The country’s economic and health situation is worsening, and Congress has made no progress this week. If anything, things in Washington have gotten worse.
President Donald Trump blamed it on the $25 million funding ask to help the US Postal Service and the $3.5 billion to bolster the volume from mail-in voting this fall.
“They want three and a half billion dollars for something that’ll turn out to be fraudulent, that’s election money basically. … 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,” Trump said Thursday, repeating his false claims that mail-in voting would be “fraudulent.”
“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,” Trump added.
The Republican and Democratic proposals are trillions of dollars apart and differ on key details. It very likely means progress on a deal to help the millions of Americans struggling from the pandemic-hit economy won’t come until next month.
On top of that, the Senate gaveled out this week, meaning members have largely left Washington one week after their House counterparts, with a scheduled return not set until September. Of course, it’s possible a vote could be called before then – and members would have about 24 hours’ notice to return to Washington for it. But optimism is hard to find on Capitol Hill these days.
Asked Thursday if he believed Congress could pass legislation before September, GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas told CNN: “An actual law? I don’t know. Maybe that’s too much to ask.”
Despite the President’s preoccupation with blocking mail-in voting, Trump encouraged supporters in a third key swing state (this time, North Carolina) to vote absentee. Which … is the same thing as vote-by-mail.
Also worth noting: Trump himself plans to vote by mail. He and the first lady have requested mail-in ballots for Florida’s upcoming primary.
These mixed messages hasn’t helped Americans caught in the middle. Half of voters say they expect voting to be difficult in November as the President ramped up his up attacks on mail-in voting, according to a new Pew poll.
The Point: Trump is willing to hold up funding for the Postal Service over his concerns with mail-in voting, yet it’s not enough to dissuade him from mailing in a ballot himself.