Democrats are “using the postal service now just like they used the Russia impeachment to get at this president,” House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., told “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.
Collins was reacting to the fact that the House of Representatives on Saturday passed a $25 billion funding infusion to the U.S. Postal Service in a bill that also would reverse new cost-cutting measures and ban any efforts to slow down the mail until at least next year.
The vote was 257-150 with 26 Republicans joining the Democrats.
Democrats called the rare “emergency” session in the middle of the summer recess because they contend President Trump and new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy are trying to sabotage the 2020 election by delaying service that could compromise mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans dismissed the Democrats’ election concerns as a conspiracy theory. GOP members said the Postal Service is not in a crisis and can handle any uptick in volume from mail-in ballots, pointing to its $14 billion in available cash and access to a $10 billion loan from the Treasury.
“It was about political theater. That’s all it was,” Collins said on Sunday describing the vote.
He went on to say that “Speaker Pelosi [was] trying to extend the Democratic National Convention one more day to get a little more headlines, to take another hit at the president and just to make a case that there is this vast conspiracy that is out there in the postal service, realizing that the postal service is still solvent until next August this time, they still have money, they still have funds.”
He added that the “real reason” is “Democratic voter suppression.”
“They’re [Democrats are] trying to make people scared to vote,” Collins said, adding that instilling fear is “so false a narrative.”
“So this is nothing more than political theater and really basically Speaker Pelosi putting a political statement over the American people in this crisis right now,” Collins continued.
The legislation is not expected to go anywhere. The GOP-led Senate has no plans to take up the bill and the White House issued a veto threat Friday saying USPS doesn’t need a $25 billion bailout.
Trump tweeted Saturday his opposition to funding for the Postal Service and linked it to his objections to universal mail-in voting.
HOUSE DEMOCRATS PUSH FORWARD WITH $25B POST OFFICE BILL, GOP DISMISSES RARE SATURDAY VOTE AS A ‘JOKE’
Democrats point to growing concerns from constituents over mail delays coinciding with postal changes on DeJoy’s watch. DeJoy rejected that any political motives were at play, but told a Senate panel on Friday there has been a slowdown.
Under mounting pressure, a noisy protest at his Washington home and alarm over the removal of blue collection boxes in communities, DeJoy on Tuesday announced he was putting a pause on any service changes until after the election.
“The postmaster general did what I think is right,” Collins said on Sunday. “Unfortunately, I say this many times, perception is reality to many people and the perception being generated by the Democrats was that there was this massive collusion among the postmaster general and others to throw the election.”
He went on to explain that “the reality is” is that during the pandemic the “mail system is working.”
Collins added, “November 3rd will be the election, people will be allowed to go vote, they’re going to have their chance to say what they want for this country and I believe that we need to take the fear out of it.”
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The Postal Service has lost about $80 billion since 2007 through a decline of mail volume and a congressional requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund retiree health benefits. The problems at the Postal Service have been under the spotlight especially this year with the pandemic and greater reliance on mail-in services.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.