President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for the stall in a second coronavirus stimulus package, citing their demands for funding for universal mail-in ballots.
Democrats are seeking $25 billion in additional aid in the next relief bill for the United States Postal Service, the Hill reported.
The post office, projected to be inundated with mail-in ballots in the upcoming election due to safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, has become a hot-button issue among legislation negotiations, the outlet added.
Trump told Fox News Thursday morning that the funding would cause “the greatest fraud in history” in November.
“It’s their fault,” Trump expressed to FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”
“But if they don’t get those two items, then they can’t have mail-in ballots,” he added.
Aside from concerns over the spike in mail-in ballots, the USPS is already facing “several operational changes” causing mail backlogs across the country, Al Jazeera reported. The changes were made at the hands of the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a “Trump ally,” the outlet continued.
Trump criticized the idea of funding for universal mail-in voting, claiming ballots have been “sent to dogs” and “dead people,” Fox News disclosed. He expressed that more than “500,000 phony ballot applications were sent to voters” in Virginia.
Fox News indicated that Trump believes “there is nothing wrong with getting out and voting” despite the current state of the pandemic.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Has Softened His Stance
Trump said Friday that he would approve of the $25 billion for the post office as long as Democrats made concessions on certain White House wants, Fox News said.
The president told Fox News’ John Roberts during a Friday press conference that he would be willing to reach a middle ground because it’s not about “what [I] want.”
“Sure, if they give us what we want,” he said when asked if he would compromise. “And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has readied direct payments to “all Americans,” with checks reaching up to $3,400 for a family of four, Trump added, again blaming Democrats for the hold up, Fox said.
While Election & USPS Funds Are Top Priorities in Negotiations, State & Local Aid Continue to Cause a Stir
Trump issued several executive orders last weekend aimed at providing coronavirus relief for Americans after Congress failed to reach an agreement for a new stimulus package by its self-imposed deadline on Aug. 8.
Forbes described the solutions for state and local aid as an “arguably bigger piece of the puzzle” compared to USPS funds in terms of concluding negotiations between the Trump Administration and congressional Democrats.
While Democrats push for $1 trillion of a $3 trillion package to go toward states and municipalities, Republicans remain firm on their stance of a total package not exceeding $1 trillion, the outlet said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down on her stance, expressing that she will not “restart discussions until Republicans increase their aid offer by $1 trillion,” CNBC reported.