The US House of Representatives passed a bill aiming to pump $ 25 billion into the US Postal Service, before the presidential elections scheduled for next November.
The legislation would halt cuts and changes to the US Postal Service, which critics say will hamper the mail voting process.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democratic member, has summoned House members from the summer recess to vote on the bill, which she said would protect the US Postal Service.
US President Donald Trump criticized the vote as a Democratic stunt.
“Representatives of the post office have repeatedly stated that they do not need money and will not make changes,” Trump said in a tweet.
In the past, Trump threatened to use a presidential veto against the bill, which is unlikely to win the approval of the Senate, controlled by the Republican party, to which the US president belongs.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his council “definitely won’t pass” the bill.
Postal Service General Manager Luis Degwy spoke earlier of suspending further cost-cutting measures in service until after the November elections.
The slow arrival of the mail, amidst cost-cutting measures, has fueled concerns about the ability of one of Americas oldest and most reliable institutions to handle unprecedented numbers of ballots due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Trump strongly opposes the mail vote, warning that it could result in widespread vote fraud, although there is no evidence of this.
The draft “Delivery for America Act” that the House of Representatives passed on Saturday includes funding of $ 25 billion as part of emergency funding to counter the effects of the Corona virus, which the US Postal Service Board of Governors had requested.
According to this, the postal authority will have to deal with all letters related to the polling process as being from the category of first class mail.
Until January 2021, the post office will be prohibited from making any changes to the operations or levels of service that reduce its speed, efficiency or reliability, including closing post offices or reducing the number of working hours in them, or removing sorting machines and mailboxes, Or stop working overtime.
Before discussing the bill, Representative Caroline Maloney, a Democrat that prepared it, said: “We are not dealing with a partisan issue. There is absolutely no sense in imposing these kinds of dangerous deductions in light of a pandemic and a few months before the elections.”
Pelosi emphasized that the US Postal Service is not a commercial company, saying, “While we always make sure to check every federal dollar in terms of its spending, let us remember that the mail is a service, not a commercial company that can be thought of as burdening it the way we do the postal service.”
On the other hand, prominent Republican politicians said on Friday that the Democrats had “deliberately propagated baseless conspiracy theories about the US Postal Service for political gain,” and that they had “fabricated a crisis to undermine President Trump at the expense of US institutions.”
Republican politicians also condemned the Democrats ’pursuit of what they say is an” unnecessary rescue plan that does not fix any of the existing procedural problems. ”
On Friday, Post Director General DeGoy told a Senate committee that there had been “no changes to any of the policies regarding election mail,” and that the US Postal Service was “fully capable and committed to delivering the election mail in full and on time.”
Degwy acknowledges that his changes to the US postal system have slowed deliveries, but he insists that it is “unacceptable” to claim that it is aimed at helping Trump in the election.
A major Republican donor, Digoy was a former executive director of logistics, and was appointed general manager of post in May.