President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE on Friday said he will approve billions of dollars in funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of a coronavirus relief package if Democrats make concessions on certain White House priorities.
“Sure, if they gave us what we want. And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want,” Trump said during a news conference.
The president then read off a series of tweets that he sent shortly before the briefing, including one that said he was directing the Treasury Department to ready direct payments to Americans. He clarified at the news conference that he was not looking to take unilateral action on the payments but was waiting for Congress to approve it.
Trump also blamed Democrats for holding up additional money for small businesses and funding for local police departments, first responders and teachers.
At the same time, the president has been adamantly opposed to Democratic demands for billions in aid to state governments, deriding it as a bailout even though some of that money would likely be used to fund some of the departments Trump cited in his tweet.
Democrats have pushed for $25 billion in USPS funding, an amount Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday was recommended by the agency’s board of governors. Democratic leaders have proposed an additional $3.5 billion in supplemental funding to be used for election resources amid the ongoing pandemic.
Trump has sent mixed signals in recent days about his willingness to fund the USPS, which has come under intense bipartisan scrutiny amid concerns that it may be unable to handle the delivery and receipt of mail-in ballots during the upcoming election.
Trump on Thursday morning suggested he was opposed to USPS funding because it would help universal mail-in voting this fall. He has repeatedly alleged that mail-in ballots will lead to fraud, though experts have insisted that is not the case and the president himself requested a mail-in ballot for the upcoming Florida congressional primary.
The president later on Thursday said he would be willing to sign legislation that includes funding for the USPS, but rejected the idea that the agency should reverse policies that Democratic lawmakers warn will hamper mail-in voting.
Election officials are expecting voters to rely more heavily on mail-in ballots in November due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to fewer polling places and raised concerns about at-risk individuals casting ballots in person.
Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of ‘critically needed mail’ Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Trump: GOP senators who don’t embrace him will ‘lose their elections’ MORE (R-Maine), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNot a pretty picture: Money laundering and America’s art market OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump’s pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat | White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus | Trump faces another challenge to rewrite of bedrock environmental law NEPA White House pushed to release documents on projects expedited due to coronavirus MORE (D-Del.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Energy: EPA finalizes rollback of Obama-era oil and gas methane emissions standards | Democratic lawmakers ask Interior to require masks indoors at national parks | Harris climate agenda stresses need for justice Bipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE (R-Alaska), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – At loggerheads, Congress, White House to let jobless payout lapse Overnight Defense: Senate poised to pass defense bill with requirement to change Confederate base names | Key senator backs Germany drawdown | Space Force chooses ‘semper supra’ as motto Democrats call for expedited hearing for Trump’s public lands nominee MORE (D-Mont.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (R-Mont.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanBipartisan senators ask congressional leadership to extend census deadline Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lincoln Project expands GOP target list, winning Trump ire MORE (R-Alaska), Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsCongress should remove roadblocks to generosity for nonprofits Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden’s nominating convention Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker MORE (D-Del.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsMcConnell warns control of Senate ‘could go either way’ in November Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump McConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-Kan.) requested in May that Congress provide direct aid to the USPS in the next stimulus package.
However, talks have remained at a standstill with little signs of progress. The Senate adjourned on Thursday, further dampening the likelihood of an agreement this month.
“House and Senate Democrats call on the President to immediately cease his assault on the Postal Service, make clear that he will allow the 2020 election to proceed without his sabotage tactics and enable the American people the same opportunity he and the First Lady requested this week to vote by absentee ballot,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of ‘critically needed mail’ Trump says he’d sign bill funding USPS but won’t seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats ‘can’t have universal mail-in voting’ MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-Cortez’s 2nd grade teacher tells her ‘you’ve got this’ ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement on Friday.