A man walks by a United States Postal Service (USPS) mailbox in downtown Washington D.C., U.S. August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos…
A man walks by a United States Postal Service mailbox in downtown Washington, Aug. 19, 2020.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told a U.S. Senate committee Friday he has no policy changes regarding election mail for the 2020 election, and he promised all mailed-in ballots would be handled “securely and on time” for the November election.

DeJoy appeared virtually before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It was the first time the U.S. Postal Service leader answered lawmakers’ questions about mail slowdowns attributed to his cost-cutting policies that have spurred worries about the delivery of vote-by-mail ballots for the November election.

But while he gave his assurances, DeJoy could not provide a detailed plan as to how he would ensure the ballots would be delivered on time, saying only the postal service was “very committed.” 

WATCH: DeJoy on election mail

After he took office in June, DeJoy swiftly implemented cost-cutting efforts, including cutting overtime hours, removing mail sorting machines and mailboxes, and eliminating extra mail delivery trips to ensure on-time mail delivery. A USPS inspector general report issued the day DeJoy took office cited high overtime costs as room for cost savings.

FILE - Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 6, 2020.

Republicans on the committee, including committee Chairman Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, defended DeJoy’s actions, saying the efforts to make the post office more cost-effective and efficient are long overdue. They accused Democrats of playing politics.

FILE - Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 25, 2020.

Democrats on the committee, including ranking member Michigan Senator Gary Peters, however, said the concerns about post office slowdowns he is hearing from his constituents “are not manufactured.”

Democrats also are expressing concern about DeJoy’s motives as he was a supporter and donor to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign. The president has insisted several times and without evidence that voting by mail would be subject to fraud.

DeJoy told the panel he believed in voting by mail and he, himself, had voted by mail. He also said the procedures to remove sorting machines that had been determined to be under-utilized and removing mailboxes were part of policies and procedures in place before he got there. Earlier this week he suspended any further such actions until after the election.

But he also told the panel he had no plans to replace any of the machines or mailboxes that had been removed.

DeJoy is scheduled to appear Monday before the U.S. House Oversight Committee in another virtual hearing, and the House is scheduled to vote Saturday on legislation to provide $25 billion to address funding shortfalls at the U.S. Postal Service.