Senate

McConnell: Postal Service will ‘be just fine’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he believes the U.S. Postal Service will “be just fine,” while distancing himself from President Trump.

“The Postal Service is going to be just fine. We’re going to make sure that the ability to function going into the election is not adversely affected and I don’t share the concerns that the president … has mentioned,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky when asked about Trump’s comments opposing Postal Service funding, voters being disenfranchised and if he believed the post office should be defunded.

McConnell added that as part of negotiations on a fifth coronavirus aid package the administration was willing to spend up to $10 billion “just to make sure the post office is on good firm footing going into the November election.”

Trump, on Monday, shrugged off bipartisan concerns about changes being made, saying he was trying to make the embattled agency better. Asked during an interview with “Fox & Friends” about claims that he was “sabotaging” the Postal Service, Trump responded: “I’m just making it good.”

“We’re making it so it is going to be good, and we’re going to take care of our postal workers above all,” Trump continued. “We’re not firing people, but the way they ran that thing for many years, this isn’t a Trump thing. … This has been one of the disasters of the world, the way it’s been run.”

Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor, are coming under scrutiny over widespread mail delays ahead of the coming elections, which many expect will lead to a surge in mail voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

The Postal Service warned 46 states in letters late last week that their deadlines to request, return and count ballots may clash with the realities of mail delivery at a time when the Postal Service is already facing financial troubles, delivery delays and an expected influx of election-related mail, according to The Washington Post

Trump and his allies have argued that an increase in mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud, something experts say is not true. 

“The U.S. Post Office (System) has been failing for many decades. We simply want to MAKE THE POST OFFICE GREAT AGAIN, while at the same time saving billions of dollars a year for American Taxpayers. Dems don’t have a clue!” Trump tweeted on Monday. 

The House is scheduled to return to Washington on Saturday to vote on legislation related to the Postal Service. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement over the weekend that the House will vote on legislation that would prevent the Postal Service from making any changes to its operations or service that were in place at the start of the year until after the coronavirus pandemic has ended. 

Democrats, and some Republicans, are calling on McConnell to bring the Senate back into session to address the post office. The Senate left Thursday for a three-week break and is not scheduled to return until Sept. 8.  

McConnell — while not directly asked about bringing the Senate back early — gave no indication that he intended to, instead defending the decision to let the chamber adjourn until early next month. Any bill that passes the House largely along party lines is all but guaranteed to go nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

McConnell said “nothing was lost” by allowing members to go back to their home states since most aren’t directly involved in the negotiations. 

“The House hasn’t been around most of the time and the talks are occurring between the top leaders. … There was no point in keeping them there, we were not voting on other matters,” McConnell said.

Tags Donald Trump Louis DeJoy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Post office postmaster general Senate USPS

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