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White House And Senate Strike Deal On Historic $2T Coronavirus Relief Bill

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ElmiraTelegram    143
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White House and Senate leaders reached a historic deal shortly after midnight Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package for workers and businesses, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered something of a tepid endorsement of the agreement after previously pushing for her own legislation.

The bipartisan breakthrough in the Senate capped days of heated negotiations that had nearly been derailed by last-minute demands from House Democrats.

“Ladies and gentleman, we are done," White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland announced as he left the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., near midnight. "We have a deal."

Ueland told reporters that "much of the work on bill text has been completed, and I’m hopeful over the next few hours we’ll finish what's left and we will circulate it early in the morning.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill amounts to “unemployment compensation on steroids," and that Americans who have been laid off will have their missed salary remunerated. The package will enable companies to stay afloat and immediately bring back those employees when things are safe‬, Schumer said.

 

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Chris    1,310

Apparently there's a problem with one of the Congressmen possibly holding things up:

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Congressional leaders scrambled Friday to stall a rogue GOP lawmaker's last-ditch attempt to force a prolonged, roll-call vote on the massive $2 trillion coronavirus response package, which is all but certain to pass in the end.

Thomas Massie, R-Ky., signaled Friday morning that he would indeed demand a roll-call vote.

“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously. 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,’” he tweeted.

He indicated he wants to ensure there is a quorum, which would require half of the members to show up on Capitol Hill. This could drag out the process for hours, in addition to raising concerns about exposure to the coronavirus on the Hill.

But House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy nevertheless signaled he’s got an exit strategy, insisting to reporters that they can pass the bill without a roll-call vote.

He did not explain how, but the expectation is that Massie will indeed ask for a recorded vote. Another member is expected to then call for a quorum, at which point a count will be conducted of all members on the floor and in the gallery -- they have been streaming into the chamber over the course of the morning and afternoon in preparation.

Presuming there is a quorum, members could still oppose the roll-call vote -- prompting a simple voice vote.

Upon catching wind of the plan, Massie howled on Twitter over the parliamentary machinations.

"It’s pretty clear now, with enough members here to pass the bill, that Pelosi and McCarthy are still working together to block a recorded vote just to insulate members of Congress from ACCOUNTABILITY. Biggest spending bill in the history of mankind, and no recorded vote? #SWAMP," he tweeted.

 

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Chris    1,310

Looks like they passed it despite him. 

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The House, after several hours of debate, ultimately passed the measure by voice vote, and it was allowed to stand.

There were loud cries for ‘ayes’ and few rumblings of ‘nos’ on the House floor.

“The ayes have it,” declared the presiding officer Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md.

But Massie stood up and objected. “I came here to make sure our republic doesn’t die by unanimous consent in an empty chamber and I request a recorded vote,” Massie said.

Brown ruled that an insufficient number of lawmakers stood in support of a roll call vote. But Massie pressed on.

“I object on the basis that a quorum is not present,” Massie said, instructing a count of lawmakers.

“A quorum is present and the motion is adopted,” Brown ruled, to applause.


 

 

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KReed    592

I don’t necessarily disagree with Massie’s point.

It’s fair call attention to how easy it is for lawmakers to rush legislation through under premise of urgency, even when it includes huge piles of pork that are unrelated to the crisis at hand.

It also highlights the outdated requirement that each member must physically be present in that room, in the Capitol building in Washington DC in order to participate.

I don’t have much hope that the former will ever be corrected, but the latter can certainly be addressed with the technology available.

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Adam    40

Obvious question here: was there truly a quorum or was it simply by virtue of Mr. Brown claiming there was?

one would think absent an actual quorum, the bill is illegal and not valid?

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