White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday said Democrats upset about recent changes at the Post Office should come back to Washington, D.C. and negotiate additional funding, potentially in another coronavirus relief package.
“Why don’t they come back, let’s go ahead and get a stimulus check out to Americans, let’s make sure that small businesses are protected … and put the postal funding in there?” Mr. Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll pass it tomorrow; the president will sign it and this will all go away.”
“Congress needs to come back and get their act together and work,” he said.
House Democrats included $25 billion for the post office in the nearly $3.5 trillion coronavirus relief package they passed in May. The bill also included $3.6 billion for grants to states to prepare for the fall election.
Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration’s negotiators — which include Mr. Meadows — appeared to settle on $10 billion in their most recent round of negotiations, but they couldn’t strike a broader deal and the House and Senate went on vacation without passing new legislation.
The House and Senate aren’t scheduled to be back in town until Sept. 8, and votes in the House aren’t expected until the week after that.
Democrats have questioned why U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is trying to implement major changes — which he has acknowledged have affected service — in the middle of a pandemic and when many states are gearing up for more people to vote by mail in the November election.
“I’ll give you that guarantee right now: the president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their vote in a legitimate way, whether it’s the post office or anything else,” Mr. Meadows said.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, California Democrat, said Mr. DeJoy needs to resign.
“He’s slowed delivery, banned overtime & decommissioned mail-sorting machines,” Mr. Schiff said on Twitter. “Right before the election. During a pandemic.”
Even more moderate Democrats said over the weekend that the postmaster general should be called to testify immediately.
“We need to subpoena the Postmaster General, and if he fails to appear, we should send the Sgt at Arms to arrest him,” Rep. Jim Cooper, Tennessee Democrat, said on Twitter.
Mr. Cooper said he asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call the House back into session immediately to deal with the issue.
Thomas J. Marshall, USPS general counsel and executive vice president, recently told Congress that the post office is in an untenable financial position but that there have been no edicts to delay the mail or eliminate overtime.
At the behest of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is looking into the recent policy changes.
President Trump on Saturday praised Mr. DeJoy and said he’s trying to make the post office “great again.”
“Louis DeJoy is working very hard,” the president said. “The postal office has lost billions and billions of dollars.”