Ahead of U.S. Senate hearing, Postal Service boss backs off from proposed changes

Mail Carrier Sorting the mail

(*This story was updated at 3 p.m. on 8/18/20 to reflect new actions by U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy)

WASHINGTON — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he will halt a series of sweeping policy changes to the U.S. Postal Service until after the general elections this fall.

DeJoy said he will not change overtime rules, retail hours at local post offices, or the location of mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes, nor will he close any existing mail processing facilities.

He also said the agency will use “standby” resources as of Oct. 1 to meet a possible surge in mail due to the elections.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said in a statement. He said the agency is “ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall.”

The announcement came hours after a Senate oversight panel announced DeJoy will testify Friday in a hearing on policy changes to the agency that critics said could jeopardize the integrity of the fall elections, the day before the House plans a rare weekend vote on Postal Service legislation.

Peters launched an investigation into mail delays earlier this month and introduced a bill last week that would block DeJoy from making any operational changes that could undermine service during the pandemic.