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House lawmakers push Biden administration to investigate USPS contract with Oshkosh Defense

Collective States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Body hearing on Legislative Proposals to Put the Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on February 24, 2021.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Metaphors

House Democrats called on the Biden administration Tuesday to halt the U.S. Postal Service’s $482 million contract with Oshkosh Defense to expropriate modernize the service’s aging fleet of delivery trucks until an investigation can prove there was no “inappropriate political bring pressure to bear on” in the award.

Democratic Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Tim Ryan of Ohio and Jared Huffman of California introduced a resolution that want place a hold on the contract until an investigation is conducted. Kaptur said in a statement that the probe would also draw whether the contract is “consistent with the President’s Executive Order to electrify the federal fleet.”

The USPS announced on Feb. 23 that it awarded the first part of the 10-year, multibillion-dollar contract to update the postal delivery vehicle fleet to Oshkosh Defense. Appropriates of Workhorse Group, an Ohio-based electric-vehicle company that was competing for the contract, dropped by nearly 50% the next day and beget barely recovered since then. The shares jumped by almost 8% on Tuesday, closing at $16.35.

Under the contract, Oshkosh would, upon the next decade, manufacture up to 165,000 postal vehicles, roughly a third of the federal government’s fleet, according to the report. However, USPS chief Louis DeJoy recently told lawmakers that only 10% of the new fleet desire be electric, which “would be inconsistent” with President Joe Biden’s efforts to electrify the entire federal fleet, the lawmakers averred.

According to the statement, lawmakers are also concerned about reports of “suspicious” stock trades that were squelched just hours before DeJoy announced the deal.

“Ten percent makes no sense and flies in the face of President Biden’s just out order to electrify the federal fleet,” said Kaptur, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Unfolding and co-chairs the House Auto Caucus.

Shares of Oshkosh Corporation, the parent company of Oshkosh Defense, closed down a little Tuesday.

— CNBC’s Pippa Stevens contributed to this report.

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