Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey on Monday urged President Joe Biden to terminate all six sitting members of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors for their "silence and complicity" in the face of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and former President Donald Trump's full-scale assault on the beloved government mail agency.
"Through the devastating arson of the Trump regime, the USPS Board of Governors sat silent," Pascrell wrote in a letter to Biden. "Their dereliction cannot now be forgotten. Therefore, I urge you to fire the entire Board of Governors and nominate a new slate of leaders to begin the hard work of rebuilding our Postal Service for the next century."
While the president does not have the authority under current law to fire DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to Trump who was unanimously appointed by the USPS Board of Governors last May—Biden does have the power to remove postal governors "for cause." At present, the board consists entirely of Trump appointees—two Democrats and four Republicans.
Pascrell argued Monday that "the board members' refusal to oppose the worst destruction ever inflicted on the Postal Service was a betrayal of their duties and unquestionably constitutes good cause for their removal."
Far from opposing DeJoy's sweeping operational changes—which resulted in massively disruptive, nationwide mail delays that persisted through the November election and holiday season—USPS governors publicly praised the postmaster general, with one Republican board member gushing in September that "the board is tickled pink, every single board member, with the impact" DeJoy was having on the agency.
That glowing assessment of DeJoy's performance during his first several months on the job did not comport with the experiences of postal workers—who in some cases resisted DeJoy's policies—or the agency's own internal evaluations, which showed that widespread delays followed the postmaster general's changes.
DeJoy put his damaging policy moves on hold in August amid nationwide outrage and accusations that he was working to disrupt the election for Trump's benefit. With the presidential election now in the past, DeJoy has recently signaled he plans to push ahead with his agenda.
In his letter to Biden, Pascrell wrote that the "continued challenges in preserving our Postal Service to survive and endure are gargantuan, and so demand bold solutions to meet them."
"To begin that work," Pascrell added, "we must have a governing body that can be trusted to represent the public interest."
There are currently four vacancies in top leadership positions at USPS, including three governor spots and the deputy postmaster general role. If Biden fills the remaining vacancies—USPS governors must be confirmed by the Senate—Democrats will have a majority on the board and potentially the votes needed to remove DeJoy from office.
"Trump confessed he was wrecking USPS to rig the election. His toady Postmaster General DeJoy carried out that arson. It's time to clean house," Pascrell tweetedMonday. "DeJoy should be fired but also prosecuted."
Asked about Pascrell's demand during a briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "It's an interesting question."
"We all love the mailman and mailwoman," said Psaki. "I don't have anything for you on it. I'm happy to check with our team on it and see if we have any specifics. I'm not aware of anything, but we'll circle back with you."
Read Pascrell's full letter:
Dear President Biden:
After several years of unprecedented sabotage, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is teetering on the brink of collapse. Through the devastating arson of the Trump regime, the USPS Board of Governors sat silent. Their dereliction cannot now be forgotten. Therefore, I urge you to fire the entire Board of Governors and nominate a new slate of leaders to begin the hard work of rebuilding our Postal Service for the next century.
According to a report by the USPS Office of Inspector General, operational changes imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy "negatively impacted the quality and timeliness of mail service nationally" and were "implemented quickly and communicated primarily orally," resulting in confusion and inconsistent application across the country. As DeJoy's efforts to dismantle mail sorting machines, cut overtime, restrict deliveries, and remove mailboxes slowed mail nationally, Donald Trump himself openly admitted that his administration was withholding funding for the Postal Service in order to make it harder to process mail-in ballots.
Things became so bad that on August 14, 2020, I filed a complaint with our state's Attorney General calling on him to seek indictments against your predecessor and the Postmaster General for election subversion. Postal operations have continued to severely lag benchmark levels under DeJoy and this slate of Governors. This holiday season, USPS reported an unprecedented level of mail disruption, with only 64 percent of first-class mail delivered on time in late December. Through it all, the Governors were either silent or in support of DeJoy's havoc.
The members of the USPS Board of Governors have but one central responsibility: "represent[ing] the public interest." Members may be removed by the President "only for cause." The board members' refusal to oppose the worst destruction ever inflicted on the Postal Service was a betrayal of their duties and unquestionably constitutes good cause for their removal.
As America's perhaps most enduringly trusted institution, a central economic and social engine for every community in America, and a vital vanguard of the democratic tradition, the Post Office must play an essential role in our national life for generations to come. The continued challenges in preserving our Postal Service to survive and endure are gargantuan, and so demand bold solutions to meet them. To begin that work, we must have a governing body that can be trusted to represent the public interest. Thank you for your continued dedication to saving our Post Office.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress