The House has approved legislation that would reverse recent changes in US Postal Service operations and send $25 billion to shore up the agency ahead of the November election in a rare Saturday session.
WASHINGTON D.C. (A.P.) – U.S. President Donald Trump urged a no vote, including in a Saturday tweet, railing against mail-in ballots expected to surge in the Covid-19 crisis. He has said he wants to block extra funds to the postal service.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to fund the US Postal Service, amid ongoing complaints by Democrats that the Trump administration is attempting to sabotage the delivery of mail-in ballots ahead of the presidential election November.
The Democratic bill, which passed on Saturday despite opposition from Republicans, would provide $25 billion USD in aid for the USPS and prioritize election mail as “first-class”, to ensure ballots arrive in time to be counted in an election in which the coronavirus pandemic will cast a shadow over in-person voting.
The day-long session came as an uproar over mail disruptions. It puts the postal service at the center of the nation’s tumultuous election year, with Americans rallying around one of the nation’s oldest and more popular institutions.
Millions of people are expected to opt for mail-in ballots to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than two dozen Republicans broke with the president and backed the bill, which passed 257-150. Democrats led approval, but the legislation is certain to stall in the GOP-held Senate. The White House said the president would veto it.
Facing a backlash over operational changes, new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified on Friday in the Senate that his “No one priority” is to ensure election mail arrives on time.
But the new postal leader, a Trump ally, said he would not restore the cuts to postboxes and sorting equipment that have already been made. He could not provide senators with a plan for handling the ballot crush for the election.
Mr. DeJoy is set to return on Monday to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
The bill would reverse the cuts by prohibiting any changes made after January and provide funds to the agency.
In a memo to House Republicans, leaders derided the legislation as a postal “conspiracy theory” act. Many GOP lawmakers echoed such sentiments during lively floor debate.
While Mr. 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.
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