Trump says he’ll sign USPS funding if Democrats make concessions

President Trump on Friday said he will approve billions of dollars in funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of a coronavirus relief package if Democrats make concessions on certain White House priorities.

“Sure, if they gave us what we want. And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want,” Trump said during a news conference.

The president then read off a series of tweets that he sent shortly before the briefing, including one that said he was directing the Treasury Department to ready direct payments to Americans. He clarified at the news conference that he was not looking to take unilateral action on the payments but was waiting for Congress to approve it.

Trump also blamed Democrats for holding up additional money for small businesses and funding for local police departments, first responders and teachers.

At the same time, the president has been adamantly opposed to Democratic demands for billions in aid to state governments, deriding it as a bailout even though some of that money would likely be used to fund some of the departments Trump cited in his tweet.

Democrats have pushed for $25 billion in USPS funding, an amount Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday was recommended by the agency’s board of governors. Democratic leaders have proposed an additional $3.5 billion in supplemental funding to be used for election resources amid the ongoing pandemic.

Trump has sent mixed signals in recent days about his willingness to fund the USPS, which has come under intense bipartisan scrutiny amid concerns that it may be unable to handle the delivery and receipt of mail-in ballots during the upcoming election.

Trump on Thursday morning suggested he was opposed to USPS funding because it would help universal mail-in voting this fall. He has repeatedly alleged that mail-in ballots will lead to fraud, though experts have insisted that is not the case and the president himself requested a mail-in ballot for the upcoming Florida congressional primary.

The president later on Thursday said he would be willing to sign legislation that includes funding for the USPS, but rejected the idea that the agency should reverse policies that Democratic lawmakers warn will hamper mail-in voting.

Election officials are expecting voters to rely more heavily on mail-in ballots in November due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to fewer polling places and raised concerns about at-risk individuals casting ballots in person.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) requested in May that Congress provide direct aid to the USPS in the next stimulus package.

However, talks have remained at a standstill with little signs of progress. The Senate adjourned on Thursday, further dampening the likelihood of an agreement this month.

“House and Senate Democrats call on the President to immediately cease his assault on the Postal Service, make clear that he will allow the 2020 election to proceed without his sabotage tactics and enable the American people the same opportunity he and the First Lady requested this week to vote by absentee ballot,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement on Friday.

Tags Charles Schumer Chris Coons Christopher Coons Dan Sullivan Dianne Feinstein Donald Trump doug jones Jon Tester Lisa Murkowski mail ballots mail-in voting Nancy Pelosi Pat Roberts Steve Daines Susan Collins Tom Carper USPS

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