I noticed that myself this morning. You don’t suppose Nancy Pelosi would stoop to playing games with the timing of an allegedly “urgent” hearing for partisan gain, do you?
I’m surprised Trump’s not trying to block Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from testifying on executive-privilege grounds. Maybe he realized it would look even shadier than usual for him to silence a deputy from whom Congress is seeking information in light of the out-and-out paranoia about the USPS that’s spreading right now. There’s nothing DeJoy will tell House Democrats that’s more damning than the perception of a conspiracy of silence would be if Trump ordered him not to show.
So he’ll be there.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to House Democrats’ request for him to testify next week about his controversial Postal Service changes that have raised hackles around the nation, according to two people familiar with the matter.
On Sunday, Democrats moved up a request for DeJoy to testify to Monday, Aug. 24, calling it an “urgent” matter. The Oversight and Reform Committee hearing is likely to be tense, with Democrats loudly objecting to changes that have slowed mail delivery in numerous parts of the country amid President Donald Trump’s calls to restrict the use of mail-in ballots for the November election.
The hearing will be exactly what we expect, with Democrats grandstanding for hours about voter suppression while DeJoy and Mike Duncan, chairman of the Postal Service’s Board of Governors, insist that they simply must proceed with a cost-cutting reorganization of the agency right now, 12 weeks out from a national election and in the midst of a pandemic. Having amassed the campaign-ad material they’re looking for, Dems will then switch to phase two of this gambit — putting McConnell and Senate Republicans on the spot:
The House is also expected to vote as early as this Saturday on a proposal to block DeJoy’s plans to overhaul the Postal Service. The emergency vote would occur weeks earlier than Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders had originally planned to return to Washington during the August recess.
In theory that’s an easy call for the Senate GOP. Defang the Democratic attempt to blame Trump and Republicans for mail-delivery delays by forcing DeJoy to postpone his reorganization of the agency until early next year, or at least after the election. If nothing else, getting this issue off the table will help vulnerable incumbents like Susan Collins and Cory Gardner in their Senate races. It’s not such an easy call in practice, though, once you remember that a number of Senate GOPers are looking to reclaim their identities as fiscal conservatives, in the belief that soon they’ll be leading the charge against President Joe’s big-spending agenda. They’re just stupid enough to take DeJoy’s side in this, partly for mindless partisan reasons (it’s always unpleasant for a Republican to side with Pelosi) and partly because fiscal-conservative principle supposedly requires defending a cost-cutting initiative at a bloated agency even when it’s undertaken at a really inopportune moment.
That’s what Trump seems to want them to do, anyway, which is probably all the excuse they need:
By “save the post office,” Trump means (I think) that we should let DeJoy proceed with reorganizing the agency right now no matter how many inconveniences that might create for Americans in terms of voting and receiving necessary packages during the pandemic. But not everyone uses that term the same way:
Just highlighting his incompetence even further, President Trump just tagged my Post Office advocacy account in his nonsense tirade against the Post Office.
Please call your reps and demand a vote on the HEROES Act, USPS Fairness Act, and an investigation into PMG DeJoy. pic.twitter.com/VJYmNnS9ry
— Save the Post Office (@USPostOffice911) August 17, 2020
I can’t imagine that Trump would veto a bill suspending DeJoy’s reorganization of the USPS if it managed to pass both chambers of Congress. It’d be insane, all but begging voters to blame him for any postal delays they encounter going forward. And I think there’s a chance that that bill really might pass both chambers; there probably are 13 Republicans willing to vote with Schumer to turn down the intense heat on this. More likely, McConnell will have a word with Trump and DeJoy about getting DeJoy to “voluntarily” reinstate overtime for postal workers and reverse other delay-generating moves for now, so that Congress doesn’t need to act. But one way or another, he’s going to have to back off and get the mail moving again. This is too useful a cudgel to Democrats to maintain the status quo.
Exit quotation from Noam Blum, who’s exactly right:
This post office thing is people preparing an excuse for their election loss. Either Trump by claiming mail fraud or the democrats by claiming post office shenanigans.
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) August 17, 2020