Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will carry on with a planned Saturday vote on a bill to give the United States Postal Service a $25bn infusion to help with mail-in ballots, calling the Donald Trump-allied postmaster general’s move to suspend efforts Democrats saw as trying to tilt the presidential election an “insufficient first step.”
The postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, said he will suspend changes he was making within the United States Postal Service (USPS) until after November’s election to avoid accusations he and Trump administration officials are interfering with the presidential race by trying to pare Democratic votes and help the president win a second term.
His announcement came just one day after Mr DeJoy agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee on 24 August to address the administration’s latest scandal.
“Postmaster general DeJoy’s announcement of what may be a temporary pause in operational changes delaying the mail is a necessary but insufficient first step in ending the president’s election sabotage campaign. This pause only halts a limited number of the Postmaster’s changes, does not reverse damage already done, and alone is not enough to ensure voters will not be disenfranchised by the president this fall,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement.
“The House will be moving ahead with our vote this Saturday on Chairwoman [Carolyn] Maloney’s Delivering for America Act, which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on 1 January 2020, and provides $25bn in critical funding to support the Postal Service: the same level of funding recommended by the USPS Board of Governors, which is 100 per cent composed of Trump appointees,” the California Democrat added. “We also will be demanding answers from the Postmaster General in his testimony next week.”
Prior to taking over the post office, Mr DeJoy was a major donor to Trump’s campaign coffers.
Mr Trump has denied pushing the USPS chief to make changes in order to help his re-election odds. He said Tuesday, during an event at the White House, blaming Democrats for the hubbub.
“The Democrats want to make it a political issue. It’s not a political issue; it’s really about a correct vote,” Mr Trump said.
“You have to get voting, voting right. You can’t have millions and millions of ballots sent all over the place, sent to people that are dead, sent to dogs, cats – sent to everyone,” said the president, who trails nationally and in key swing states. “I mean, this is a serious situation. This isn’t games. And you have to get it right. I just want to get it right. Win, lose, or draw. I think we’re going to win.
“Win, lose, or draw,” he repeated, “we have to get it right.”
Mr DeJoy’s appearance on the House side of the Capitol, however, will not be the first time he has addresses lawmakers on the drama.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, announced his panel will hear from the postmaster general on Friday.
That session will provide Mr DeJoy with a friendlier audience. The panel’s Democrats will ask questions, but House Democrats will control the gavel next week – and are typically more free-wheeling in their comments and questions than their more stately and restrained Senate colleagues.
Mr Trump was asked on Tuesday if he thinks the House Democratic-crafted bill is sound legislation. He took no position on the actual bill.
“Well, they’re going to do something in Congress, but everything they do is political. As an example, why don’t they do it now, instead of on Monday? They picked a day, actually, they picked another day on Monday, as you know. Well, that’s when the Republican Convention starts,” he said of Mr DeJoy’s Monday House testimony. “Why don’t they do it during [this week’s] Democratic Convention? Because everything they do, Nancy and [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer], they play games.”
But they are accusing him of playing not political, but unconstitutional games with the USPS, which is required to function by the US Constitution. When those allegations began to fly last week, Mr Trump changed his tune from vowing to block any fifth coronavirus recovery bill that included the $25bn for the post office, saying on Friday he would likely sign such a measure if Democrats caved to his demands on new funds to help school re-open and other items.
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