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House Oversight Committee Chairwoman On DeJoy's Testimony

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Will each and every American's vote be counted this November? That was a central question today as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appeared for a second day of testimony about recent mail delays. Several times, arguments erupted like this exchange with California Democrat Ro Khanna over the removal of mail sorting machines.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOUIS DEJOY: You haven't given us any money.

RO KHANNA: What I'm not understanding is what is the harm?

DEJOY: You haven't given us any legislation.

KHANNA: But what is the harm?

DEJOY: And you're sitting here accusing me...

KHANNA: I haven't accused you of anything.

DEJOY: ...Of things with regard to...

KELLY: As DeJoy grew visibly more frustrated, he shot back at Democrats.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DEJOY: I am not engaged in sabotaging the election.

KELLY: Well, let's go now to the top Democrat, the chair of the House Oversight Committee where today's testimony unfolded, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York.

Welcome.

CAROLYN MALONEY: Thank you for having me.

KELLY: Having had the chance now to question the postmaster general at length, do you emerge with a better understanding of what is going on at the postal service, why we have seen these mail delays?

MALONEY: Well, I would say that this is definitely not the end of this hearing or this issue as we'll continue looking into it. What happened today is DeJoy acknowledged that mail delays are far worse than expected. And he continued to take any responsibility for those delays, even though he's in charge. And so - and even if these delays were unintentional, then Mr. DeJoy is certainly the most incompetent postmaster general certainly in history. And at the hearing, we were able to prove documentation that he received documenting delays up to 10% that he did not reveal to the Senate when questioned and that he withheld, really, from this committee until the information was given to us from other people.

KELLY: He also said he has suspended some of these measures he's put in place. He thinks that things are already getting better. Have you seen evidence of that?

MALONEY: Well, he suspended them after I introduced my legislation and the speaker announced that we would be voting on it and that we had the votes to pass it and that we would move it to the Senate for passage, too, which is what we did on Saturday with the help of 26 Republicans, making it a bipartisan effort. We did - I did make it very clear that if he was not forthcoming with other information that we have sent to him and requested numerous times, even with documents sent signed by the speaker, that we would expect the information by this coming Wednesday for him to produce a range of other documents he's been withholding from Congress and warning that he could expect a subpoena if he continues to withhold this information.

KELLY: What do you make of the comment we just replayed there? He says I am not engaged in sabotaging the election. This is the view of the president and his Republican allies, as you know, that this is sensible, overdue cost cutting measures. Did you hear anything that persuades you today that that might be true?

MALONEY: Absolutely nothing. And what we've heard from across the country in headlines, from papers and from individuals that are writing in with information, that these so-called, quote, "improvements" from the new postmaster general who's been on the job for roughly 70 days and in that time in the first two-month report on his work, delays were documented. Any other CEO would be fired by now if they went into a job and immediately brought changes that brought down the productivity of their company.

KELLY: Forgive me. We just have a few seconds left, and I do want to put this to you because I heard you say in your opening statement today that Americans don't want to see the post office politicized. Listening to you now, I have to ask, do you fear that's exactly what happened in your committee today?

MALONEY: I absolutely do. It should be nonpartisan. I am working on legislation that would make the postmaster general a nonpartisan appointment. It was stunning the amount of political involvement. He is a mega donor to the president of the United States holding huge positions in the Republican Party, as well as various members of the board of governors. So it's become totally politicized. And it's wrong.

KELLY: Democratic Congresswoman - I'm so sorry. We're going to leave it there. That's Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight Committee.

Thank you.

MALONEY: Thank you for having me.

KELLY: And elsewhere on the show, we heard from the top Republican on that committee, James Comer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.