House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call to reconvene the House this week to vote on a U.S. Postal Service bill could lead to the next stimulus deal, according to Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist for AGF Investments.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that she wants the House to return later this week to vote on the Delivering for America Act, which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to the operations or level of service it had in place on Jan.1.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded answers in a Friday letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about “sweeping changes he is making at hundreds of postal facilities across the country which are slowing the mail and therefore jeopardize the integrity of the election.”
Pelosi and Schumer said their letter was in response to statements made by President Donald Trump on Thursday “admitting opposing the Postal Service’s urgent, bipartisan request for $25 billion as part of the coronavirus legislation pending in Congress because of his baseless objection to expanding mail-in voting.”
The House passed this request 91 days ago as part of the Heroes Act, along with an additional $3.6 billion in election assistance funding for states, Pelosi and Schumer said, “but President Trump has refused to provide this crucial federal assistance.”
Both the House and Senate are on a recess scheduled to end in mid-September.
Bringing back the House “comes after an unprecedented level of constituent anxiety over the post office, as deliveries have slowed in the wake of changes at the USPS,” Valliere said in his Monday morning email briefing. “Whether it involves prescriptions by mail or the election, voters are confused and angry.”
The postal service warned 46 states “that it could not guarantee that it could handle ballots in a timely manner,” Valliere said, “and it followed an astonishing statement from President Trump, who said he doesn’t want to make it easier to vote by mail.”
After a “predictable uproar,” Trump walked back those statements and said “he now favors increased funding for the USPS only if it’s part of a larger bill that includes a wide package of stimulus — $1,200 checks, business assistance, liability protection, money for schools, etc. — that could be revived later this month,” Valliere states.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said over the weekend that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should bring the Senate back into session after Pelosi’s announcement that the House will reconvene.
Assuming the Senate also comes back, “both sides could agree on enough money to keep the post office operating through next year, with extra funding for ballots,” Valliere said.
As to whether the postal crisis could lead to the next stimulus bill, Valliere opined: Stay tuned.
“Several Democrats said this weekend that postal funding could be wrapped into a bigger package,” Valliere said. “Trump certainly wants a deal, and lawmakers are getting an earful from constituents who are hurting badly as federal aid expires. We still expect a deal, but it may not come until late August or early September.”
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