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White House says it’s responding to pressure to act fast on USPS problems

The White House is working to quickly fill the vacant seats on the Postal Service Board of Governors.

“President Biden has made clear his feelings on the current leadership of the Postal Service and the challenges it faces, and his team is working as quickly as possible to fill board vacancies so the USPS can effectively fulfill its vital mission for the country, and live up to the commitments made to its workers, ” Biden spokesperson Michael Gwin told CNN.

As the administration works to assure lawmakers with promises of action, another Democratic lawmaker is putting pressure on President Joe Biden to remove embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. In a letter sent Friday, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley slammed DeJoy for his “failed leadership,” accusing him of sabotaging the agency through changes that slowed down mail delivery.

“DeJoy continues to compromise the people’s ability to receive everything from paychecks to life-saving medication, with new delay tactics and higher postage rates,” Pressley wrote, calling for a complete overhaul of leadership at the agency. “The current Board of Governors has been complicit in the systematic deterioration of the USPS, a blatant dereliction of duty that requires swift removal and replacement.”

Pressley is just the latest lawmaker to publicly call for dramatic action at the United States Postal Service, an agency that was politicized under the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, scores of Democratic lawmakers sent two separate letters to DeJoy and Biden, filled with grievances about the Postmaster General and urging the President to take action amid months of complaints over mail delivery delays.

“It is your duty, first and foremost, to protect service and ensure timely mail delivery for every person in this nation,” 34 Democratic senators wrote in a letter to DeJoy Wednesday, acknowledging that USPS “fulfilled its duties during the 2020 general election and executed extraordinary measures to prioritize timely delivery of election mail” but that concerns remain about delivery delays.

That letter was sent after a group of 80 House Democrats sent a separate letter to Biden on Tuesday in which they urged him to fill vacancies on the board of governors so new members can “seriously consider” DeJoy’s future.

DeJoy has told those close to him he wants to stay in his role under the new president, two sources tell CNN, and the President does not have the power to remove the postmaster general. Only the Postal Service Board of Governors — which is comprised of members nominated by the President and confirmed in the Senate — has the power to do so, and DeJoy continues to have the support of the Trump-appointed board. But with vacancies and term limits, Biden has the power to nominate members of the board and to send them to the Senate — now led by Democrats — for confirmation.

Behind closed doors, the administration has sought to assure lawmakers that filling these seats will be a priority for the President, but has not promised anything beyond that. Many lawmakers say that does not go far enough.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for the Postal Service said the agency “will welcome all qualified members to the board — a decision reserved for the President and the Senate, who are tasked with nominating and confirming board members.”

This story has been updated with comment from the USPS.

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