House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said voting in the United States is "under assault both from a systematic national, nationwide campaign of voter suppression and from the coronavirus" and must be protected with vote-by-mail provisions.
"People should not have to choose between voting and preserving their good health and that of their families," Pelosi, D-Calif., said during her weekly briefing with reporters in Washington, D.C.. She called on the Senate to pass the House Democrats' latest stimulus package, dubbed the "HEROES Act." The $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes over $3 billion in funding in election protections.
Pelosi called the sum "a small price to pay for our democracy and the good health of people going to the polls."
The California Democrat's comments come one day after President Donald Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada over their pursuit of mass mail-in voting, calling their moves illegal.
"Mail-in ballots are very dangerous. There’s tremendous fraud involved and tremendous illegality," Trump, who voted by mail himself earlier this year, told reporters on Wednesday.
Pelosi noted that Trump has not made similar threats about states where Republican officials are putting forward similar efforts.
"This is, again, for the people," she said. "We're giving people an option we want to be able to deliver on," Pelosi said, but if Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate "don't support the resources, then they have stood in the way of voting, which is in keeping with their voter suppression in general."
Trump again voiced his opposition to expanded vote-from-home provisions on the White House lawn Thursday before departing on a trip to Michigan.
"If somebody has to mail it in because they're sick, or, by the way, because they live in the White House and they have to vote in Florida, and they won't be in Florida, if there's a reason for it, that's okay," Trump said. "But if there's not, we don't want to make any chances with fraud in our election."