House Democrats Approve $25 Billion for USPS Ahead of Elections

House lawmakers on Saturday approved $25 billion for the United States Postal Service (USPS) in a rare "emergency" vote Saturday.

In a vote largely along party lines, 257-150, all House Democrats and 26 Republicans voted in favor of providing $25 billion in funding to USPS and to block operational changes they say are being led by the agency's postmaster general to disrupt mail-in voting during the upcoming elections.

Members of Congress were called back Saturday for the "emergency" vote which Republicans have blasted as "nothing more than a political show," as Arkansas GOP Congressman Steve Womack said Friday. The bill would roll back any changes made to the USPS since January. The postal service bill is effective through January 1.

The White House said Friday President Donald Trump would veto the House bill, and Senate Republicans said House Democrats should consider the $25 billion "Delivering for America Act" legislation dead-on-arrival in the upper chamber.

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A mail truck is seen as rally goers gather at a post office to protest the Trump administration's handling of the US Postal System at the Rally to Save the Post Office on August 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Rich Fury/Getty

Though the House overwhelmingly passed the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), released a statement confirming that he would not allow a stand-alone bill to fund the USPS to go before the Senate.

"The Postmaster General was unanimously appointed by a bipartisan board that includes a member whom Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer [of New York] handpicked. He is not enacting some sinister conspiracy. The facts show the USPS is equipped to handle this election, and if a real need arises, Congress will meet it. But the facts haven't stopped Democrats from spinning up another conspiracy theory," McConnell wrote.

"If Washington Democrats would devote half the energy they spend worrying about their own reelections to actually helping the American people, we could easily achieve the kind of targeted, bipartisan relief package that Republicans have wanted for weeks," he added.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has come under fire these past weeks for a number of policy changes, including removing mailboxes and mail sorting machines. Though DeJoy announced he was suspending financial cutbacks until after the November elections, reports later indicated that mail sorting machines that had been removed as part of the changes would not be returning.

House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) responded to cutbacks in the USPS as an attempt to "undermine our democracy."

"Our Postal Service should not become an instrument of partisan politics, but instead must be protected as a neutral, independent entity that focuses on one thing and one thing only—delivering the mail. Millions of people rely on the Postal Service every day to communicate, to access critical medications, and to vote," Maloney said in a statement.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said 80 percent of prescriptions sent out by the VA to U.S. military veterans are sent through the U.S. Postal Service. On Thursday, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced an investigation into the USPS postponing the delivery of prescription medication.

Republican lawmakers, including Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, echoed the complaints of many in his party who questioned why an emergency Saturday House vote doesn't address coronavirus stimulus relief plans or how to get Americans back to work amid the pandemic. On the other side, Democratic lawmakers said if the HEROES Act had been passed months ago the entire crisis would have been resolved.

The two chambers of Congress remain at an impasse over the dueling coronavirus stimulus plans.