House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has confirmed the House will be called back from August recess on Saturday to vote on legislation to block the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service from inflicting further damage to the institution and to force it to revert to pre-coronavirus operational procedures. In addition, the House is going to include $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service, upping the stakes.
The ostensible reason for the measures Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has taken—stopping overtime, ordering delays in first-class and priority mail, removing sorting equipment and mailboxes—has been lack of funding. The real reason was blurted out by the orange windbag last week: "They want $25 billion, billion, for the Post Office. Now they need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots," said Trump. "But if they don't get those two items that means you can't have universal mail-in voting because they're not equipped to have it." No mail, no votes for Joe Biden. It really doesn't get more transparent than that.
Trump repeated that, and then some, Monday in a one of his call-ins with his favorite pals at Fox & Friends. He accused Democrats of exploiting the Postal Service’s destruction so they could get an additional stimulus bill and "bail out their badly run states, like New York State." He again lied about the security of vote-by-mail, claiming that the U.S. was "never going to have a fair" election with vote-by-mail because "tens of millions of ballots being sent to everybody and their dogs, dogs are getting them okay, people that have been dead for 25 years are getting them."
So by Saturday's vote, we'll see how much blowback Trump and fellow Republicans have received from an enraged public who want their Postal Service back. There's some push among House Democrats to try to use the vote to pass another full stimulus bill, but Pelosi is focusing this one on the Postal Service because it presents a "clear choice" for Republicans. "We want them to vote for this, that’s why I held back on some suggestions people want," she told House Democrats on a caucus call Monday morning, according three of Politico's sources who were on the call.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of those Republicans Pelosi is trying to pressure. So far, he's blowing off the urgency of more funding and operational fixes at the Postal Service. But he's now suggesting that the funding is a possibility. "We're going to make sure that the ability to function going into the election is not adversely affected," McConnell said Monday. "I don't share the president's concerns […] and in fact Secretary Mnuchin, in discussions with the speaker, had already indicated the administration is prepared to spend up to $10 billion just to make sure the Post Office is on good firm footing going into the November election."
He's getting pressure from some of his vulnerable Senate Republicans—Maine's Susan Collins and Montana's Steve Daines, as well as Colorado's Cory Gardner—to take up a Senate bill that also provides $25 billion for the Postal Service. A dark horse supporter is Sen. Roy Blunt from Missouri, who issued a statement Monday saying he wants the money spent because—shockingly—it's the right thing to do for his constituents. "All Missourians, especially seniors, veterans, and people in rural communities, depend on timely, reliable mail delivery," Blunt said. "I fully support including additional funding for the USPS in the next COVID-19 relief package." Whether a full relief package is going to happen remains unclear, however. This vote, though? It might have to happen.