Trump holds up stimulus package over mail-in voting, state’s aid

President Trump says he doesn't want to give USPS money for mail-in voting, one of the issues holding up a second stimulus

U.S. President Donald Trump attends the announcement of the introduction of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. (Photo by Zach Gibson - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he would block funding for the U.S. Postal Service and reasoned that it would make mail-in voting null in November.

The president spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network on Thursday and reiterated he was against the proposed funding by Democrats to secure financial support for mail-in voting. Democrats have requested $3.5 billion for universal mail-in voting. They also want an additional $25 billion to benefit the postal service.

President Donald Trump speaks at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” he said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.”

The postal debate is one of the issues that is holding up a second stimulus package, along with a Democratic demand for more aid for states impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More: Democrats investigate the head of USPS after sudden changes

Trump’s comments were seen as doubling down from those he made at a briefing about the pandemic on Wednesday. He stated his refusal to approve the funding as part of the “Phase IV” coronavirus spending relief bill and cited the high costs.

“They don’t have the money to do the universal mail-in voting. So therefore, they can’t do it, I guess,” Trump said. “Are they going to do it even if they don’t have the money?”

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow offered support to Trump’s stance during an interview with  CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. He claimed that Democrats were interfering with negotiations to a coronavirus package that would offer economic relief to Americans because of a wish list of liberal goals.

“So much of the Democratic asks are really liberal, left wish lists — voting rights and aid to aliens and so forth,” he said.

“That’s not our game, and the president can’t accept that kind of deal. So, we’ll wait and see on the negotiations. Treasury Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin is working on that, but so far it’s a stalemate.”

According to Forbes, the Democrats and Republicans are $2 trillion apart in their proposals for a second stimulus package.

Democrats contend that Trump and his allies are targeting the U.S. postal service for political reasons and to undermine the presidential election. Trump has maintained that he does not want people to utilize mail-in voting despite the pandemic.

Critics have accused new postmaster general Louis DeJoy of sabotaging the postal services. The GOP donor implemented new polices in July that put a freeze on hiring and overtime as a backlog in mail delivery has swelled. DeJoy has insisted that the measures are for efficiency and cost-cutting.

Postal Service
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, Democrats have demanded oversight and issued a formal letter. They warned of voters being disenfranchised if they could not get their mail in time.

“The House is seriously concerned that you are implementing policies that accelerate the crisis at the Postal Service, including directing Post Offices to no longer treat all election mail as first class,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.) wrote in a letter. It was signed by more than 170 of their colleagues.

The agency also requested help to maintain the standards of the cash-strapped organization.

“To ensure that voters who wish to use the mail to vote can do so successfully, it is critical that election officials and voters are mindful of the time that it takes for us to deliver ballots, whether it is a blank ballot going to a voter or a completed ballot going back to election officials,” the agency said.

Read More: Postal Service backlog creates worry about November election

“In other words, the time required for both legs of a ballot’s delivery through the mail must be taken into account.”

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