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MIAMI (AP) — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she was denied access to two U.S. Postal Service facilities in South Florida on Friday morning following evidence of delivery delays and other problems.
Wasserman Schultz, whose district includes parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, said in a statement that her staff had notified the Postal Service on Thursday that she was planning to visit two Miami-area processing centers Friday morning. She said when she arrived at each location, she was prevented from observing a typical morning shift and told she would have to follow visitation protocols to tour the sites.
"Denying Congress access to the facilities is denying the vital public oversight of our mail system," Wasserman Schultz said.
Wasserman Schultz said she wanted to tour the centers after receiving photos of pallets of undelivered mail sitting in the facilities this week, with dates indicating delivery that was intended for July. Postal employees also told her that sorting machines continue to remain idle.
Postal Service spokeswoman Kimberly Frum said they didn't receive notification from Wasserman Schultz about the tours until Thursday afternoon.
“We spoke with her staff to explain that we were unable to set up the tour on such short notice, but would be happy to accommodate her at another time,” Frum said in an email. “We look forward to working with the Congresswoman and her staff to arrange a visit in the near future.”
Wasserman Schultz, who serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said she conducted a similar inspection of a postal facility earlier this year without lengthy advance notification requirements.
That was before Louis DeJoy became postmaster general. DeJoy, a major donor to Republicans and President Donald Trump, took over the agency in June after a career in logistics and set in motion a set of policy changes that have delayed mail and sparked concern over the agency’s ability to process mail-in ballots this fall.
He has appeared before Congress twice in recent weeks to testify about the removal of the agency’s blue collection boxes and mail sorting machines, as well as changes to trucking operations and overtime hours that postal workers say are resulting in delays. Amid a public outcry, DeJoy said he halted some of the changes until after the November election.
“I’m a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. My job is to oversee the Postal Service," Wasserman Schultz said. “Postmaster DeJoy has already obstructed the committee by failing to provide requested documents in a timely way. Now he’s denying Congress access to public facilities.”