On-time mail delivery dropped by nearly 10% nationwide under U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s changes to the USPS, according to a new Senate report, confirming nationwide reports of delayed mail including prescription deliveries and small business shopping that had led to financial strain and widespread outrage and fear about how the delays could impact the November election.
According to an analysis of USPS data by the office of Sen. Gary Peters, the Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee who conducted the USPS investigation, the USPS delivered more than 90% of mail on time before DeJoy’s changes were implemented.
When the changes were implemented in mid-July, on-time rates dropped to between 81.5% and 85.3% between the weeks of July 11 and August 8.
The delays resulted in 85 million more deliveries getting delayed between August 8 to 14 alone, and additional Senate data reported by the Washington Post found that 350 million pieces of first class mail—nearly 7% of the nation’s total first class mail—was delayed in the five weeks after DeJoy’s changes were implemented.
On-time performance dropped in every single Postal Service District in the country, but the service delays were particularly pronounced in certain areas likely to prove critical to the November election: service fell by 20.4% in northern Ohio, 15.8% in the Ohio Valley, 19.1% in Detroit and 17.9% in central Pennsylvania, in addition to a 19.2% drop in Honolulu.
DeJoy “failed to consider the likely service impacts” of his transportation changes— including mandating that trucks run on time, even if mail was left behind—and “failed to conduct any meaningful analysis about how his planned changes could affect customers,” Peters’ investigation found.
Mail delays have resulted in veterans and other Americans’ medications getting delayed—potentially causing health risks for millions—hurt small businesses and caused financial strain for Americans who rely on the USPS to pay bills or receive paychecks, according to the report.
The mail delays began to improve in mid-to-late August, the report found, but on-time delivery rates have stayed below where they were before DeJoy’s changes, and service declined again for 30 of the 67 USPS districts in the week of August 29 to September 4.
“The results of my investigation clearly show that Postmaster General DeJoy’s carelessly instituted operational changes to the Postal Service resulted in severe service impacts that harmed the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders and Americans,” Peters said in a statement. “I have repeatedly made it clear to Mr. DeJoy, that his actions have had consequences for many of my constituents and people across the nation. My report shows his decisions were reckless and caused significant harm to the American people.”
While DeJoy has said he’s “concerned” about the delays resulting from his changes, the postmaster general has repeatedly defended his changes as necessary to address the USPS’s “dire” financial situation. DeJoy has temporarily paused some changes through the November election, but he has refused to completely reverse his changes or pause his directive requiring trucks to go out before mail is fully processed. “I wouldn’t know how to reverse that now,” DeJoy told House lawmakers at a hearing in August about his directive to run the trucks on time, which he called a “fundamental basic principle” for the agency’s operations. “Am I to say, ‘Don’t run the trucks on time?’”
DeJoy implemented a new directive in July requiring mail trucks to run on time, which has resulted in some trucks running completely empty, and prohibited extra trips to deliver mail. There have also been other recent USPS changes that have drawn controversy, including cuts to postal workers’ overtime and the removal of mail sorting equipment, but DeJoy has claimed he’s not responsible for directing those changes himself. The changes have been a significant source of controversy as Americans across the country have reported being impacted by the mail delays, and Peters’ Senate investigation is one of several efforts that lawmakers have undertaken to investigate the changes. Addressing DeJoy’s changes has been particularly pressing ahead of the November election, as the mail delays—and DeJoy’s status as a major Trump donor and GOP fundraiser—have sowed fears about the potential impact on mail-in voting and whether DeJoy is working with President Donald Trump to undermine the election. (DeJoy has denied being in any way influenced by Trump and called his attacks on mail-in voting “not helpful.”)
What To Watch For
In addition to Peters’ investigation, the House Oversight Committee is also investigating DeJoy’s changes at the agency, and have issued a subpoena for documents that are due by the end of the day. There are also a number of currently pending lawsuits aimed at reversing DeJoy’s changes at the agency, including by state attorneys general and mail-in voters.
DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7 percent of nation’s first-class mail, Senate report says (Washington Post)
Sorting Equipment Removed, Postal Police Duties Scaled Back: Here Are All The Postal Service Changes Raising Alarm (Forbes)
Senate Democrat Investigating U.S. Postal Service Delays As Election Fears Mount (Forbes)
USPS Mail Delays Still Persisting, Workers Say, Despite DeJoy Pausing Some Changes (Forbes)
Postmaster General Defends USPS Changes, Mail-In Voting In Senate Hearing, Says Removed Mail Sorting Equipment Won’t Be Reinstalled (Forbes)
Significant Delays For Mail-Order Drugs Pose Health Risks For Millions, Senate Report Finds (Forbes)