February 04, 2021

Maryland Delegation Members Press DeJoy on USPS Delays

Members Point to Specific Outreach from Constituents on Delays, Urge DeJoy to Use Federal Support Provided by COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and U.S. Representatives Steny Hoyer, C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) sent a letter to United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about the severe mail delivery delays Marylanders are experiencing. The members refer to specific examples from correspondence they’ve received from constituents and urge DeJoy to take advantage of federal support and to make operational changes immediately to improve service.

“We write to express our concern and alarm about the dramatic increase in problems with mail delivery that are being experienced by constituents across Maryland. Based on the reports and information we have received, these delays appear to be the result of delayed processing times and staff shortages,” the members begin. 

“Recently, our offices have received a significant increase in complaints from constituents who have gone weeks without receiving mail, similar to the surge of complaints we received last summer in the wake of USPS cuts and policy changes. These delays have had significant harmful impacts on the lives of our constituents. Because of these delays, our constituents have received bills after the dates on which payments were due or their payments were never received and they have been forced to pay late fees,” they continue.

The members go on to include accounts from constituents who have experienced harmful mail delays, including fees incurred from the late arrival of bill payments, issues with the delivery of vital prescription medications, and small businesses that are unable to fill orders on time.

The members urge USPS to take steps to address these problems, writing, “We strongly oppose further downsizing measures that would only harm the Postal Service and Americans who rely on it. Additionally, we urge you to return to the 2012 service standards, which would reinstate overnight delivery or shorten delivery time by a day.”

“When COVID-19 began spreading, Congress provided the Postal Service with a $10 billion loan, which Congress has since converted into a grant. We urge you to use this funding to improve service and decrease mail delays,” they conclude.

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

Dear Mr. DeJoy:

We write to express our concern and alarm about the dramatic increase in problems with mail delivery that are being experienced by constituents across Maryland. Based on the reports and information we have received, these delays appear to be the result of delayed processing times and staff shortages.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an essential service – enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – upon which Americans rely for their daily needs.  As we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are relying on the Postal Service more than ever.  

Recently, our offices have received a significant increase in complaints from constituents who have gone weeks without receiving mail, similar to the surge of complaints we received last summer in the wake of USPS cuts and policy changes. These delays have had significant harmful impacts on the lives of our constituents. Because of these delays, our constituents have received bills after the dates on which payments were due or their payments were never received and they have been forced to pay late fees. One constituent stated on January 20, 2021 as follows:

I mailed my bills the beginning of this month and today I heard from four entities that they did not receive my payments. This is causing me [to incur] late fees and damage to my credit score. A friend of mine has had the same problem. I mailed a letter on 12-7-20 to someone in Maryland. He just got it last week.”

Many of our constituents have not received urgently-needed packages such as prescription medications. The Department of Veterans Affairs saw a 25% delay in delivery of prescriptions mailed by the U.S. Postal Service in 2020. One constituent stated: 

For the past several months the level of service provided by the US Postal Service is totally unacceptable. It took three weeks to deliver mail order prescriptions.” 

We have heard from business owners who have been unable to fulfill orders because of these delays. One constituent detailed how these delays have hurt their business:

To say this pandemic has taken a [toll] on the business is an understatement.  I make 80% of my money seasonally, Christmas, [Valentine’s] Day and Easter… We currently have 49 orders that are in limbo with the United States Postal System.  I check the tracking numbers multiple times a day but they are not even updating and some have been sitting since December 1st…  This postal situation, along with the loss of Easter this [year], may just be the end to this Maryland business. 

Not only do these mail delays hurt our constituents, they harm the Postal Service and cause it to lose business. We strongly oppose further downsizing measures that would only harm the Postal Service and Americans who rely on it. Additionally, we urge you to return to the 2012 service standards, which would reinstate overnight delivery or shorten delivery time by a day.

When COVID-19 began spreading, Congress provided the Postal Service with a $10 billion loan, which Congress has since converted into a grant. We urge you to use this funding to improve service and decrease mail delays. Please detail how the USPS plans to use this funding by February 28th.

Sincerely,