As Congress begins drafting the next stimulus package, early signs point to a battle royal over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's call for $4 billion in election assistance for the states.
No details have yet been formulated, but Pelosi has left little doubt she will pursue the funding that is sure to include absentee ballots for all, an extension of the "early voting" periods.
Almost to a person, Republicans feel that such federally funded and administered "assistance" benefits Democrats and favors local election authorities handling any changes required in the November voting.
Although all House Republicans voted for the last stimulus package (which included $400 million for election assistance), many who spoke to Newsmax are leaving little doubt they will oppose any bill that includes the Pelosi package.
Some Republicans, in fact, predicted to Newsmax that if Pelosi continues to push her "election assistance" idea, several on the GOP side would offer amendments calling for mandatory voter ID laws that require a form of identification for voting.
Younger, more conservative lawmakers who spoke to Newsmax were particularly vocal on this growing controversy.
Jason Gottesman, spokesman for freshman Rep. Fred Keller, R.-Pa., said, "Republicans have said that any COVID-19 response legislation must be narrowly tailored to mitigate the impacts of the virus and not have long-lasting policy changes."
He added that "long-standing Democrat-desired changes to how voting is conducted would fall outside of the narrow scope we'd like to see in any additional response."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R.-Tenn., is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and told Newsmax, "[p]rotecting against voter fraud and ensuring that our elections are not only just safe but also fair and adhere to our Constitution is just as important now as ever."
In an obvious reference to Pelosi, he added, "this is a unique position that we have been put in and it is important to not let this situation become a political and partisan event. Anything Congress does in response to COVID-19 must be bipartisan in nature."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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