(CNN)Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will testify before the Republican-led Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Friday, the committee announced Tuesday.
It will be the US Postal Service chief’s first opportunity to publicly answer questions amid accusations that the Trump administration is purposefully handicapping the USPS in an effort to hinder mail-in voting during the pandemic. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee announced earlier this week that DeJoy and USPS Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan would testify before their committee on Monday. The Washington Post first reported DeJoy’s Friday testimony.Lawmakers from both parties and postal union leaders have sounded alarms over procedural changes instituted by DeJoy this summer, including eliminating overtime and slowing some mail delivery. Read MoreDeJoy acknowledged to USPS employees this week that the cost cutting measures have had “unintended consequences,” but defended them as necessary.Democrats have claimed that DeJoy, who has been an ally of President Donald Trump and Republican donor, is intentionally undermining Postal Service operations to sabotage mail-in voting in the November election — a charge DeJoy denies.Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland committee, said in a statement Tuesday that he was “pleased to have secured an oversight hearing … in order to address urgent questions on Postal Service delays.”Peters, who’s up for reelection in Michigan this fall, announced earlier this month he was launching an investigation into the backlog at the USPS, and because Democrats are in the minority, pushed Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, for a hearing with DeJoy. In a statement to CNN, Johnson said DeJoy should have a chance to explain the Postal Service’s fiscal challenges ahead of appearing before a “hostile House committee determined to conduct a show trial.””I look forward to Postmaster General DeJoy testifying at our virtual hearing this Friday. The Postal Service has had significant financial problems for years, and it is important for everyone to fully understand its current fiscal challenges,” Johnson said.The financial struggles of the USPS are not new, but the coronavirus pandemic has further strained the mail service. The House is set to return on Saturday to vote on legislation that would provide $25 billion in funding for the financially strapped agency.The Postal Service’s internal watchdog is also reviewing DeJoy’s recently imposed policy changes, and his compliance with federal ethics rules. CNN first reported that DeJoy still owns at least a $30 million equity stake in his former company — a USPS contractor — and that he recently bought stock options for Amazon, a USPS competitor. These holdings likely create a major conflict of interest, ethics experts told CNN, though DeJoy and USPS maintain that he has complied with all federal requirements.This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.