He said in a televised interview that reports about the machines being taken out of service are “not based on fact” and are a “narrative.”
“There’s no sorting machines that are going offline between now and the election,” Meadows said on CNN Sunday. “That’s something that my Democrat friends are trying to do to stoke fear out there. That’s not happening.”
“A sorting machine to handle 100 million ballots, it’s like a gnat on an elephant’s back,” Meadows added. “It’s not going to matter with 8.6 billion pieces of mail going through the Postal Service every year.” Sorting machines that are not part of an “already scheduled reallocation” will remain, and decommissioning machines is not a new move by the postmaster general.
At the same time, the chief of staff said that Democrats should come back to Washington and negotiate USPS funding along with stimulus package measures including unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, and small business loans.
The president will “sign that” bill, he said.
The dispute over funding the USPS has been punctuated by allegations from President Donald Trump and other Republicans about potential mail-in voting fraud. Some experts have said that election fraud is rare.
Late last week, Trump told reporters that he is willing to sign off on $25 billion in USPS funding if Democrats make concessions on the broader stimulus package.
“Sure, if they give us what we want,” the president said on Friday, at a news conference. “And it’s not what I want, it’s what the American people want.”
Before that, on Fox News, Trump insisted that he would not be releasing funds for the agency as part of the deal.
“They want $3.5 billion for something that’s fraudulent … for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots,” Trump said on Fox News Thursday. “They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots.”
Negotiations on the stimulus talks stalled earlier this month, as Democrats sought to push a more than $3.4 trillion COVID-19 package. Republicans earlier unveiled a $1 trillion deal.
The most contentious issue in recent days was whether to provide nearly $1 trillion to city and state governments. Republicans are opposed to the idea, with Trump saying it would be a “bailout” of “poorly run” municipalities.
“They want $1 trillion to go to their friends doing a bad job running certain cities and states,” Trump alleged in the news conference, referring to the plan.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week called on Trump to fund the postal service.
“House and Senate Democrats call on the President to immediately cease his assault on the Postal Service, make clear that he will allow the 2020 election to proceed without his sabotage tactics and enable the American people the same opportunity he and the First Lady requested this week to vote by absentee ballot,” she and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement on Friday.
It’s not clear when negotiations on the stimulus package will resume. The package is designed to offset some economic losses incurred in the midst of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.