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White House backs off plan to send drug cards before election

Josh Wingrove
Bloomberg

The White House is backing away from a plan to send $200 prescription drug discount cards to American seniors before Election Day after widespread criticism the effort could violate election laws.

“I don’t anticipate that anything gets there before election day,” Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Wednesday. “I think that was a concern that there might have been a look that this was done for a political motivation. That’s not the case.”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Washington.

The Trump administration is finishing a plan to send the cards to more than 30 million American seniors, Meadows said. Officials are expected to make final approval of them within the next 24 to 48 hours, and the cards will likely be sent in November or December, he added.

President Donald Trump has seen his approval ratings among seniors – a key voting bloc – drop in recent months, largely over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new timeline for sending the cards comes after Robert Charrow, general counsel at the Health and Human Services Department, warned that the plan may violate election law. He instructed administration officials to seek advice from the Department of Justice’s public integrity office before proceeding, according to Politico. That has slowed the rollout of the cards, Politico said.