This will be updated as I continue watching the Senate hearing. I know this hearing happened this morning, but I haven’t watched it yet, so this is my first post with live reaction updates. Refreshing the page as I update the blog post should reveal what I’ve written. OK here we go.
(Updates are from the bottom up. “–” in between each update.)
Ron Johnson sums up the afternoon and thanks DeJoy for caring about the process. And the calls to the senators seem scripted. He’s saying these are done by shills, but the difference between shills and people with a unified message is that shills say stuff in bad faith, and people with a unified method say stuff in good faith. Johnson drops his sixth “false narrative,” and he claims that this is a hit job. But this mail delivery collapse is affecting people of both parties.
Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ): We expect 95% of voters to vote by mail. Will local managers be able to authorize overtime to move election mail?
DeJoy: Yes, we’ll have redundant measures. We put together a letter, videos, a committee, to explain the process, and in September, we’re going to send out a letter to everyone in America to explain the process.
Sinema: Earlier this week you said you wouldn’t close any office before the election. What changes are you making that can slow down the processing of ballots?
Ron Johnson says that the delays are just related to Covid. DeJoy’s improvements are great. We’d have seen that if not for Covid.
Josh Hawley (R-MO) immediately bashes The Media for misinforming the public.
Hawley: The Postal Service has the means to deliver mail safely and on-time through the election.
DeJoy: We have enough cash for that.
Hawley: What more money do you need?
DeJoy: We need about $10B just for covid, and we need a loan for long-term financing for new vehicles.
Hawley: How does it look for that loan in terms of paperwork?
DeJoy: We have an issue because we need to know how to pay it back. Right now we do not know.
Hawley: What’s your estimate?
DeJoy: It’s related to covid.
Hawley: You said you’d rather use the loan for new vehicles. I want the loan term extended and to allow for modernization of the fleet. It will be longer than five years.
He’s saying far beyond the next presidential term. He’s probably done really soon.
Hawley: Your response to the reports of the Office of the Inspector General?
DeJoy: Too many trucks and low reliability.
Hawley: Are you committed to keeping delivery six days a week?
Mike Enzi (R-WY) is up. He seems to praise and then insult Pelosi.
Enzi: I didn’t know that the machines are serviced by the USPS. Also 60 days isn’t a lot of time to do full analysis. And maybe people aren’t sharing information. Also thank you for telling us that it wasn’t your fault that the mail wasn’t picked up but rather is due to covid. And we don’t even do sorting in Wyoming anymore. I used to be able to send a local letter in Wyoming and it would get there next day. Now it goes to Denver to go to Wyoming.
He keeps going, and I am not sure if his statements of praise are sarcasm? There seems to be a lot of insults being lobbed in a nice tone. I’m a little lost with Enzi. He’s got loads of complaints, but he seems to be friendly? Oh, now he says he’s trying to defend him, but still confusing.
DeJoy: Whenever there’s a new CEO, the CEO is responsible for all the actions immediately. We need to be more efficient.
Mitt Romney (R-UT) now gets to talk.
Romney: You contributed to Trump’s campaign and to my campaign, so you might say you donated to both sides.
The joke lands.
Romney: The mail is essential to our voting. Do you have confidence that if they say seven days before the election that they would make it in time?
DeJoy: Extremely highly confident. We would scour every day to get the ballots. Extremely highly confident.
Romney: Everyone should know that if you mail in seven days, you will be OK. On a separate topic, there are delays in the system. Are the delays more in one area than in another? Like are there more delays in the rural area than in the urban area?
DeJoy: Employee availability has dropped about 4% but as much as 20%-25% employee unavailability in hotspots.
I guess these are the bad people he’s been talking about so far.
Romney: I want to see the logistics plan to be more economically managed while maintaining the level of service we need. I don’t have to see it by Sunday, but we need to see a plan. Let us know what you need.
Rand Paul (R-KY) is wearing a white T-shirt with a bright blue jacket over it. He is far from his microphone.
Paul: We need to get personalized delivery but later. People could live with mail twice a week rather than every day.
WAIT, WHAT?! No, every day. That’s what we do. Every day.
Paul: How are you constrained by the government so that you can’t effect the changes you need?
DeJoy: We need pension reform, and we need freedom of pricing.
Everyone knows pension change means screwing retirees.
DeJoy: When we get trucks moving at 97% of the time and squeeze time out of that, things will work better.
So are you saying that the postal workers are lazy?
Paul: We can save money by people in remote areas getting mail delivery sporadically rather than reliably. Also the last-mile delivery prices may be too low. Are they?
DeJoy: Six-day delivery is the biggest strength to stand by.
At least he’s not for cutting service, but also he’s cut service, so I don’t know.
DeJoy: If we cut a day of service, we get maybe $1B, but the transportation improvements save $2.5B.
Paul: I’ll believe it when I see it. How about the last mile?
DeJoy: Doing what we can.
Paul: This is all partisan nonsense. Good luck.
Jacky Rosen (D-NV): Will you provide minutes of the closed, nonpublic committee meetings this Sunday?
DeJoy: I don’t have the authority to do so, and I gotta talk to my lawyer.
Rosen: We’ll talk about this later.
Rosen: You said you’ve taken things offline and cut overtime as a way to improve stuff. Let’s talk data. Postal service is the only way the people who are shut in due to covid get their items, including drugs. Also the remote communities on tribal lands, they need no interruption in mail. Before implementing changes, did you conduct any specific analysis on how changes would impact seniors? Yes or no?
DeJoy: The policy changes–
Rosen: Yes or no?
DeJoy: I didn’t make those changes.
Rosen: So no. Did you do a specific analysis of how veterans would be impacted?
DeJoy: I just told the trucks to leave on time. Mail should have been delivered faster.
Rosen: Can you commit to the veterans and seniors that they will have on-time delivery?
DeJoy: That’s what I’m trying to do. So yeah?
Rosen: How about the impact on late fees if the mail is slowed down?
DeJoy: The analysis we did is that if we moved the mail on schedule, all late deliveries would be improved.
Rosen: Obviously that hasn’t worked. Our servicemen and women vote by mail. Did you take them into account? Yes or no?
DeJoy: It was supposed to improve it.
Rosen: Do you have the reports and analyses that you based these changes on. Will you provide these by Sunday night?
Rosen: How about ever?
DeJoy: I don’t know.
Conversation devolves into DeJoy not understanding the concept of transparency. But he’ll give the truck schedule.
RoJo: Why are you uniquely qualified for this job?
DeJoy: I’ve done a lot in large logistical modernization in all kinds of private sector companies. Also my commitment to public service and community engagement. I looked for improvement within the system rather than bring people in from outside. Also I have a plan to improve the Postal Service.
RoJo: Did you have performance metrics?
DeJoy: We had 99.98% goals met. We haven’t had that at the Postal Service, and I’m trying to make that happen.
RoJo: (another softball) Are you committed to getting people their drugs?
DeJoy: Yes, I am.
RoJo: So how does it make you feel that people are saying you’re doing bad stuff?
OMG, Ron Johnson! Seriously?
DeJoy: It doesn’t bother me, and I have support, too.
RoJo: Can you carry the mail?
DeJoy: Yes. And if you look at during covid, we continued processing mail and sending to remote locations. Private industries would have stopped.
Yeah, so you want praise for meeting minimum requirements?
RoJo: What support do you need? And I appreciate your commitment to excellence Isn’t that the Raiders slogan?
Ron Johnson is back, but he switched from video to having called in. The video shows the phone number but with the last four digits obfuscated. It takes about no time to figure out what those last four numbers are. What a dumb system.
Maggie Hassan (D-NH) echoes the concept that there is a delay in drug delivery. She asks if DeJoy is going to cut that out.
Hassan: Some states are going to mail ballots out on September 4 (California is behind?! Why we gotta wait to October?) Do you have a plan to process election mail?
DeJoy: The letter was about mail classification–
Hassan: Do you have a detailed plan about how to vote by mail, yes or no?
DeJoy: We have detailed plans and have an expanded election committee and there are plans we go through every election–
Hassan: Can we see them by Sunday night?
DeJoy: I don’t think we’ll have them by Sunday night, but I can–oh wait, today is Friday. I’ll get bak to you.
Hassan: Make it soon. Facilities generally make election mail as important as FCM. Will you keep that up?
DeJoy: Yes, ma’am.
Hassan: Four sorting machines have been decommissioned in Manchester, NH. Three are sitting there, but one was sold to a scrapyard. There’s only one machine left in service. If it stops working like it did yesterday, the sorting center in Manchester stops until there’s maintenance. Director of maintenance sent out a memo not to put machines back into service.
DeJoy: I have no idea about this even. There’s probably logic to it.
Hassan: You’e said today that it’s not necessary, but when we’ve got only one and that breaks, that’s not efficient and it delays delivery, and I want a plan to make sure you’ll commit so the postal service can process every piece of mail that gets there that day like has happened in the past. Will you commit to your team to put a plan in place and send a plan in writing?
DeJoy: I disagree with your premise, but I’ll send you something.
Hassan: Postal workers are reporting retaliation for complaining about this issue. Will you commit not to retaliate?
DeJoy: Yes, ma’am.
James Lankford (R-OK) is up.
Lankford: There’s never been an issue with vote by mail before, but I thank you for helping out with an organization that is doing so poorly.
Lankford: Have you been locking up boxes in Burbank?
DeJoy: I have nothing to do with collection boxes.
Lankford: 35,000 blue boxes have been retired. Anything in the past 65 days are your responsibility. Will the 700 be put back?
DeJoy: We told everyone to stop the changes.
Lankford: Will that pick back up after the elections? Also the sorting machines. Will we continue this efficiency program after the election?
DeJoy: We want to be self-sustaining. We have new strategies to stop budget shortfall. We have to bridge $10B gap. It costs $500M to do something in Alaska(?) Either remove the self-sustaining requirement or make a change.
Lankford: Is there capacity for Christmas and Mother’s Day at this moment?
This is a crazy thing to say. The delays have been nuts!
Carper finishes by saying that his family has a long military background and has fought for the right to vote to be protected. Mail-in ballots are necessary especially during the pandemic so people don’t have consider death as a result of voting.
Carper is against voter suppression, and he sees changes that will cause even more of a delay than there has been so far, including increases to cost of vote by mail and packages, and they’re not even going to be competitive with UPS and FedEx. Closing of processing plants. Now just Yes/No questions.
Carper: Are you actually doing these things that we found out about in the past 48 hours? Yes or no?
DeJoy: (filler but then) Yes.
Carper: Will you restore the lost capacity of the postal service?
DeJoy: I didn’t do it, and I won’t reverse it.
Carper: Trump said he would not give money to the Postal Service because they can’t handle the mail. You’ve had conversations with him and have financially supported him. Will you remain independent of the Trump Administration?
Carper: Do you support private appropriations to cover covid-related losses? I think this is what the question is.
Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware), now composed. He was not interested in missing his chance.
He also has had issues with hearing from DeJoy. We’ve all been there where we’ve been on hold and then they come on and you’re trying to unmute it. Usually we aren’t on camera doing it, though. Well, maybe we are now.
I had to pause it. I’m back now.
Moving on to Senator Carper but then move to Lankford.
OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG Carper had trouble but then started swearing but only after he’d unmuted. If you have a chance, 57:10 in the Washington Post video. I cannot breathe.
Ron Johnson reminds to keep to seven minutes, even though he didn’t do that himself
Portman: What advice do you give to vote by mail?
DeJoy: Vote early.
Portman: Veterans have reached out about drugs that weren’t delivered, and insurance said too bad because it’s been shipped. So what’s the deal, bro?
DeJoy: I’m working hard over here! But I feel bad about the slowdown. We serve 161M people. We deliver 99.5% of the time. Still trying to improve on that. And people are working feverishly.
I hope not feverishly with covid!
Portman: Are you in favor of vote by mail?
DeJoy: I’ve voted by mail for a number of years. USPS delivers every ballot it receives.
Portman: So… yes?
DeJoy: I think Americans should be able to vote by mail. So yes.
Portman: The states are going to decide this, not the federal government. But Ohio is certainly going to have it. And it’s hard to cheat in Ohio. But the Postal Service sent a letter saying that they can’t handle all the ballots. What’s causing this statement?
DeJoy: Not a change from previous years. Just more detail and more emphasis. Because of more vote by mail and because of covid. The letter was to tell the boards that if you follow this procedure, you’ll be OK.
Rob Portman (R-OH) has his turn.
Reiterates that DeJoy was approved unanimously. He also says that the future of the Postal Service isn’t pretty.
With the coin shortage, this country is ripe for the return of philately!
Peters: Will you make states pay more for election mail or will you treat election mail like first class mail?
DeJoy: We’ll treat it better than first class mail.
Peters: Direction from the White House?
DeJoy: Changes not coming from there.
Peters: Talk to Mark Meadows?
DeJoy: I haven’t talked to Mark Meadows since, my gosh, last week.
Last week?! Sounded like it would be months ago.
Peters: Any discussion with the White House about postal strategy?
DeJoy: Just said I’m working on a plan but not what it was.
Peters: Suspending policy of suspending extra trips?
Peters: Overtime still dead?
DeJoy: Never eliminated.
Peters: No Post Office closures before elections?
DeJoy: Suspended till after election.
Peters: Bring back any sorting machines?
DeJoy: Nope! They’re not needed.
Peters produces a chart about on-time delivery. Around July 11, there’s a drop, and by July 18 big drop. He asks DeJoy if he confirms there was a drop-off in timeliness.
DeJoy changes his tune and agrees that there were drop-offs, but it’s not his fault, it’s covid’s fault.
Peters is back. He praises the employees. The ones DeJoy just said can’t follow his good leadership.
Peters has gotten more than 3500 complaints just from Michigan about the mail.
DeJoy: The employees aren’t the quality they need. He’s there to get them in shape(?)
Peters doesn’t care for this nonsense. Cuts him off. Brings him back to reality.
Now time for questions.
Ron Johnson is first. “False narrative” count is up to 5.
DeJoy: No changes in policies. Oh, come on. Since his arrival, he’s established a task force and is intent on creating a website.
RoJo: The Postal Service has more than enough capacity for delivery of ballots, right? Right?!
DeJoy: There’s adequate capacity. And mail volume is down 13%. Mail delivery volume is down even more!
But everybody is ready for this election. Yesterday, they decided to create a bipartisan board or committee or something. There’s uncertainty about what he’s created.
RoJo: What about the retirement of blue boxes and sorting machines? Also isn’t this common that if there’s less use, then you should take things away?
DeJoy: Yeah, we’re taking about 35,000 over 10 years, but he hasn’t reviewed the data. Since he arrived 67 days ago, they removed 700 boxes, but he didn’t know about it. Quick math: 3500/year so like 10 a day. He’s above trend.
DeJoy: Mail volume has declined during covid, but package volume has increased dramatically. They’re just repurposing the letter ones for packages, but there are problems or something.
RoJo: Operational changes to cut out the overtime pay that results in slower mailing, but there’s nothing nefarious here, right? Right?!
DeJoy: He spent hundreds of hours before arrival (kind of like my tires), and then more after his arrival at USPS. He worked with management as a group and individually to reduce excess. He also received a report from the inspector general about $13B in cash and $12.5B in payments to make in next nine months, and no end in sight. I’m a little confused. Isn’t that an excess of $500M?
Oh wait, it’s probably $12B budgeted to them, and they are almost out of money. I think I follow now.
DeJoy: USPS is slow, but FedEx and UPS are always on time. You know, except when they’re late, which has happened to me a couple times recently.
DeJoy produces a chart that he says indicates that went from 88% on time to 97% on time delivery, and the late trips dropped from 3500/day to 600/day. This happened with in a week.
Unfortunately, some mail production processing is not in line with this schedule.
So it’s not his leadership but other people being able to follow him?
Ron Johnson explains again that DeJoy was confirmed unanimously.
Now DeJoy starts to talk.
DeJoy’s internet connection is kinda slow. Must have at&t.
Postal Service this year will lose $9B, according to DeJoy. The losses are related to pension plan funding, including medical insurance. Does this mean he’s in favor of universal healthcare? This certainly would alleviate the budget woes.
In his 67 days of service, he’s been able to “see the hidden strengths of the Postal Service.” I wish he’d stop hiding those things!
He says the election is his top priority. Why is that slowing down mail delivery right now? We won’t get our ballots for more than a month yet.
Peters says he has been asking since July about what has happened. The response took a month. Peters opted not to make the joke that this should have been a bad sign about the tone at the top for timeliness.
Peters brings up the issue of slow delivery of necessary drugs. I have heard similar things described. This is not just a Michigan problems.
Peters’s investigation update:
DeJoy needs to apologize for the damage inflicted on the public. America needs to know if the changes can be reversed and if DeJoy intends to keep this nonsense up.
Peters drops a pun: DeJoy hasn’t delivered.
OK Johnson’s done. Now over to Gary Peters. Peters is from Michigan.
Oh wait, that’s Ron Johnson. As my fiancee pointed out he’s Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. She chuckled at the rhyme.
Anyway, Ron Johnson is praising Louis DeJoy. I’m relieved that Louis DeJoy looks like the featured picture of this blog and not like Ron Johnson.
Johnson is saying that the idea that DeJoy is pulling away the mailboxes is to the screw up vote by mail, but he says that the policy was in place prior to DeJoy’s arrival. But why did the last guy leave?
Washington Post started with coverage late, but DeJoy is talking about some false narrative. He’s talking about how great he is. Sure sounds familiar.