Risking COVID-19 Exposure To Colleagues, GOP Lawmaker Forces House Members To Return To D.C. For Vote On Relief Package
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives had planned to pass by voice vote the already-approved-by-the-Senate coronavirus relief bill to provide economic aid to Americans and businesses.
Instead, that procedural move, which would have allowed quick and easy passage of the bill — as well as limit the need for a large number of members to be present in the House chamber, thus reducing the chance of spreading the disease itself among Congress — is being threatened by one lawmaker, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a Republican, NBC News reported.
While members of the GOP complained over Democrats stalling the bill last weekend — a move that ensured oversight on a loan program in the proposed law, and economic aid for the poorest of Americans — it now appears that one of their own is planning to object to the voice vote to take, what’s in his mind, a principled stand, a measure that could result in more lawmakers getting sick.
A voice vote can pass the House if there’s no objection to those present. It doesn’t require a quorum of 216 members to be in the chamber in order to pass, and it’s not unusual for it to be utilized for a bill that has little-to-no opposition.
But because of Massie’s stand, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) issued out an advisory request to lawmakers. “Members are advised that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote,” he wrote.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle complained about Massie’s move, as many of them had already traveled back to their home districts anticipating the voice vote would happen.
Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) March 27, 2020
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) March 27, 2020
Massie in his tweets appears to be upset over the fact that the bill could cause the deficit to grow by leaps and bounds — though he didn’t object, at the time, to the tax cuts proposed and signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2017, which have also added to the debt of the nation in huge ways.