The US House of Representatives progressed a bill on Saturday to give the postal service a $25 billion infusion and halt changes Democrats declared threatened the millions of mail-in ballots expected in November’s presidential election.
The 257-to-150 vote, largely along party lines in the Democratic-led chamber, came as President Donald Trump asked the legislation “another HOAX by the Democrats… without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam that they are trying to pull off.”
The bill is supposed to die in the Republican-led Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling it a “partisan stunt.”
The US Citizens are expected to vote by mail in massive numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Trump has denied more funding for the cash-strapped US Postal Service (USPS), declaring the money would be applied to help process ballots.
POTUS Donald Trump, who is trailing challenger Joe Biden in polls, also has regularly and baselessly linked mail-in voting to election fraud.
Postmaster General of US Louis DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser appointed by President Donald Trump to head the postal service in May, has presided over the removal of mail collection boxes and processing equipment.
DeJoy has also overseen a cut in overtime pay for mail carriers, which a union leader told AFP has slowed delivery times nationwide and reshuffled senior management.
The postal service has confirmed most states that it could not guarantee the on-time delivery of mail-in ballots.
USPS stated Tuesday it would hold off on operational changes until after the November 3 election. But Democrats were not mollified and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called lawmakers back from summer recess to consider the issue.
DeJoy declared before Congress on Friday, denying allegations that recent changes at USPS were designed to slow down election mail, calling them “outrageous.”
The US is home to the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak and Americans are predicted to rely on vote-by-mail in record numbers, with an estimated three-quarter of voters able to do so this fall.
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