The House was poised to vote in a rare Saturday session on legislation that would reverse recent changes in U.S. Postal Service operations and send $25 billion in emergency funds to the agency ahead of the November election.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi recalled lawmakers to Washington over objections from Republicans who dismissed the action as a stunt.
Trump tweeted as voting was about to begin that the Postal Service needs no more money. “This is all another HOAX,” he said.
Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes. This is all another HOAX by the Democrats to give 25 Billion unneeded dollars for political purposes, without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2020
“Don’t pay any attention to what the president is saying, because it is all designed to suppress the vote,” Pelosi said at the Capitol.
The daylong session came as an uproar over mail delays and potential fraud puts the Postal Service in the spotlight in the lead-up to the election.
Millions of people are expected to use mail-in ballots to vote in November.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified Friday in the Senate that his “No. 1 priority” is to ensure election mail arrives on time. DeJoy is set to return Monday to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
“The American people don’t want anyone messing with the post office,” said Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the chair of the Oversight Committee and author of the bill. “They just want their mail.”
But Republicans argued that no emergency funding is needed right now.
“It’s a silly, silly bill,” Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said.
Despite the postmaster general’s vow that election mail will arrive on time, Democrats remain skeptical. DeJoy acknowledged at the Senate hearing there has been a “dip” in service, but disputed reports of widespread problems.
The Board of Governors of the Postal Service announced a bipartisan committee to oversee mail voting.
The bill would prohibit any changes made to the Postal Service after January and provide funds to the agency.
Democrats are expected to easily pass the legislation.
But Republicans are mostly opposed, and the bill is certain to stall in the GOP-held Senate. The White House said the president would veto it.
In a memo to House Republicans, leaders derided the legislation as a postal “conspiracy theory” act. Many GOP lawmakers echoed such sentiments during a lively floor debate.
“I like the post office, I really do,” Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin said. But he said, “We have no crisis here.”
However, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is eyeing a $10 billion postal rescue as part of the next coronavirus relief package.
While Trump has said he wants to block emergency funding for the agency, the White House has said it would be open to more postal funding as part of a broader bill.
Hundreds of lawmakers returned to Washington for the weekend session, but dozens will cast votes by proxy.
Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was on Capitol Hill on Saturday meeting with GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy and other lawmakers, according to a Republican aide.
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