President Donald Trump said he plans to block additional funding for the United States Postal Service in an attempt to prevent mail-in voting in November.
What Happened? On Thursday morning, Trump told Fox Business he plans to veto any emergency coronavirus relief bill that includes additional funding for the USPS that could help in processing ballots in November.
“[The Democrats] want $25 billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said.
“If we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting.”
Why It’s Important: Trump’s critics immediately accused him of playing political games, not just with a stimulus bill but with the post office budget.
“The President of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates.
But Also: Democrats are also calling for an inquiry into Trump-backed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy related to his $30 million investment in XPO Logistics Inc XPO, which does business with both the USPS and other government agencies and potentially creates conflicts of interest for DeJoy.
DeJoy has already taken bipartisan heat for aggressive budget cuts since taking over his position in June, including eliminating overtime hours for many workers.
“The idea that you can be a postmaster general and hold tens of millions in stocks in a postal service contractor is pretty shocking," Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, told CNN.
Trump has also pressured the USPS to raise rates it charges to Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN. Trump also has a long history of repeatedly lashing out at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest person.
What’s Next? Trump has already used executive orders to issue economic stimulus measures while also bypassing Congress and avoiding the USPS funding Democrats want to provide. At this point, all indicators suggest investors should be prepared for an extremely messy, contentious and controversial November election process.
The fate of the USPS funding could also have a significant impact on delivery stocks, such as United Parcel Service, Inc. UPS and FedEx Corporation FDX.
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