Mail-in ballot controversy heats up as Democrats call for postmaster general to testify

Mail-in ballot controversy heats up as Democrats call for postmaster general to testify
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Democrats and Trump administration officials clashed Sunday on expanded mail-in voting and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Sunday as the House Oversight Committee called for an "urgent" meeting with the postmaster general to discuss changes ahead of the presidential election.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Sirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (I-Vt.) blasted the Trump administration’s attacks on mail-in voting and failure to act on USPS funding.

“This, again, is not a debate about the Postal Service alone,” Sanders told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddFauci fatigue sets in as top doc sows doubt in vaccine effectiveness Blinken warns it would be a 'serious mistake' for Taiwan's status to be changed 'by force' Blinken: China 'didn't do what it needed to do' in early stages of pandemic MORE. “That's important. This is about the future of American democracy and whether people have a right to participate.”

Sanders also called the administration’s attacks on mail-in voting and the lack of funding “a deliberate effort to defund and destroy the U.S. Postal Service so that people cannot engage in mail-in ballots.”

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here MORE, meanwhile, denied reports that hundreds of USPS sorting machines have been removed from service, calling those reports a “political narrative.”

“There's no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That’s not happening.”

“Are you saying that sorting machines have not been taken offline and removed?” CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperArkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' Arkansas governor: Veto on trans youth bill was a 'message of compassion and conservatism' Buttigieg: Lawmakers can call infrastructure package 'whatever they like' but 'it's good policy' MORE asked.

“I’m saying that sorting machines between now and the election will not be taken offline,” Meadows replied.

When Tapper questioned him about machines that had been taken offline in recent months, Meadows responded: “Get your producer to share where exactly those sorting machines were taken offline. Let them whisper in your ear because what I’m telling you is you’re picking up on a narrative that’s not based on facts.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller invoked several cases frequently cited by the administration, including the delayed results in the Democratic primary in New York’s 12th congressional district, to argue against mail-in voting.

Host George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosBiden was right to call Putin a 'killer' — but is he doing enough to save Alexei Navalny? Senate Republican targets infrastructure package's effect on small business job creators Energy secretary: 'We don't want to use past definitions of infrastructure' MORE pushed back, telling Miller: “When the votes are thrown out, that shows that the system is working. It shows that votes that could have been fraudulent ... get taken out.”

“It takes a long time for states to be able to put this together safely and securely,” Miller said. “Going to rush this through is a disaster waiting to happen.”

And on “Fox News Sunday,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) insisted the state has infrastructure in place to ensure all ballots are counted properly in November.

Murphy told Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceMcConnell seeks to end feud with Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure MORE state officials are taking steps to expand access to secure mailing sites and that all ballots would be counted on time.

"Our hope is to expand democracy, and we believe this is the right way to do it," Murphy told Wallace.

The controversy comes amid Democratic scrutiny over the appointment of Trump donor Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyTammy Duckworth pressures postal service board on firing DeJoy House Democrats introduce 'DeJoy Act' to block postal service changes Let's end the Postal Service political theater and create needed reforms MORE as postmaster general. House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring NY Democratic chair blasts primary challenge against Maloney Carolyn Maloney will face Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger MORE (D) on Sunday called on DeJoy to testify before the committee about the effects of cost-cutting measures.

“Over the past several weeks, there have been startling new revelations about the scope and gravity of operational changes you are implementing at hundreds of postal facilities without consulting adequately with Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, or the Board of Governors,” she wrote.

“Your testimony is particularly urgent given the troubling influx of reports of widespread delays at postal facilities across the country — as well as President TrumpDonald TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics MORE’s explicit admission last week that he has been blocking critical coronavirus funding for the Postal Service in order to impair mail-in voting efforts for the upcoming elections in November,” Maloney added.