In a combative exchange with Rep. Stephen Lynch, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Monday refused to return decommissioned mail-sorting machines to facilities.
Mr. DeJoy attempted to push back on claims made by the Massachusetts Democrat, during his emotional speech.
“Will you put the high-speech machines back?” Mr. Lynch asked, after cutting off the postmaster general.
“No, I will not,” Mr. DeJoy curtly responded.
“You will not?
“You will not? Well, there you go.”
The fight over mail sorting machines continued later in the hearing with Rep. Ro Khanna, California Democrat, who asked “what’s the harm” in restoring the machines to bolster voter confidence in the integrity of the election.
Mr. DeJoy didn’t want to entertain the question, arguing Congress would not be able to give the USPS a billion dollars, let alone the $10 billion Mr. Khanna was referencing
“Get me the billion and I’ll put the machines in,” he said.
Democrats passed a bill on Saturday that would give the agency $25 billion, which was the same number in their $3 trillion coronavirus package passed back in May. During negotiations for a larger covid-relief bill earlier this month, the White House offered a lower $10 billion.
While the Democrats on the panel were generally more aggressive than their Senate counterparts were on Friday, Mr. Lynch was arguably one of most scathing rebukes.
He outlines how the U.S. Postal Service operated throughout other national crises, including the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic and the Great Depression.
“I am tempted to ask, after 240 years of patriotic service of delivering mail how can one person screw up things in just a few weeks,” Mr. Lynch said.
Mr. DeJoy said Mr. Lynch was trying to mislead the country.
“Every accusation you made … is inaccurate and more misinformation for the American public,” he said.
Mr. DeJoy also told senators on Friday that he would not put the high-volume mail sorting machines back, arguing they weren’t necessary with the uptick in package mail.
Recent media reports have shown the Postal Service intended to put 671 high-volume sorting machines out of service.
The Postal Service said those removals were part of a routine policy of moving around sorting resources every year.