House Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus Bill After Last-Minute Drama
Despite some last-minute drama, the House voted Friday to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill designed to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The House eventually voted to approve the legislation by a voice vote, overcoming an objection by Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
The vote by the House comes after the package was unanimously approved the Senate late Wednesday and now sends the bill to President Donald Trump, who has indicated he will sign the legislation immediately.
Senate agreement on the bill came after days of negotiations and approval of the bill in the House was widely seen as a formality until Massie expressed his opposition.
Massie raised several concerns about the $2 trillion bill, including the price tag, and argued House members should have to go on record on the legislation.
The move to pass the bill by voice vote came as a number of members of Congress have left Washington amid concerns about the coronavirus, with two House members testing positive and several others in self-quarantine.
Enough members eventually returned to Washington to block Massie’s effort to force a recorded vote and the bill was passed by voice vote.
The effort by Massie still drew harsh condemnation from fellow Republicans, including Congressman Peter King of New York, who called the move “disgraceful.”
In posts on Twitter, President Donald Trump blasted Massie as a “third rate Grandstander” and called for the Congressman to be thrown out of the Republican Party.
The vote in the House came a little over a day after the Senate approved the bill after overcoming objections from several GOP Senators concerned about the bill’s expansion of unemployment benefits.
According to reports, the massive bill includes $250 billion in direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
The legislation will purportedly provide direct payments of $1,200 to individuals making up to $75,000 a year, $2,400 to couples making up to $150,000 and an additional $500 per child.
The bill also reportedly includes $130 billion in funding for hospitals as well as $150 billion for state and local governments.
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