Biden’s USPS nominees face confirmation hearing as Democrats consider paths to oust DeJoy

Biden’s USPS nominees face confirmation hearing as Democrats consider paths to oust DeJoy

Biden’s USPS nominees face confirmation hearing as Democrats consider paths to oust DeJoy

President Biden’s three nominees to the U.S. Postal Service’s governing board faced their first big test Thursday on Capitol Hill, where a Senate panel pressed them to maintain service levels and rein in parts of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan for the agency.

If the two Democrats and one independent win approval from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, their nominations will advance to the full chamber for a confirmation vote, which could come in a matter of weeks.

Their ascent would give Democrats a 5-4 majority bloc and control of the board for the first time since 2016. But that coalition may not be in sync when it comes to DeJoy — unseating him is a priority for many congressional Democrats — or the postal chief’s cost-cutting agenda: Board Chairman Ron A. Bloom proclaimed his support for DeJoy as recently as Wednesday, while the board’s other Democrat, Donald L. Moak, has stayed mum.

Under questioning from Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), the committee’s top Republican, all three nominees said they had not been subject to any “outside pressure” to fire DeJoy, and had not made any commitments about planning his dismissal.

Meanwhile, 50 House Democrats have called on Biden to fire the entire board and start over with a new slate of governors. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is the lone member of the upper chamber to echo that call. But the postal union that advocated for Bloom’s and Moak’s nominations during the Trump administration is urging lawmakers to drop that effort to ensure that two governors viewed as critical to the union’s goals remain on the panel.

As a result, there is growing concern among some Democrats that a reconfigured board may not be enough to change the direction of the mail service, according to House and Senate aides who spoke anonymously to discuss ongoing negotiations and party strategy, which has cast doubt on legislative efforts to enact broader postal reform.

The board candidates are steeped in postal experience and have expertise in voting rights and organized labor. Ron Stroman, a Democrat, is the recently retired deputy postmaster general and led the Biden transition’s Postal Service review team. Democrat Anton Hajjar is the former general counsel to the American Postal Workers Union. If confirmed, he’d be the only governor with experience as a postal worker; he served as a substitute letter carrier as a part-time job in high school. Amber McReynolds, a political independent, is the chief executive of the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute and a former elections director in Denver.

Each took veiled shots at DeJoy’s “Delivering for America” plan that he unveiled last month with the board’s support. That proposal aims to erase a projected $160 billion in losses in the next decade by raising prices, slashing administrative costs and steadily... 

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