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Previous story Postmaster General DeJoy gives himself an 'A' grade despite widespread criticism Next story

STORY BY LIZ STARK

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Published on March 12, 2021 10:17 PM

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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.
(CNN)Embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said he would give himself an "A" for his stewardship of the US Postal Service, despite what he has acknowledged were "unacceptable" mail and package delays during the peak holiday season.

Faced with growing criticism of his handling of USPS operations, DeJoy was grilled during a congressional hearing Thursday about what grade he should receive for his efforts. At first, DeJoy resisted grading himself, saying "I don't give grades, I just work," later adding "I'm not going to give myself a grade."

After being pressed by Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, DeJoy finally said: "I would give myself an 'A' for bringing strategy and the planning and effort to here."

"And as I did in my last testimony in Congress as the leader of the organization, I take responsibility for how we have delivered during this season. And I apologize to the American public," DeJoy said before a House Appropriations subcommittee, the latest in a string of apologies dating back to last year. This comes as scores of Democratic lawmakers have sent letters to DeJoy and President Joe Biden in recent weeks, raising concerns about the postmaster general's leadership and urging the President to take action amid complaints over delivery delays. Biden recently announced three nominees to fill most of the vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors, fulfilling a promise that the administration would make the board and the agency a priority in the early days of his presidency. DeJoy, meanwhile, has also repeatedly found himself in the hot seat on Capitol Hill during hearings about USPS operations, where he has sparred with Democratic lawmakers over slow delivery rates, the 2020 election and a forthcoming 10-year plan to overhaul the Postal Service. In another contentious exchange Thursday, Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence questioned DeJoy about Postal Service operations and urged him to provide details to Congress about upcoming USPS changes. "I am going to use all the power I have to require you to stop doing press releases on massive changes and to at least give the United States Congress the courtesy of knowing your plan," said Lawrence, who had a 30-year career in the Postal Service. DeJoy responded first by noting how Lawrence is "well-known and respected within the Postal Service for your career and your position today." "But honestly, the Postal Service of today and the condition we are in is not the Postal Service of 2008 when you retired," he continued. "We are in dire, dire financial crisis." Lawrence replied, "I am not naïve," and said she's been monitoring USPS operations while in Congress. "So please don't imply that I'm ignorant." Following this back-and-forth, later in the hearing, Lawrence stressed that there needs to be a partnership between USPS and Congress.