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tv   CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  August 21, 2020 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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we have a lot of people who are sick and afraid of going out and voting this year because they don't want to stand in line and come down with a virus that could take their life. this is a serious matter and i just want urge you to work with us, work with us as we attack the needs to build a postal service that we can all be proud of. thank you very much. >> senator langford. >> senator, thank you. mr. dejoy, thank you for your service. from what i've heard so far today apparently the post office never had any issues, there was never any delays or never any financial problems, never any challenge to mail-in votings until 65 days ago when you arrived and then apparently all chaos has broken out in the post office in the last two months but before that there seemed to be no complaints about the post office ever so i do want to thank you for your service. i want to thank the men and women around the country that do a remarkable job every day.
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those folks in the unions, those folks that are taking care of us and the getting things out, getting medicine,ic it aing care of first class mail and all of those things so i appreciate your service. i appreciate the fact that you have stepped up to be able to help lead an organization that desperately needs some help, that congress has for two decades pounded on postmasters on why they are not doing reforms and why we haven't found more efficiencies. you stepped into this role and have taken looks like the work from the inspector general and the work from the regulatory commission and have said let's start implementing some of these things, and now congress seems to be shifting from beating up on postmasters for not doing work to now beating up on you for actually doing the work, so i do want to say thanks for stepping up and taking the risk to actually take this on. do i want to run through several questions. some of them have not been addressed yet. there was a series of stories that came out and trending on social media that you were
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locking up the post boxes in burbank to prevent people from voting. were you locking up the boxes in burbank to keep people from voting? >> senator, the stories that i have heard of my ability and the places that i'm able to get to in the same day are just remarkable so, no, i'm not locking up any -- i would have nothing to do with collection boxes. >> so you mentioned earlier that it's been 35,000 of the blue boxes that have been retired over the past ten years, so apparently any blue boxes that have been retired over the past ten years are your responsibility over the last 65 days. you had mentioned before about some of the blue boxes being retired. are they still going to be retired between now and the election, or will they be retired in the future? >> my commitment to the committee and the leadership and the american people is we
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stopped. the day i put the statement out we directed everybody to stop -- stop reducing postal hours, stop, you know, bringing back collection boxes, stop shutting down machines and that was basically what we did, so from now until -- >> will that pick back up after the election because one of the issues you brought up before was about the sorting machines, some of these sorting machines are older. some of the sorting machines are not needed anymore. will that just stop forever? what i'm trying to figure out is are we still going to work on trying to build efficiencies in the post office? this has been an issue for quite a time to try to get us back into balance. >> thank you for opportunity. right now the law, the legislation is that we deliver to 161 million addresses six days a week. i'm committed to that. i believe that's the strength of the postal service and that we
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be self-sustaining. those are the two pieces of legislation that i'm working towards. we are not self-sustained. we have a $10 billion shortfall and we'll continue -- over the next ten years we'll have a $245 billion shortfall, so we need to -- we need to and our management team and our board need -- there is a path that we are planning, okay, you know, with the help of some legislation, with some cost impacts, with some new revenue strategies that will help -- and some pricing freedom from the prc, we believe we have a plan to do that, but one thing that's not in the plan is not doing anything after the election. the it's an ambitious plan because we have $10 billion to bridge. the plan has to the been finalize. we have hundreds of initiatives,
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like take the alaska bypass plan discussion, that's an item on the table. that's an unfunded mandate. it costs us like $500 million a year and -- what i asked for is all the unfunded mandates. that's a way for us to get healthy. pay something for the unfunded mandates. if we just throw 25 billion at us this year and we don't do anything we'll be back in two years and then maybe we should change the legislation and not make us be self-sustaining but as a leadership team on the board is to be self-sustaining and deliver at a high level of precision and i'm committed to both. i'm committed to both. i think both can be done with a little help from the congress and from the postal regulatory service. >> well, congress has been unwilling to be able to act on this for a very long time, for over a decade congress has discussed any kind of reforms in the post office, but it always seems to boil down to will that
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change distribution areas that may or may not be needed in a state that i live in, or will it change any other post office structure that i'm familiar with, and if it changes my area, then i want to be able to block it so it has been a great challenge. i've also heard from multiple folks saying the post office has now so severely cut that they can't meet the capacity to actually get ballots out to folks in rural areas and urban areas, will they be able to get the ballots out? i've seen your letter, the same as the letner 2016 that the post office sent out saying be advised, states, you need to send things out early. that's helpful. thanks for doing that. you shouldn't be criticized for that. you should be encouraged to be able to do that, but my question is folks have challenged me and said there's not going to be enough capacity for elections. will you have enough capacity again for christmas and for mother's day because my understanding is christmas and mother's day are the biggest capacity time for first class mail. do you capacity now for christmas and the mother's day? >> thank you.
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yes, we have capacity for christmas and mother's day. >> i actually went back and look, last week, the week of december the 16th the post office delivered 2.5 billion pieces of first class mail just that one week of december the 16th of last year. that's a pretty remarkable net to get 2.5 billion pieces of first class mail delivered in one single week so you know right now you have enough capacity to be able to handle the elections without slowing it down. >> yes, sir. it's more than that, besides just the capacity, the intent, the extra activities that the whole organization is going through between our postal union leaders, our board, the executive management team here, we are focused on besides just having the capacity to execute and to react to whatever conditionsitivitied at that particular point in time up to
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and including the pandemic which likely we'll still be still having some impacts. i think the american people can feel comfortable that the postal service will deliver on this election. >> thank you. >> thanks senator lankford. senator hasan. >> well, thank you, mr. chair. thank you ranking member peters for having this hearing, and thank you, mr. dejoy, for your willingness to appear before my committee today, and my time is short and because i've been told you're not staying for a second round of questions i would appreciate brief responses. >> mr. dough joy, i september you letters last week detailing stories about granite staters about delays in their mail and i will indicate a huge spike of calls to my office for such delays. for many of our service members, veterans, people who experience disabilities and rural americans, their local post office is their life looirngs and i'll note that the change in
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volume you are seeing doesn't change the need for timely delivery of the essential necessary items that the american public relies on post office for. for example, one manchester couple fills prescriptions through their v.a. benefits and they wrote, quote, there's been a noticeable slowdown in mail deliveries and that's caused me to ration my medication. i started cutting back on my dosage to half bills or skipping alternate days to make them last. some of my pills are crucial, my cardiac and diabetic meds need to be son a strict protocol. will you ensure that any further changes that you make to postal operations do not delay access to medications and other necessities, yes or no? >> yes, yes, senator, and i look forward to working with you on legislation to help this type of service not reach into the future. >> thank you. now, i want to move to elections again. the i am glad for some of the
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statements and actions you have taken. we all know how important voting my mail is usually and this year even more so. some states are starting to mail out general election ballots on september 4th, just two weeks from today. you and the postal service general counsel have written letters that we've talked about this morning about your plans to deal with election mail. you wrote last week that the postal service will, quote, utilize additional resources and maximize our efforts during the ten days prior to the election to ensure the processing and delivery of all election mail within our system. do the letters that you and the general counsel have sent to congress so far contain your full plan for ensharing the processing and delivery of all election mail, or do you have a more detailed operational plan for the additional resources and efforts that you alluded to? >> the letter that's been sent to the states from general
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counsel speaks about, you know, mail classifications. >> right. mr. de. i'm just wondering do you have a detailed plan about how you're going to ensure the kind of delivery that americans count on for their investigate by mail? do you have a more detailed plan that's what's in your letter, yes or no? >> there are details processes that we're going through and they are going to be expanded plans to that. we just announced the expanded -- expanded committee, election committee within the operation. our board has established one, but there are detailed plans that we go through in every election and with regard to -- >> again, could you share those with congress? could you share them by sunday night so we can see what they are, please. >> i don't think i will have the complete plan by sunday night. we're just putting these committees together, but i can share -- we can -- today is
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friday. i have to check and we'll get back to you. >> all right. i would appreciate them by sunday night if possible and by the end of next week as i noted september 4th, some of the ballots are going to start going out. last year the postal service inspector general intervurd managers and postal facilities across the country about handling elections. the inspector general found that facilities typically process political mail as first class mail delivering more than 959% of election mail with one to three days for the 2018 mid-terms. yes or no, will you commit to the goal of delivering at least 95% of election mail within one to three days this year, the same as the powell river-sunshine coastal service did in 2018? >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. now i want to move on to the issue of the decommissioning of the sorting machine. at the manchester processing facility in my state four have been taken out of service, three are just sitting there and one has been dismantled and sold to
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a company in pennsylvania for scrap metal. the manchester facility only has one other machine that can do the work of the machine that has been sold for scrap. if that marine fails like it did yesterday when i was talking to postal workers in my state sorting stops and mail is delayed until the machine can be fix. although you've suspended, machines in manchester have yet to be brought back and replace and you said today there aren't any plans to do that and in fact i understand the director of maintenance operations sent an email directing local managers not to reconnect machines. yes or no, is that true? >> i have no idea about that, ma'am. that is -- that -- those -- maintenance operations are still -- maintenance operations within the districts, this whole
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process was new to me last week. i'm sure there's logic behind what it is. i can find out about that and i'd be happy to get that. >> so you've already said though today that it's not necessary, but, look, when we have only one machine that can do a serb kind of sorting in our largest distribution center in the state of new hampshire and it breaks and everything has to stop until it gets fixed again, that's efficient and delays delivery and what i would like to do is get a plan that would make sure that you will commit to making sure that postal workers can deliver every piece of mail that comes into the distribution center every day it gets there which has been the practice in the past. by refusing to start or replace these machines, you're really sabotaging the postal service's ability to sort mail efficiently and you're undermining postal worker commitments to that everyday delivery so will you commit to having your team look into this and get back to me in
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writing begun what the plan is to get at least some of these machines back up and running? >> yes. >> at first, senator, i don't agree with the premise but i will comply with your request. >> thank you, and it would be helpful to get a response by the end of the week, and finally, i will just -- because i see that i am running out of time, i will ask a question for the record because there are growing concerns that postal workers are being retaliated against when they speak to their members of congress or to the press about some of the shortages that they are seeing or some of the delays that they are seeing and some of the sabotaging and undermining of the timely delivery that they are seeing and i want to make sure that postal workers who are speaking to protect the interests of the american public that they serve of with such diligence are not retaliated against for doing so. can i have your commitment that they will not be retaliated against for doing so?
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>> yes, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> senator scott. sure. the. >> thank you, chairman johnson, for holding this hearing today and thank you postmaster dejoy for being here. before we've had vote by mail for a long time, and it's worked really well, and i think the post office in florida has done a great job in making sure that it's worked. i've had three elections and everyone -- they have worked hard to make it happen. the mr. dejoy, can you just talk about why you're uniquely qualified -- they have worked hard to make it happen. mr. dejoy, can you just talk about what you're uniquely qualified and what background you bring to being postmaster general and why you were picked by the -- by the board of the postal service?
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>> thank you, senator. there's two things, you can look at the two big actions that i have taken the. the board will have to speak for their evaluation of me, but i do have -- i have done i think one of the things they like is my experience with large program, large logistical transformations. i've done a great -- back in the '90s i've done over a $3 billion transformation of the postal network regarding mail transport equipment. i've done big projects for boeing and big projects for disney and big projects -- transformational projects for verizon so that particular, you know, type of experience i think impressed them, and i -- my commitment to public service, i think, you know, imposed them. the my engagement in community and in the nation, and when you
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look at the steps that -- i didn't come in here with a team. i didn't bring in consultants. i work with the existing management team to create an organization that would look to move forward and help give us self-help and drivive improvements in our service, drive costs out of the system and -- and grow revenues, and that is something that i've done all my life. i've built a big business from nothing, and people -- you know, there's some accusations that this is not a business, but when you have to deliver service and you have to be sustainable, the operating model needs to cover its costs. there is no other answer to that than that, and we need to take actions to do that, and i'm -- i have great experience at that, and part of i think why they like me is i have a plan. i have a plan for the success of the postal service. i believe the six day a week
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delivery is an important aspect, a strength in us. now, our pieces for delivery are down under three from six or seven. our goal is to get that back up. we cover -- if you looked on a chart at where our -- at what our reach is on a daily basis, it is impressive, and we -- we need to drive our costs out of -- this is well known. . if we need to drive our costs out of the network and get more efficient within our network and get more pieces into our carriers' hands and that's the success along with what, you know, legislative help. that will be the future success for postal service as we face a new economy. >> so mr. dejoy, in your business life, did you have to perform for your customer? did you have to be on time, and were you able to do that?
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>> sir, our contract is at 99.8% metrics performance on everything that we did, yes, and i think there's -- i think the at tubd and the energy is here at the postal and the desire is here at postal service, you know, to do that. we haven't had the alignment and the expectation of that, and that's something that i bring to the table. >> so are you -- are you personally committed to doing everything that you can to make sure that the mail is delivered on time and people get whether it's their med sen or ballot, that they get it as quickly as they can under realistic expectations? >> yes, sir. >> how does it make you feel when you have people that make these unsubstantiated claims that you personally have a goal to slow down the mail so ballots
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don't get -- don't get to election offices on time, that you want to suppress the vote, that, you know, you personally are interested in damaging the ability of the post office to do their job? >> sir, that does not deter me at all, and you would be -- i am unbelievably proud and humbled by the number of positive comments i get from employees and the management team and the people from around -- you know, from around america on my initiatives. it is -- it is really a farce to believe that we can sit here and do nothing. >> yeah. >> do you feel like you need a massive federal bailout to be able to deliver the mail on election night? >> no, i don't need anything to deliver mail on election night, but we do need legislative
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reform. we do need the freedom from the change in the prc regulation, and we do need to be -- we do need to be reimbursed for our costs. when you look at curing the covid -- during the pandemic, we still delivered to 99% of the american homes and -- with no revenue, no revenue. the american postal worker was out there. the this organization continued to perform and why we've had such high ratings. our revenues were down. other organizations would have stopped going into these rural areas and so forth. we continued to do what we're supposed to do and at a sick cost impact, you know, and i'm one to try to get to a sustainable model, but in this case we -- i believe we deserve some compensation for it.
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>> one thing i think a lot of us would like to be able to do, if we're going to provide more funding to the post office, that we -- that i would like to work with you and others to find out what are the things that we ought to do to make the changes necessary to make sure that you can do your job in the future so i appreciate any information that you could provide that would allow us to do that, and i just want to thank you for your commitment. i want to thank all the people that work at the post office, they work hard. i appreciate your background, your commitment to excellence, and i hope that you can do the same thing over time at the pafls. thank you, chairman johnson. >> thanks senator scott. senator rosen. >> thank you, chairman johnson, for holding this meeting here today, and thank you, mr. dejoy, for making yourself available. by i ask some further questions i want to ask the postmaster general, i would like to ask you this. we need transparency and the changes you have been making and
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in everything that you've discussed here today, will you commit to providing this committee with any and all transcripts or minutes of all closed, non-public board of governor meetings from this year by this sunday? can you commit to that, sir. >> no. >> you will not commit to provide minutes -- >> i don't have the authority to do some of those things and that is something that i would need to discuss with counsel and the board counsel so i can't commit to that. >> well, we'll be discussing that with you, but let's move on. we have limited time. before i go with the rest of my questions i do want to thank the dedicated postal workers across this nation, particularly here in my state of nevada. i spoke with many of them yesterday. majority of them veterans, veterans and their family. they have done years of dedicateder is visit to this country and to this nation and
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they are very concerned. to mr. dejoy, earlier this year you've acknowledge you've made operational changes to the postal service. you removed mail sort being machines. you've had reduction, elimination of overtime and late trips. in las vegas we're expecting mail volume to ramp up soon, our postal workers, the ones i spoke with yesterday, are reporting the removal of sorting machine from our general mail facility which is actually right down the street from my house. as a former programmer and systems ann lift i have a real strong appreciation for the data and i want to talk about the data that you use to create these policies and what you may or may not have analyzed before you've made these changes. during the pandemic, health officials, they have directed older americans to stay at home for their own safety. that mopes for our seniors and nevada across country postal service is the only way they are going to receive their critical items, life-saving prescriptions, social security checks and for veterans my close
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have already mentioned this, it's a lifeline. 80% of veteran prescriptions are filled by the united states postal service. i have 225,000 veterans in nevada, many of them relying on this for their timely delivery of life-saving medication, and in small towns across nevada to some of my larmer rural communities and others is all they get is the postal service. yes or no. before developing and implementing policy chamber of commerce since assuming your role this year, did you conduct any specific analysis on how your changes would impact seniors, yes or no, sir? >> ma'am, the policy changes that i -- yes or no, sir. >> the policy changes that i
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embarked upon were not the ones that you identified in your -- >> you didn't do any analysis to see how seniors would be impacted. okay, let's move on. did you do an analysis to see how veterans might be impacted knowing, knowing that so many of our -- actually our postal workers are veterans. we employ so many veterans, that they are getting their medication and that they rely on 80%. did you do a specific analysis to see how veterans would be impacted. >> the only change that i made, ma'am, was that the trucks leave on team. theoretically everyone should have gotten their mail faster. >> can you look me in the eye and all the nevada veterans in the eye and nevada sewniors in the eye tell us that you will not continue in the policies in the future that you know will harm my seniors, my veterans here in nevada and all of our seniors and veterans across this nation, can you look us in the eye and commit to being sure that they have on-time delivery?
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>> i'm working towards on-time delivery, ma'am. yes, i can commit to that. >> thank you. and did you do any analysis about the fees if mail is late, the late fees that people would get when they paid their rent or their car payment or their utility bill if the mail is slowed down and the impact that the charges and those feeses would have on working families, is there any analysis about the impact of late delivery by you on that, sir? yes or no, please? >> the analysis that we did was that if we moved the mail on schedule that all late deliveries would have been improved. >> obviously that isn't the case so we need to continue there. >> for a variety of reasons. >> for a variety of reasons. >> you know, our deployed service members routinely cast their ballots by mail. did you specifically analyze how your policy changes would impact our service men and women across
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this country and across the globe, how your changes would impact them, sir? >> senator, the poll -- the analysis we did would show that we would improve service to every constituent. >> that's great. can you provide me by this sunday, if i understand you correctly, you have analysis that will show that this should have improved it although we are finding out through thousands and thousands of contacts to our office, to our connections, that it has not been the case, so this is frankly unacceptable, and i would like to see the analysis that this was based on to our offices by this sunday. can you commit to that, sir? >> no, ma'am. >> can you commit to providing it to us at all, sir? >> i will get back to you on that. >> you can not commit to providing the american people the analysis that you used to base your decisions on -- about their very important medications, their social security checks and all -- all
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the other things, you won't commit to the american people to be transparent? >> senator, i will go back and get the truck schedule, the analysis that designed the truck schedule that i -- >> can you commit to transparency, sir. >> we're very transparent. >> if you're transparent, then ergo, that means you will provide us the data that you used to base these important decisions that impact people's lives. i want you to look in the camera. there are millions of people watching who are impacted every day by what you do, and please understand that, so i want you to commit to it the american people to transparency and -- and provide us with the data that has been used to create these decisions. >> ma'am, i do not accept the premise, and i will provide you with the transportation schedule that i directed the organization to adhere to, yes, i will do that. >> well, we appreciate that.
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i look forward to seeing that and i look forward to having future discussions with you. thank you, my time is up. >> is senator paul available? >> yes, do you have me? >> senator paul, we hear you. >> all right. >> thank you, mr. dejoy, for your testimony and thank you for taking what sounds like an often thankless job full of partisan rancor and thanks for bringing your business acumen to in my opinion that is an impossible problem short of legislationive reform and even with legislative reform i see it as an impossibility how we would about the an yushlgs you knonual loss 9 billion a year is an enormous loss and i've been of the opinion basically that we shouldn't give you more money unless it's attached to reform. that's the only leverage that we have. when the post office becomes desperate for money, we should attach things that they don't necessarily want to do, less
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employees. we started that a few years ago. we've got to do more of it. the mail keeps dropping. you've got to have less employees. that's what your legacy costs are, too, but we've got to go to less employees over time. we also need to look at the'siest way to continue to personalize service to each person individually at their house. frankly, people who live 20 miles down a shell road that will only get it twice a week versus six times a week i think we'd live with it. i grew up in a town of 16,000 people, still live in a small up to. i really think people could live with that but people should be told of the problem,y that well onto run massive deficits not just in the post office and in the government and we shouldn't pass money out like it's candy. we should send it attached to specific reforms. can you discuss some of the legal impediments you have. if you came in as a venture
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capitalist and a venture capitalist group took over the post office and named you ceo, what would you do that you're unable to do because it's a government entity now? what are the governmental or legal restraints that prevent you from actually fixing the $8 billion to $9 by theion annual loss that the post office has? >> thank you, senator, for the opportunity to address that. i'm a lit bit more optimistic than you in terms of our ability to meet, you know, at least get to a close point of break even. number one, the legislative reform that i would ask is what i said in my written testimony and opening remarks on integration of medicaid and our repension reform. i would like to be kind of liberated on pricing. it's a very, very competitive market out there right now. i would like more pricing
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freedom and that would help us. i would like some of our unfunded mandates addressed with, and within the organization i would be able without as much fanfare to do a simple thing like say adhere to our schedules, right, and if we adhere to our schedules, that will improve performance. many in transition, there should be -- there would be an issue, but, you know, and we're seeing that recover right now, and once we get mill and packages moving with trucks at 92% on time and are driving costs out of the system by doing that, that's what i would do in my own business, and in my own business i would create new business revenue generating ideas which we have here that will drive billions of dollars of contributions to the costs to serve of the american people so we have -- we are in the
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beginning of having a plan. i'm an optimist about trying to pull this off. the. >> i won't ask you about the impact of going from six days to five days because that's the job of congress but at the very least you have to do it. that could be a one-sentence bill in a saves $11.5 billion over there and puts us on a better footing. i think you can go further and instead of assessing people more of a postal charge if they live 20 miles down a dirt road, simply have less frequent delivery and i think that that alone would be tolerable and still have personal service but it would be less frequent and i think you can make up for a large amount of your shortfall if you went below five days for very rural areas. for some of your gettives, use them and how they are sort of using the post office, the
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subsidiesed half model of delivery. do we charge them enough when they get a package shipped to an area and then ship the pack and the last mile? is that competitivity bid, or should we do something to fix that? >> senator, if i may, when i first came here, when i first got the assignment that was an obvious thing to me, you know, cut back five days, four days, whatever, and as i've worked through the process and researched and studied the organization, i think the six-day delivery, connection that the postal letter carrier has with the american people that gives us this highly trusted brand and where the economy is going in the future, i think that that is probably our biggest strength to capitalize on. you talk about -- about $1.5 billion to take a day away. i'm sitting here on a transportation schedule change that could get out $2 billion or
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$3 billion and improve service and connection to the american people. >> i guess i'll believe that when i see it. i don't doubt you but i do do the the post office history. >> we -- we are studying -- my general view. i've been here 60 day disease and i've looked at that. there are -- we made broad-based deals across the country that deal with average rates. there are areas that we could push them up, and we're scudying that. it is -- i don't believe that on the surface it's not the -- it's reasonable business gaps that may exist is how i describe it. >> all right.
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well, thanks for trying to fix sort of perhaps an unfixable problem and hang in there and just the partisan barbs, hopefully they will be portrayed for what they are partisan barbs that aren't trying to fix anything and doing electoral politics by attacking you so i apologize to you for my colleagues across the aisle and wish you the best. >> thank you, senator paul. senator romney, are you there? >> yes, i am. can you hear my, mr. chairman. >> loud and clear, go ahead. >> good, thank you. i want to begin by expressing my appreciation to the thousands upon thousands of letter carriers, and i also want to note as well that the postal workers have made our vote-by-mail system in utah a reliable and a very successful system i think for the entire nation. mr. dejoy, assuming as i do that you've been truthful in your testimony today i can imagine how frustrating it is to be accused of political motives in your management responsibility.
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at the same time, of course, you can certainly understand that there's pretty good reasons for people to think that you or your colleagues are purposely acting to suppress voting or that you're going to purposefully prevent ballots from being counted, and any surprise at such concerns has to be tempered by the fact that the president has made repeated claims that mail-in voting will be fraudulent and that he doesn't want to give more money to the post office because without more money you can't have universal mail-in voting, but saying -- putting that aside let me note that a great deal has been mastd fact that you contributed to president trump's campaign. i would note that you also generously contributed to my campaign. some would say you contributed to both sides. let me turn and note -- let me note that like others today i
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state the obvious when i say the reliable valid voting is essential to democracy here and, of course, to the places around the world and particularly with covid still raging, the mail is essential to -- to our voting system and, therefore, to democracy. can you -- do you have a high degree of confidence that virtually all the ballots that will be mailed let's say seven days before an election would actually be able to be received and counted? i mean, if people vote within seven days of election are they highly confident, are you highly confident that those ballots would then be received? >> extremely highly confident. we will scour every plant each night leading up to election day. very, very confident. >> i very much appreciate that. that's a commitment.
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i'm sure that many will underscore the fact that if they get their ballots in at least seven days before the election or probably even closer than that, and the person running the post office is saying he's highly confident that those ballots will be received by the various clerks in a timely way, that is -- that's key to us. and on a separate topic you mentioned that there are delays in the system and that's to be expect pedestrian. are there greater delays and, for instance, our delays are greater in rural areas than they are in the rest of the country? >> senator, there's -- i think urban areas with the continuation of the coronavirus -- an employee availability average has dropped
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about -- about 4%, but when you can go into somebody's hot spots, philadelphia, detroit, they are as much as 20%, 25% and we have routes and we have -- like philadelphia has 750 routes and we have days where we're short 200 carriers and this can go on for a while and that's not the only contribution and when the american people see two, three, days that they haven't seen their carrier, that's the -- that's an issue, and i would say -- i think there's at least 20 of those around into a descending level of consequence around the country. >> i will say like my other colleagues who have expressed this point, i would very much
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look forward to seeing it, and i'm not talking about by sunday, but i mean at some point seeing a plan developed by someone of your expertise and logistics for how we can get the post office to be more economically advantaged by at the same time maintain a level of service which is essential for a functioning economy and that's a real challenge and as someone who has done what you've done throughout your career i think you're up to the task and like senator paul i'm anxious on the part of congress that in order for us to demand certain levels may require us to make legislative changes so please feel welcome in our committee or in the house for -- for letting us know what we need to do to make sure that you can do the job that we've asked you to do. thank you, mr. dejoy. i appreciate your service.
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>> thank you, sir. >> thanks, senator romney. senator nze. the . >> we appreciate you, chairman johnson, for holding this hearing, and i especially appreciate the postmaster general coming to this hearing knowing what kind of target he will be. esgot to be really difficult only to be in office 60 days and being expected to solve all of the problems of the postal service. it's been in a crisis for many years. senator collins used to head this committee when it wasn't called homeland security. it was government affairs and she's worked on the post office all of the time and has a pretty good bill that she's worked on with senator feinstein that i hope people will take a look at. i'm not sure that anything can be done in a bipartisan way, particularly if one of the
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participants, susan collins, is up for election because that might help her in her campaign, but she's been dedicated to this. this isn't a new idea that she had, something that she's been working on, and it has a lot of good ideas in it. i feel and really appreciate postal workers. in wyoming particularly they are doing an outstanding job in spite of all of the difficulties of the pandemic. my father-in-law was a postal worker, and he was -- he was before the mail-sorting machines and he was pleased that he was able to memorize all the zip codes in the sheridan area and handled the sorting. of course, now, local mail isn't post marked locally. these are problems -- i didn't realize that you personally deliver everything, that you personally fix the sorting machines. that was all news to me, and
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detailed analysis, how much detailed analysis can you do in 60 days, particularly as i suspect that maybe people aren't wanting to share information with you. i hope that those postal workers out there that are dedicated will actually do something to help out on it and, of course, you've been accused of picking on veterans and picking on seniors, and i have to admit that i have felt picked on not by you but by the postal service recently, and i was the glad to hear your explanation that you're having some difficulty with people to deliver the mail in light of the pandemic. i don't think a lot of people understand that. i didn't understand that, but i know that we had a package that we were expecting that was being traced and we paid extra to have it traced, and we know it sat in the d.c. post office for 11 days before it was delivered to us. there have been days that our mail wasn't picked up so i'm
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glad to know that the reason behind it and to find out that it wasn't you. i thought you caused all of that. mail sorting machines. in wyoming, i don't think we sort any mail in wyoming anymore. all those -- all of that got moved to other centers and i thought it was being done pretty efficiently in wyoming, and i also learned was that when you move a sorting center under the union requirements, if the people don't want to move they don't have to move and they still get paid, that's not going to save any money. i've asked for the analysis on some of these thanks that have drastically affected wyoming and which, of course, were not done under you. it was done under previous administrations, and i know that they want to save money, but they have got to do some analysis that will save money. you used to be able to put money in a collection -- put an
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envelope in a collection box for local delivery and they got it the next day and now you put it in my community for local delivery it goes to denver first, gets sorted and comes back to gillette, sometimes post-marked in denver. that's not good management, and -- and and add an accountant i'm aware that postmarks make a difference so i have some concerns. i know you've had only 6 off days to work on them and your plate was already full, but i'm trying to fill it a little bit more. and, again, i appreciate that you're willing to take on this -- i guess you would have to call it an adventure, not a job, because it would be too tough as a job, but i know you made some sacrifices to get to this and i hope that you will
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take a look at the urban areas. we've been picked on in the you'll areas for a long time but we have some really efficient people out here that are dealing with long distances and doing it very well, but when i go to my post office in d.c. i find that there's only one person working at the counter and if the person that comes up to the counter needs a box to mail it in, the boxes are not out where people can actually get them, so the person behind the counter has to leave and go get a box, and when they bring the box back it still has to be sealed and addressed and they don't move them over to the side to see in they can wait on the next customer. everybody waits at social distancing. i've been to the post office before during my lunch hour, and i've found that the postal workers decided that was their lunch hour as well.
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the no business let's their employees sit down and eat in front of customers during their lunch hour. well, enough of my i guess trying to defend you here. >> senator, if i may. you know, and thank you for that -- the support, but if i may, the day i take the seat as with any organization, the day you become the ceo you're responsible for everything that goes on around you, and i have big enough shoulders to -- to deal with that, but more important about what you said in the beginning about legislation, you know, not moving. we, the organization needs to it, and this board, we will move forward. we have, to because without legislation, without any assistance we will run out of
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money, and nine months, we -- we talk about a 633,000-person organization and nine months worth of cash and everybody thinks we're okay. that's outrageous thinking, and -- and so we need to -- and that's kind of the difference. as i said in my opening remarks to the board of governors, we will do what we need to do to stay, you know, to meet our operating objectives and get to self-sustaining, you know, manner, so thank you. >> i appreciate your willingness to be here and i hope that you will take a look at the collins/feinstein bill and give us some analysis on that, and i recognize that you have to rely on postmasters across the united states of doing their job to minimum wage their own business so thank you for taking this job. >> thank i. >> thank you, senator enzi. senator hawley. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
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thank you, mr. dejoy, for being here. let me see if i can ask a few questions to get started that will help maybe clear out some of this misinformation that we have heard repeated over and over and over again in the media and some of it echoed today. just to be clear, will usps have enough cash on hand to support operating expenses through the november election? >> yes, sir. >> has the postal service seen an increase actually of total operating revenues in the most recently reported quarter relative to last year? >> yes, sir. small. but yes. >> has the postal service seen its overall cash on hand position increase since the start of the pandemic in march to a level of approximately 15 billion, is that right? >> somewhere between 14 billion and 15 billion, yes. >> so if i understood your testimony correctly and what i've heard you said and what
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i've read from your written testimony, your testimony to us is that the postal service has the wherewithal, it has the resources, it has what it needs in order to deliver the mail safely and on time through the november election just to be clear about that, is that right? >> yes, yes, senator. two separate things. they will deliver on the election and cash to operate the business in the future are two separate things, but, yes, we have plenty of cash to operate since the election. >> the second point since you prout it up, what's the additional amount that you need as you look to the future past november and into the months and years to come? >> i think we have -- so, a, the biggest thing we need is legislative reform and the prc to decide, but i estimated about $10 billion. we estimate about $10 billion costs on the covid expense side and what i would like to see is
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the note that we have negotiated with treasury be used to get long-term financing to buy new vehicles. >> can i just ask you about that since you bring up the note from the treasury. the cares act authorized 10 billion in borrowing authority. i understand that you reached usps and the treasury department came to an agreement late last month in principle over what that would be, what that would look like. can you give us a sense of when this $10 billion that was authorized, when this is likely to be made available to you, what you see is utility -- just give us an update on where that stands. >> so we have -- in terms of the agreement and all we would need to do is when we request is get final document on it, but the terms have been agreed. i mean, the issue here with borrowing money you is need to know how you're going to pay it back, and, you know, at this particular point, you know,
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we -- we're evaluating that, but it is available to us pretty quickly. >> and what do anticipate using it for in the near term assuming that you do? >> there's pretty specific limitations. i cannot use it for capital, but i can use it to cover operating costs that are closely associated with covid and we can identify that pretty easily. >> now you said just a second ago when we first -- when you first introduced the topic, you said that you would like additional authority to perhaps use the loan towards vehicles or collateral for vehicles. can you say more about that. >> so we have, is a you probably know, we have many 30-year-old vehicles and we're in desperate need of new vehicles. the loan is in the for capital. i would like to seat term extended and used as a capital type of equipment loan to buy vehicles and other types of
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modernization efforts that we have. longer term than five years. >> very good. that is part of the legislativive -- additional legislative reforms for authorization that you see. am i understanding you correctly? >> yes, sir. >> go ahead. >> they have already been passed in a committee a couple of years ago what we're looking for. >> right, understood. let's come back to some of the eforms you recently implemented to. what degree were any of the changes you implemented over the summer were in response to the oid's recent findings? >> i considered the oig's recent findings, as we were doing our own -- our own analytics, i thought they were for somebody new coming in. i thought they were a remarkable gift in terms of just laying out
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the two things with that. the system was out of balance. the transportation system, 40,000 trucks a day were running -- once you get below, you know, below 90%, you can't depend on anything, right? and so that was -- and it was a cost thing and so when i looked at where the organization was headed financially and what were the things that we could balance it around, getting the transportation network aligned, which we will do and saving, you know, $1billion to $1.5 billion to $2 billion which we can reach for was a christmas present delayed. >> very good. let me just ask you here. i see my time has almost expired but let me ask you in conclusion. as you probably know my home
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state of missouri we have a very significant percentage of our population in rural areas. that's the part of the state where i'm from, where i grew up. it is absolutely vital to me that any postal service reform going forward continue to preserve the network of rural delivery service, that it preserves the existing delivery and post office box services that are available throughout rural missouri. can i just ask you, are you committed to protecting you'll delivery and rural post offices in for people like the folks that represent missouri and around the country? >> sir, we have an unbelievable asset in our letter care years each day and i commit to trying to strengthen that relationship across the country. >> very good. thank you very much. thank you, mr. dejoy and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator hawley.
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before i go to senator simema, based on one of your questions and response from senator hawley, you talked about the transportation system just being out of sync. in your written testimony, i want to make sure we're talking about the same thing here, you said your on-time trips went from 35,000 per day to 39,000 per day which means, you know, scheduled time of 89% improved to 97%, so is that what you're talking about, your trucks actually leaving on time to get on their routes, and has that been part of the disruption as well? if the letters aren't getting to the trucks on time they may be left behind for the next day's delivery. can you explain. >> inside the plant there's a production schedule for mail that would meet -- that's set up to meet a dispatch schedule for trucks that gets tied to a destination center for let's just say, keep it simple, right
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to the delivery units where carriers go out in the morning and carriers then can come back at night. this whole thing is an aligned schedule in theory, on paper, and we -- there's lots of imbalances that -- that we've finding as we went through this process. what the big thing to try to get everything aligned around is that transportation schedule, and now we have taken that up, and all that mail that was going -- that was on that track was also late mail, right? now we have advanced the mail. some of the mail that is coming off of the processing lines we -- we did a -- we found these imbalances and did not as great a job as we should have at recovering for it and we will and we're seeing improvements right now. once that comes together, mail will be moving around the country at 97% on, you know, on time, and i'm very, very excited and committed to trying to do that. and that -- that, again,


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