Senate Majority Leader: US House’s Stand-Alone Postal Bill is Only a Negotiating Opportunity

August 19, 2020 Updated: August 19, 2020

Republican leaders say they will not be supporting a stand-alone postal bill, but are willing to negotiate the funding for Postal Service as part of a scaled-down CCP virus relief package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Louisville Courier-Journal, during an interview, that if the lower chamber is able to pass a stand-alone postal bill, it could be used to re-launch negotiations between House Democrats and the administration.

McConnell said the stand-alone postal bill, “could open the opportunity for discussion about something smaller than what the speaker and the Democratic Senate leader were insisting on at the point of impasse.”

He added that it is not likely the Senate will pass a postal funding only bill, even as House Democrats prepare to pass such legislation.

“I don’t think we’ll pass, in the Senate, a Postal-only bill,” said McConnell.

The House is anticipated to return to Capitol Hill on Saturday to pass Postal Service legislation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has scheduled the vote, but the legislation has yet to be released. It is expected to include a provision that will prevent any changes to post office services and $25 billion in funding.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced on Tuesday that he would halt planned changes to the operations of the Postal Service until after the November election “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared victory over the decision but added that she is still going ahead with a vote on postal legislation.

“And I don’t, frankly, trust the Postmaster General and what he said.  And if he’s sincere about it, it means the bully has backed off.  Nonetheless, we’re happy to accept what he says, and that’s exactly what we have in our bill,” Pelosi said on Aug. 18 at a press event in front of a U.S. Post Office in the Bayview neighborhood.

When a reporter asked what she thinks of McConnell not coming back to vote on postal service stand-alone bill, the Speaker said its “most unfortunate.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Pelosi’s stand-alone postal bill and said the USPS is currently able to handle all the additional mail-in ballots that may be added during November’s election.

“Speaker Pelosi announced she is bringing Congress back for an ’emergency’ weekend session to deal with a so-called crisis at the @USPS. But here are the FACTS, which prove Democrats are manipulating information in order to push a conspiracy theory,” wrote Minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

The vote on stand-alone Postal Service legislation comes as negotiations of the larger CCP-virus relief package between Republican and Democrats stalled last week.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have criticized attempts by the Trump administration to settle for a skinny version of the CCP virus relief bill.

Like McConnell, The White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also rejected the idea of doing a stand-alone Postal Service bill and said the administration would be willing to provide funding for the USPS as part of a larger CCP virus relief package.

Although Republicans are not willing to pass a $25 billion stand-alone postal bill like Democrats, Senate Republicans are preparing to introduce a scaled-back version of their roughly $1 trillion coronavirus package that is expected to include $10 billion for the Postal Service.