Trump would block postal service aid.
Congressional Democrats on Sunday demanded the postmaster general and chairman of the U.S. Postal Service testify before Congress later this month about recent “sweeping and dangerous operational changes” at the agency that they claimed are “slowing” the mail and “jeopardizing the integrity” of the 2020 election.
The demands from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are just the latest escalation of the mail-in ballot battle between Democrats and President Trump and Republicans.
Trump and the Republican Party have been warning for months about possible fraud connected to mail-in voting. The RNC and the Trump campaign have filed lawsuits to hit back against efforts by Democrats to overhaul voting laws in response to the pandemic; this, while Democrats say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.
“The president has explicitly stated his intention to manipulate the Postal Service to deny eligible voters access to the ballot in pursuit of his own reelection,” the Democrats wrote in a joint-statement Sunday.
The Democrats went on to claim that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is a “Trump mega-donor” and has “acted as an accomplice in the president’s campaign to cheat in the election” by launching “sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail.”
Earlier this week, the USPS warned 46 states and the District of Columbia that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail will arrive in time to be counted in the November election.
“This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy,” they wrote, referring to the USPS warning, which noted that even if voters meet every deadline and follow their state’s election procedures, their vote may not be counted.
“As House and Senate Democrats continue to respond urgently to address the sabotage of the Postal Service, House and Senate Republicans have been missing in action.”
The Democrats went on to call for DeJoy and Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors Robert Duncan to testify during an “urgent hearing” before Maloney’s committee on Aug. 24.
“The hearing will examine the sweeping operational and organizational changes at the Postal Service that experts warn could degrade delivery standards, slow the mail and potentially impair the rights of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming November elections,” they wrote. “The Postmaster General and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election.”
Meanwhile, Schumer, during a press conference on Sunday, slammed DeJoy, saying he has a “public-be-damned attitude.”
Schumer, though, said he’d introduce legislation this week that will require all election mail to be treated as first class mail by the USPS.
“I’ll be writing legislation, introducing legislation,” Schumer said, noting that it would “say all election mail is treated as first class, must be treated as first class by the post office.”
Pelosi has said that she could bring the House back from August recess to vote on similar legislaiton, and Schumer on Sunday said that he “will demand that Leader McConnell bring back the Senate to vote on it as well.”
“We cannot have McConnell ignore this problem, stay at home and say we don’t have a problem, as he has done in the past,” Schumer said.
Democrats have asked for $25 billion, including $3.5 billion in election resources, to fortify the Postal Service in time for the election to be included in the fourth coronavirus stimulus package. Trump has said the Postal Service money won’t be coming through unless Democrats come to the negotiating table on coronavirus relief and give concessions to Republicans.
“Sure, if they give us what we want,” the president said of the post office money during a press conference Friday. “And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want.”
Trump on Thursday said mail-in voting would not be possible without the funding.
“It’s their fault,” Trump told FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria.” “They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”
The president said vote-by-mail is contingent on the funding.
“But if they don’t get those two items, then they can’t have mail-in ballots,” he said.
The president went on to slam the voting by mail. He said ballots have been “sent to dogs” and “dead people,” citing states like Virginia, where he said more than “500,000 phony ballot applications were sent to voters,” and in New York, where mail-in voting caused a weeks-long delay in announcing results for some races in the state’s primary.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said casting ballots by mail is the “most secure form of voting” amid the novel coronavirus.
But earlier this week, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is “no reason” Americans can’t vote in person for the 2020 presidential election, so long as voters follow proper social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think if carefully done, according to the guidelines, there’s no reason that I can see why that cannot be the case,” Fauci told ABC News this week. “If you go and wear a mask, if you observe the physical distancing, and don’t have a crowded situation, there’s no reason why [people] shouldn’t be able to do that.”
Fauci added that individuals who are “compromised physically or otherwise” and who are not interested in physically going to the polls on Election Day, can use mail-in voting.
But Fauci doubled-down, saying “there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to vote in person or otherwise.”