WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was blocking Democrats’ efforts to give funds to the US Postal Service and electoral infrastructure in a new coronavirus bailout bill, an attempt to stop more Americans from voting by mail during the pandemic.
Democrats in Congress accuse Republican Trump of trying to spoil the struggling Post Office to improve his chances of re-election as opinion polls show he’s on the trail. The candidate is believed to be of Democratic Party Joe Biden.
For months, Trump has resisted mail voting as a possible source of fraud, even though millions of Americans – including the vast majority of the military ̵1; have voted absent by mail for years without meeting. such problem.
Trump said his negotiators were against Democrats’ call for extra money to prepare for presidential, congressional and local elections during a pandemic that killed more than 165,000 people. America and poses logistical challenges to organizing such a major event as the November 3 election.
“The categories are the post office and $ 3.5 billion for voting by mail,” Trump told Fox Business Network, saying that Democrats want to give the post office $ 25 billion. “If we don’t do the deal, it means they can’t have the money, it means they can’t have the global vote by mail.”
Trump later said in a press conference that if an agreement was reached that included postal funding, he would not veto.
Amount mentioned is less than 1% in either party’s current proposed aid package for Americans struggling with the pandemic. Senate Republicans delivered a $ 1 trillion response while the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill worth $ 3 trillion in May.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s White House negotiation team and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have not met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for six days.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday the Republican-controlled Senate would leave Washington until September, unless a coronavirus bailout deal requires a vote.
“I still hope that we will have some sort of bipartisan deal here in the next few weeks,” he told reporters.
Democrats swear by, accusing Trump and his party of trying to make it harder for Americans to vote, as experts say fears about catching a COVID-19 could cause an Half of the voters do not vote directly.
“Pure Trump. He didn’t want an election, ”said Biden, when asked for Trump’s comments ahead of the campaign.
About a quarter of US voters voted by post in 2016, and Trump voted by post. Trump has also criticized the state’s efforts to make mail voting more widely available, saying that without proof it could lead to widespread fraud. The evidence shows that mail voting is just as safe as any other method.
Pelosi said any coronavirus relief bill should include billions of dollars to protect not only Americans to vote but also essential services, such as sending prescription drugs.
“You’d think they’ll be a little bit sensitive, but so obsessed that they want to sabotage the absentee ballot that this is their connection there,” Pelosi said at a press conference. “So the president said that he did not give away any money for absentee voting and he did not give any money to the Postal Service, undermining our democracy.”
White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany doubled down during a press conference, saying the administration opposed any additional funding for election security in a coronavirus bailout bill.
A Reuters / Ipsos poll this week found Americans blaming both sides for the deadlock in the talks, which has resulted in an expiration of $ 600 per week bailout for the losers. and termination of deportation ban.
New Post General Manager Louis DeJoy, who has donated $ 2.7 million to Trump and his Republican members since 2017, ordered operational changes and limited overtime. in an effort to fix the financially troubled Postal Service, reporting a net loss of $ 2.2 billion last quarter.
Those measures have led to delays by mail across the country, which can complicate mail voting. State election officials have scrambled to expand the possibilities of mail-voting.
Reports by Patricia Zengerle, Susan Cornwell and David Morgan; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan, Jason Lange, Lisa Lambert, Susan Heavey, and David Shepardson in Washington and Trevor Hunnicutt in Delaware; Written by Patricia Zengerle; Edited by Scott Malone, Steve Orlofsky, Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis