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Second stimulus check: how can the postal service battle affect it?

The U.S. Postal Service is warning dozens of states that it may not be able to deliver some ballots and eventually stimulus checks due to the reforms set by Trump’s administration.

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Second stimulus check: how can the postal service battle affect it?
Theo WargoAFP

Millions of Americans are eagerly waiting for Congress to draft and approve the fifth stimulus relief package amid the coronavirus pandemic, which, among other measures, is expected to grant a second round of payments worth up to $1,200 per individual. As Republicans and Democrats try to reach an agreement, there is a new obstacle, the United States Postal Service crisis.

According to Mark Mazur, director at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, approximately 80 percent of people will receive the second round of stimulus payments via direct deposit. While This leaves around 20 percent who would receive paper checks, based on the CARES Act first round of stimulus payment approved back in March. There will be some differences as the processes are made slicker.

Concern over USPS deliveries delay

Democrats have established that they won’t restart negotiations until Republicans increase their offer from $1 trillion towards the stimulus relief package. They are now concerned, however, that efforts to reform the United States Postal Service (USPS) will delay the delivery of a second round of stimulus checks, assuming Congress approves a bill when they resume talks in September.

Prior to the USPS crisis, one linked to the presidential elections, the Internal Revenue Service was ready to send the second checks just one week after the bill was signed by President Donald Trump. Now further hold ups are feared.

Pelosi says House still plans to vote on Postal Service bill

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is, however, set to announce later on Tuesday that he will suspend all operational reforms and initiatives until after the November presidential election, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters and sources briefed on the matter.

'I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,' DeJoy will say, according to the draft release, adding that the changes are to 'avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.'

US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
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US Speaker of the House, Nancy PelosiJIM WATSONAFP

That said, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday the postmaster general's announcement of a pause to changes in service ahead of the 3 November election did not go far enough and the House still planned to vote on Saturday on a Postal Service bill.

'This pause only halts a limited number of the Postmaster’s changes, does not reverse damage already done, and alone is not enough to ensure voters will not be disenfranchised by the President this fall,' Pelosi said in a statement. 'The House will be moving ahead with our vote this Saturday,' she said.