U.S. Rep. Lawrence, 30-Year USPS Veteran, Stresses the Need for Postal Reform Legislation During House Oversight Hearing
Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), a 30-year veteran of the United States Postal Service (USPS), expressed the urgent need to pass Postal Reform legislation—particularly the inclusion of service standard accountability—in her statement during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing. She further condemned USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for considering changes that would lower the agency's service standards. The hearing examined “Legislative Proposals to Put the Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing.”
Text of Rep. Lawrence’s opening statement:
“I want to begin by thanking our Chairwoman Maloney and Chairs Connolly and Lynch for your partnership as we have worked to craft this Postal Reform legislation.
“For years, the financial situation facing the Postal Service has grown more and more dire—due in part of factors outside of their own control. I am thrilled that this committee is prioritizing Postal Reform as one of its major initiatives during the 117th Congress.
“Our reform provisions would provide the Postal Service with desperately needed financial assistance, I want to focus on another important aspect of this package—which are service standards and accountability.
“During my 30-year career with the Postal Service, I and other Postal workers took great pride in our efforts to meet our service standards and performance targets. It’s what drove our work ethic. The agency’s unofficial motto best sums up the workforce’s commitment to achieving those goals: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
“For a large period of the last year, the Postal Service was in the news for the wrong reason—consistently delayed mail delivery. While the more than 600,000 employees of the Postal Service have heroically continued to uphold their mission to deliver mail in the midst of a global pandemic, questionable operational changes implemented by Postmaster General DeJoy have hindered their work and caused the Postal Service to miss that mark.
“Congress must include language to emphasize the need for service performance targets. While we’ve only heard reports at this time, we are critically concerned about any proposal to alter the Postal Service’s first-class mail system—anything that will reduce the agency’s ability to meet its service standards.
“After months of persistently low delivery times, and those concerning reports, mandating targets for service performance is absolutely necessary to hold the agency accountable.
“Last year, 91% of Americans had a favorable opinion of the Postal Service even though we were struggling with the pandemic in our service. That number is based on the agency’s more than two centuries of robust service standards—something that the American people have come to expect. If we do not make every effort to affirm that commitment, to the service standards and accountability, it will chip away at the foundation of what makes the agency so great.
“While this legislation provides the agency with the financial reforms it needs, we cannot allow flawed operational changes to be a drop in our commitment to its timely service to compromise their mission. We must pair those reforms with strong language to repair and to require robust service standards.
“At this time Madame Chair, during a pandemic, it’s not the time to weaken our service standards. Thank you so much, and I yield back.”