The United States Postal Service will hold off of on making changes blamed for slowing down mail delivery until after the November election, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said on Tuesday.
“There are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” DeJoy said in a statement.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
The postal service has been at the center of a political firestorm in recent days after President Donald Trump said he was opposed to more funding for the cash-strapped agency, which is expected to handle large numbers of mail-in ballots in the November election due to the coronavirus pandemic.
An ally of the president, DeJoy took over as postmaster general in June and presided over the removal of collection boxes and processing equipment as well as cutting overtime, which a union leader told AFP has slowed down delivery times nationwide.
The changes and the president’s statements have led to claims by opposition Democrats that that White House is attempting to undermine the election in which Trump is standing for a second term.
In his statement, DeJoy said he would maintain hours at post offices, stop the removal of collection boxes and sorting machines while overtime “will continue to be approved as needed.”
Democrats leading the House of Representatives had called the body back into session to address the issues at the post office, and DeJoy is set to testify before committees in the House and the Senate this week and next.