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House passes historic $2 trillion stimulus despite objections from GOP lawmaker

The House of Representatives on Friday approved the historic $2 trillion stimulus package that passed the Senate earlier this week, overcoming last-minute drama by using an unusual procedural move to thwart a demand by a conservative Republican to force members to vote in person.

The Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, infuriated members in both parties by bringing them back to Washington amid uncertainty over whether he would request a full roll call vote. That uncertainty forced many to travel during the public health emergency simply to deny his demand in order to ensure swift passage of the measure on Friday.

The bill now goes to President Donald Trump’s for his signature as the American public and the US economy fight the devastating spread of Covid-19.

The far-reaching legislation stands as the largest emergency aid package in US history. It represents a massive financial injection into a struggling economy with provisions aimed at helping American workers, small businesses and industries grappling with the economic disruption.

Key elements of the package include sending checks directly to individuals and families, a major expansion of unemployment benefits, money for hard-hit hospitals and health care providers, financial assistance for small businesses and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

House leaders face pressure to pass the legislation as quickly as possible and minimize the risks to their members in the process — and the bill had been expected to be taken up by voice vote, a move that would allow for quick passage and was designed to permit most House members not to return to Washington for a full roll call vote.

But Hoyer’s office advised members Thursday evening they are encouraged to be in Washington on Friday at 10 a.m. ET because the bill may not pass that way after all. “There is now a possibility,” the notice from the Maryland Democrat’s office said, that a Republican may force a recorded vote.

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky announced Friday that he will request a full roll-call vote, though sources have told CNN there may be procedural steps to deny Massie’s request from requiring a recorded vote.

“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Massie tweeted just before noon ET, on Friday.

“In a few moments I will request a vote on the CARES Act which means members of Congress will vote on it by pushing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘present.'”

Despite that, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said that the bill will pass Friday without a roll-call vote.

“We are going to get it through today,” McCarthy said. Asked how, McCarthy said, “Stay tuned.”

The House will say that Massie does not have a sufficient second to request a roll-call vote, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Members still had to return to the Capitol, however, because they need to establish a quorum to do this. Members are currently sitting in the upstairs gallery overlooking the House floor to ensure they have enough for a quorum and to maintain social distancing.

Massie needs 1/5th of the members to rise and be counted to get a sufficient second for a roll call. That won’t happen, sources said.

This is highly unusual, sources said, to say a member doesn’t have enough for a second. Full Report