House Passes $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package

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"Today's vote is about saving lives and livelihoods", said Republican Representative Kevin Brady. Members were seen sitting several seats apart on the House floor in keeping with physical distancing recommendations.

There could be opposition.

But Republican Thomas Massie, who opposes the expensive bill, has threatened to stall the measure, prompting hundreds of lawmakers to rush to Washington if needed for a roll call vote. That could delay action until Saturday.

Massie's effort earlier drew a stern rebuke from his fellow Republicans and Trump who called the Kentucky representative "a third rate Grandstander", and called for him to be expelled from the Republican party.

"He just wants the publicity". They will be required to use hand sanitizer before entering the chamber and encouraged to take the stairs, rather than use elevators, to better maintain social distancing.

Even before the House voted on the bill, Pelosi was already advocating for additional legislation to address funding for testing and treatments, increase the amount of people who qualify for family and medical leave and provide stronger protections for first responders.

Older people have proven especially vulnerable to the disease, and the average age of House members was 58 years old at the beginning of 2019, well above the average age of 38 for the US population as whole.

Trump said the package is "the single biggest economic relief package in American History - twice as large as any relief bill ever enacted".

The bill was passed by the Senate 96-0 on Wednesday.

The rescue package also provides $350 billion in loans and grants to help keep small businesses open, assist those who have lost jobs during the crisis and address problems in the health care system that undermined response to the virus.

Massie told reporters that the bipartisan outrage he caused was due to the fact the rest of the House was trying to "cover up their votes" by doing a "voice vote" - which he said is rarely used for such important legislation.

It was unclear whether Massie would block the measure. "We were able to have three hours of debate", he said, adding that absent lawmakers could send notices "to the desk" saying which way they would have voted.

Democratic Representative Dean Phillips asked Massie on Twitter to let his colleagues know if he meant to delay the bill's passage "RIGHT NOW so we can book flights and expend about $200,000 in taxpayer money to counter your principled but terribly misguided stunt".

USA coronavirus cases rose by 15,000 on Thursday, bumping the total number of infected individuals to more than 82,100, above the number the virus has sickened in China, where the virus outbreak began, and Italy, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

Hours earlier, the House of Representatives passed the package, with lawmakers uniting to greenlight the mega-plan as the world-topping number of United States infections neared 100,000 and deaths nationwide topped 1,475.

The package passed one day after jobless claimed skyrocketed to a record 3.28 million in the past week, as businesses cut back as they shutter for public health concerns.



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