WASHINGTON - The Democratic-led House Oversight Committee called Sunday for the postmaster general to testify later this month at an emergency hearing on mail delays amid accusations he is gutting the U.S. Postal Service to help President Donald Trump win re-election.
“The postmaster general and top Postal Service leadership must answer to the Congress and the American people as to why they are pushing these dangerous new policies that threaten to silence the voices of millions, just months before the election,” the congressional Democrats said in a statement.
Trump has defended Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a wealthy Republican donor, who has implemented cost-cutting measures that have prompted concerns about mail delivery, especially regarding mail-in ballots for the November 3 election.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows pushed back Sunday against Democratic claims that Trump is trying to thwart voting throughout the country.
Trump opposes states sending ballots to their voters who do not request them and last week voiced opposition to more funding for the U.S. Postal Service to help it handle the volume of mailed-in ballots that are expected as voters avoid going to polling places for fear of contracting the coronavirus. Trump and first lady Melania Trump have requested mail-in ballots in their adopted home state of Florida.
“The president of the United States is not going to interfere with anybody casting their votes in a legitimate way whether it’s the Post Office or anything else,” Meadows told CNN.
He suggested the White House is open to Congress passing stand-alone legislation to ensure the Postal Service has enough money to handle the expected surge in mail voting. Last week, however, Trump told an interviewer that he was opposed to more Postal Service funding. He claimed, without offering any evidence, that massive mail-in voting would lead to millions of fraudulent votes and a rigged election against him.
Nine of the 50 states are planning to almost exclusively conduct their voting in November by mail, including five states where elections have been carried out in such a manner for years. Millions of voters elsewhere will be able to vote by mail if they request a ballot, although in seven states only after giving an excuse why they need to vote absentee, such as being away from home on Election Day.
Meadows said Trump is only opposed to states sending ballots directly to all registered voters even if they did not request one.
“The president doesn’t have a problem with anybody voting by mail if you would look at it in terms of a no-excuse absentee ballot,” Meadows said. “What he opposes is universal mail-in ballots.
“This is more about states trying to recreate how they get their ballots and they’re trying to do it on a compressed timeline that won’t work,” he said.
“Do you realize how inaccurate the voter rolls are?” Meadows said.