Kaptur Introduces Resolution Calling for Halt to USPS-Oshkosh Contract in Light of Failure to Meet Electric Vehicle Standards
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and co-Chair of the House Auto Caucus, released the following statement after she introduced a House Resolution calling on the Biden Administration to halt the USPS-Oshkosh contract until an investigation can be conducted to ensure 1) there was no inappropriate political influence in the process of awarding the contract and 2) that the proposed contract is consistent with the President’s Executive Order to electrify the federal fleet. Original cosponsors of the resolution include Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Jared Huffman (D-CA).
The resolution is being introduced after the scandal-ridden Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced during testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that only 10% of the new USPS fleet will be electric, despite the winning Oshkosh vehicle offering an EV option. News reports have also revealed suspicious stock trades ahead of the USPS-Oshkosh contract announcement, including a $54 million purchase of Oshkosh Corporation stock just hours before DeJoy announced the contract award.
“There are many questions surrounding the USPS-Oshkosh contract to construct 165,000 postal vehicles over the next decade, representing roughly a third of the entire federal government’s fleet,” said Rep. Kaptur. “While the new vehicles are said to be capable of incorporating an electric drivetrain, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, whose tenure has been a disaster for the Postal Service, recently told Congress that only 10% of the new fleet will be electric. Ten percent makes no sense and flies in the face of President Biden’s recent order to electrify the federal fleet.”
“DeJoy’s problem-riddled tenure calls into question the awarding of a contract critical to the future success of the Postal Service, at a time when he has already struggled mightily to lead,” Rep. Kaptur continued. “It does not make sense why USPS would go through all the trouble of reimagining their fleet, yet put its collective head in the sand when it comes to internal combustion vs. future propulsion platforms. Given that a reasonable person would not arrive at the decision to electrify only 10% of the new fleet, DeJoy’s proven track record of injecting politics into the functions of USPS, and the suspicious stock trades leading up to the contract announcement, we are calling on the Administration to put the USPS contract on hold until an investigation can take place.”
“This contract is a multi-billion dollar opportunity to reimagine the federal fleet and develop this critical domestic supply chain. We can’t fumble it,” Rep. Kaptur concluded.
“It is far past time to bring the United States Postal Service into the 21st century,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “There is no question that electric is the future of the automotive industry. President Biden knows this, and that is why he signed an Executive Order to electrify our federal fleet. Currently, over 141,000 of the aging postal trucks average only ten miles per gallon. These trucks are at the end of their operational lifespan and we need to buy new ones – so why wouldn’t we go electric? This deal must be halted until we can guarantee that there was no inappropriate political or financial influence and that the contract is consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order to electrify our fleet.”
“The recent United States Postal Service contract with Oshkosh completely misses the mark – it doesn’t meet national climate goals, it’s inconsistent with federal guidelines, and there is real concern of inappropriate political influence on the decision making process,” said Rep. Huffman. “Under no circumstances should we allow the USPS to lock itself into this woefully inadequate contract without further investigation. We are calling on the agency to halt all further action until we can get to the bottom of this and make sure any agreement can adequately meet the need for a more stable and sustainable fleet of vehicles.”
Given USPS vehicles represent roughly a third of the federal fleet, electrifying the next generation of USPS vehicles at a rate of only 10% would be inconsistent with President Biden’s effort to electrify the entire federal fleet and would undermine the Administration’s mission to combat climate change. The legislation is one of a number of actions being taken by Members of Congress regarding the new USPS fleet, including the Postal Vehicle Modernization Act, led by Rep. Huffman and cosponsored by Rep. Kaptur, which would give USPS $6 billion to replace more of its decades-old Grumman Long Life Vehicles (LLV) with electric or zero-emission delivery trucks. Rep. Ryan sent a letter to the SEC requesting an investigation into the suspicious trades of Oshkosh stock leading up to the contract announcement. The bill also follows a letter penned by Rep. Kaptur, Rep. Ryan, and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) calling on President Biden to halt the contract.
Full bill text can be found here.