“No, we don’t have a cap,” McEnany told reporters at the White House Wednesday afternoon. “We’re certainly open to looking at the $25 billion. But we want included in there relief for the American people that thus far Speaker Pelosi has been entirely uninterested in.”
After its Republican-controlled governing board asked Congress for emergency aid in a March stimulus package, the Postal Service turned into a political football. The Trump administration agreed only to provide it with a $10 billion loan, upon which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin placed terms that allowed the White House to pull the mail service into its sphere of influence.
As they launched serious negotiations last month on a new round of coronavirus relief, the parties were far apart on how much additional stimulus was necessary. The White House, meanwhile, has signaled that $10 billion remains its offer for the Postal Service.
On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dismissed the notion that the agency is in dire need of funding, telling reporters aboard Air Force One that “a lot of the headlines are not indicative of what’s actually taking place.”
“I know the post office really well,” Meadows said en route to a Trump event in Minnesota. “It’s not an issue of money. They’ve got over $10 billion cash on hand; they’ve got another line of credit.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is poised to testify before a Senate hearing Friday, then go before a House panel on Monday with Robert M. Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors.
On Tuesday, DeJoy announced that the Postal Service will reverse course and shelve its controversial cost-cutting initiatives until after the November election, canceling service reductions, reauthorizing overtime and suspending the removal of mail-sorting machines and public collection boxes.
The move came hours after at least 21 states announced plans to sue the mail service and DeJoy, arguing that policy changes widely blamed for mail slowdowns will interfere with their abilities to conduct elections.
But on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she had spoken to DeJoy and “conveyed to him that his announcement is not a solution and is misleading.”
“The Postmaster General’s alleged pause is wholly insufficient and does not reverse damage already wreaked,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The Postmaster General frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes and other key mail infrastructure that have been removed and that plans for adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works.”
She added that the House will vote Saturday, “hopefully in a bipartisan way,” on legislation “providing $25 billion in support of the Postal Service as the USPS Board of Governors recommended, 100 percent appointed by Trump.”
“The Postal Service is Election Central during the pandemic, and Democrats will not allow the President to force Americans to choose between their health and their vote,” she said.
Erica Werner contributed to this report.