U.S. Postal Service carrier Henrietta Dixon gets into her truck to deliver mail May 6 in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

AUBURN — Hours after President Trump said he opposes extra funding for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service because Democrats want to expand voting by mail, Maine Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins took issue with him.

Trump told Fox Business Network on Thursday he does not think the post office needs the $25 billion in emergency help Collins is pushing Congress to approve.

“They need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump told the network. “Now, 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, they just can’t have it.”

“I do disagree with the president very strongly on that issue,” Collins told reporters Thursday during a campaign swing through Auburn.

She said there is no doubt the post office has some long-term financial challenges that need be addressed, some caused by a 2006 measure she sponsored.

“But now is not the time to be cutting back services,” said Collins, whose Postal Service Emergency Assistance Act, co-sponsored by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, would provide the USPS with up to $25 billion to cover revenue losses or operational expenses resulting from COVID-19.

Trump vehemently opposes efforts to make it easier to vote by mail, which would mean many citizens would not have to go to potentially dangerous polling locations to cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 general election, in which Trump faces a strong challenge from Democrat Joe Biden.

Collins said the post office has lost substantial revenue because of a pandemic-related decrease in marketing mail. The USPS said it needs financial assistance or it might not be able to meet its payroll in early 2021.

“That’s incredibly serious,” Collins said.

Both Collins and U.S. Sen. Angus King, a second-term Maine independent, said Thursday they want Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to explain service cutbacks reported this week. Collins and King each wrote to DeJoy to express their concern.

“Maine press, postal customer constituents and postal workers have all informed my office about recent changes they have noted,” King said in a prepared statement. “Any attack on or attempt to damage USPS services constitutes a harm to the people I represent.

“The USPS isn’t a business – it’s a public service, designed to facilitate commerce in every corner of our country. Its goal is not to make profits, but rather to facilitate universal communication and give businesses across the country the opportunity to succeed. If we tear down this infrastructure, those businesses and the customers that rely on them will suffer greatly.”

Collins said postal employees are essential frontline workers who are “out there every day” doing their jobs.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, noted that Collins’ successful 2006 push for her 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which required the postal service to prefund future health care costs, is part of the reason for the post office’s struggles.

“This requirement is the number one cause of USPS’s financial enduring problems,” Pingree said Thursday in a prepared statement.

Pingree added that “190 days ago, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a bill repealing the 2006 law — with 87 Republicans voting in support of repeal. The McConnell Senate has been blocking H.R.2382 for 190 straight days.”

King has also called for the repeal of the mandate.

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