/Capitol Report: Pelosi seeks more funding for U.S. Postal Service as Democrats warn of ‘crisis’ for agency

Capitol Report: Pelosi seeks more funding for U.S. Postal Service as Democrats warn of ‘crisis’ for agency

Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday suggested she will press for more funding for voting by mail in the next stimulus package Congress works on.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seeking more funding for the U.S. Postal Service as lawmakers work on a new round of aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Democrats warn the independent agency is in crisis.

The stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump on Friday allows the postal service to borrow up to $10 billion from the U.S. Treasury. On Tuesday, Pelosi, a California Democrat, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” she wants more funding so the USPS could put in place a wider-ranging vote-by-mail system and deliver equipment to those fighting the outbreak.

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Gerald Connolly, who heads the panel’s subcommittee that oversees the postal service, on March 24 wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking him to support $25 billion in emergency funding for the agency. They said that funding and other measures would “avert an economic collapse” of the agency, but neither the funding nor a debt-forgiveness program was included in the bill Trump signed.

“Our work is not done,” said Virginia Democrat Connolly in a statement on Friday. “The Postal Service, which every American relies on for prescription drugs, care packages, and critical services, is in crisis and must be addressed,” he said.

Pelosi said increased voting by mail would soon be a reality of life amid the coronavirus pandemic. “In terms of the elections, I think that we’ll probably be moving to vote by mail.”

Opinion: Brace for more voting by mail because of coronavirus — and other logistical challenges facing election officials.

Pelosi didn’t identify a new funding amount she is seeking as talks go forward on a fresh package.

A postal service spokesman said the agency was concerned the bill Trump signed would be “insufficient” and that a worst-case scenario could result in the agency having “insufficient liquidity to continue operations.”

The House speaker has said a “Phase 4” package could include “more direct payments” to Americans and spending on infrastructure

Now read: Trump, Pelosi see ‘Phase 4’ coronavirus package that includes infrastructure spending

Pelosi’s doubling down on vote-by-mail provisions puts her on a collision course with Trump, who criticized the idea on Monday. “They had things, levels of voting that if you ever agreed to, you would never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in a telephone interview.

As the Hill reported, Trump was referring to Democratic proposals to give $4 billion to states to boost mail-in and absentee ballots. Specific proposals included requiring states to send absentee ballots to every registered voter, requiring that states permit online and same-day voter registration, and expanding early voting by 15 days, the Hill wrote.

As of Monday, 14 states and one territory had either pushed back their presidential primaries or switched to voting by mail with extended deadlines, according to a New York Times list.

Read on: Trump campaign adviser tells Wisconsin Republicans in secret recording that voting-place tactics will be stepped up

Original Source