- Postmaster General Louis DeJoy struggled to answer basic questions about the cost of postage for basic items at a US House Oversight hearing on Monday.
- In an exchange with Rep. Katie Porter, DeJoy admitted he didn’t know the cost of mailing a postcard or a smaller greeting card, the starting rate for US Priority Mail, or how many Americans voted by mail in 2016.
- “Mr. DeJoy, I’m concerned. I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency,” Porter said.
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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy struggled to answer basic questions about the cost of postage for items including postcards while being questioned by Rep. Katie Porter at a US House Oversight hearing on Monday.
DeJoy, a former shipping and logistics executive and prolific Republican political donor, was appointed postmaster general in May and took over the position in June. He’s the first postmaster general in nearly 30 years to have no previous experience working at the agency.
Porter, a first-term congresswoman from Southern California and former consumer finance law professor at the University of California Irvine, is known for her direct and incisive question of witnesses in hearings.
The relevant part of their exchange is below:
- Porter: “Mr. DeJoy, thank you for being with us today. What is the cost of a first-class postage stamp?”
- DeJoy: “55 cents.”
- Porter: “Just wanted to check. What about to mail a postcard?”
- DeJoy: “I don’t know, ma’am.”
- Porter: “You don’t know the cost to mail a postcard?”
- DeJoy: “I don’t.”
- Porter: “You said 55 cents for a first-class stamp, but what if it’s like one of those greeting cards that’s a square envelope, then what is the postage?”
- DeJoy: “I’ll submit that I know very little about postage stamps.”
- Porter: “You were more in the shipping and logistics business, what is the weight limit for Priority Mail?”
- DeJoy: “Seventy pounds.”
- Porter: “And what is the starting rate for USPS Priority Mail?”
- DeJoy: “Starting weight…fourteen ounces.”
- Porter: “No, the rate, the price.”
- DeJoy: “I don’t know.”
- Porter: “Within a million or so, can you tell me how many people voted by mail in the last presidential election?”
- DeJoy: “No, I cannot.”
- Porter: “To the nearest ten million?”
- DeJoy: “I would be guessing, and I don’t want to guess.”
- Porter: “So, Mr. DeJoy, I’m concerned. I’m glad you know the price of a stamp, but I’m concerned about your understanding of this agency. And I’m particularly concerned about because you started taking very decisive action when you became postmaster general.”
—Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) August 24, 2020
It costs 35 cents to mail a postcard in the United States, 70 cents to mail a square or unusually-shaped envelope, and the starting rate for Priority Mail is $7.50. Thirty-three million voters, making up 23.7% of the electorate, voted by mail in the 2016 presidential election, according to the US Election Assistance Commission.
A week before the hearing, Porter wrote on Twitter: “I hope the Postmaster General comes prepared. I know I will.”
In recent weeks, Democrats have accused DeJoy of gutting the agency and working in tandem with President Donald Trump to sabotage the election, which is likely to see more Americans than ever returning their ballots through the Postal Service.
In both testimony before the US Senate on Friday and on Monday in the House, DeJoy has maintained that he has not arbitrarily cut overtime or removed needed sorting machines from post offices, He said he is committed to ensuring the integrity of the election and making sure all ballots are delivered on time.
But his answers have been unsatisfactory to many Democrats, who grilled DeJoy on Monday about new operations changes that have taken place during his short tenure.
Some lawmakers have raised concerns about new cost-cutting measures, including limiting overtime and late trips for mail carriers. Despite DeJoy’s assurances, recent mail delays have raised alarms that some ballots may come in too late to be counted.