The new chief of the embattled U.S. Postal Service admits his sweeping operational changes have brought "unintended consequences" to the mail system.
In an internal memo to staff, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who was installed in June, defended the overhaul amid a storm of complaints and increased scrutiny, CNBC reported.
"Let me be clear about the reasons behind our restructuring and the need for our plan: Our financial condition is dire," DeJoy said in the memo, which was sent to USPS staff Thursday, CNBC reported.
"Our critics are quick to point to our finances, yet they offer no solution."
"Unfortunately, this transformative initiative has had unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels," the memo stated.
"However, recent changes are not the only contributing factors," he added. "Over the years we have grown undisciplined in our mail and package processing schedules, causing an increase in delayed mail between processing facilities and delivery units."
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for a reversal of the new policies. Democrats, in particular, fear the changes could impact the presidential race, where a record number of voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, The New York Times has reported.
Federal funding for the Post Office has become a central sticking point in the White House's negotiations with Democrats over an additional coronavirus relief package, CNBC noted. Democrats propose another round of stimulus should include $25 billion for the Postal Service, as well as $3.6 billion in election funding.
President Donald Trump has said he opposes those items, suggesting he could end efforts to expand mail-in voting by denying those funds.
"The president made plain that he will manipulate the operations of the Post Office to deny eligible voters the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election," said a stinging statement from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"The president's own words confirm: He needs to cheat to win."
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