal Service for prescriptions, running their small businesses, voting and other crucial purposes."
DeJoy's cost-cutting measures at the ailing government agency reportedly include crackdowns on making late delivery trips and cuts to overtime pay and have led to claims of widespread mail delays.
Democrats have raised concerns that the changes made by DeJoy, a major donor to Republicans and committees supporting President Donald Trump's reelection, could impact the November election, where the coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead more Americans than ever before to cast their ballots by mail.
CNN reported last week that DeJoy continues to hold at least $30 million in holdings in his former company XPO Logistics, which is a United States Postal Service contractor. The New York Times, citing financial disclosure forms, reported on Monday that Dejoy received $1.2 million to $7 million in income last year from XPO Logisitics.
DeJoy was selected in May by the USPS Board of Governors, all of whom were appointed by Trump. DeJoy is reportedly the first postmaster general in nearly two decades who has not been a career employee of the agency.
Trump has repeatedly railed against so-called universal mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that it will lead to massive fraud and a "rigged" election. He has drawn a distinction between absentee voting — a system he has reportedly utilized as president — and the efforts by some governors to send out ballots to all eligible voters.
At the White House on Tuesday, Trump claimed again that widespread mail-in voting will lead to "a disaster the likes of which our country has never seen."
"It'll end up being a rigged election or they will never come out with an outcome. They'll have to do it again," Trump said. "And nobody wants that, and I don't want that."
A spokesman for Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cheered the announcement of the hearing. "I am pleased that immense pressure from Senate Democrats and the American people have forced Senate Republicans to confront Postmaster General DeJoy's ongoing sabotage of the Postal Service that threatens the integrity of our elections and delays vital services," Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer on Monday had pushed Johnson to schedule a hearing with DeJoy after the House Oversight Committee, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., announced that the postmaster general would testify before her panel next week.
Robert Duncan, chairman of the USPS board, which selected DeJoy in May, will also testify before the House committee.
Peters was one of seven senators who sent a letter Monday urging the Postal Service's Board of Governors to reverse DeJoy's changes to the agency. That letter noted that if DeJoy refuses to cooperate with their proposed reversal, the board has the authority to remove him.