The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package passed in the House of Representatives on Friday and is set to be signed by President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon, but one Republican congressman threatened to derail the entire thing — and Trump wants to kick him out of the GOP for it.
What's the issue? Many House members were not in Washington, D.C., as the Friday vote approached. That meant there was doubt about whether a quorum would be present. However, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) wanted a roll-call vote on the bill as opposed to a voice vote.
"I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously," Massie wrote on Twitter on Friday morning. "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.'"
Anticipating that Massie might try to delay or derail the urgent stimulus bill over procedural concerns, many lawmakers had to travel from their home states back to Washington to ensure that Massie's plan failed. Such travel has been discouraged by public health officials as the coronavirus spreads.
"Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation," New York GOP Rep. Peter King tweeted Friday morning. "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."
What happened? Massie objected to the vote Friday afternoon, citing a lack of quorum, and requested a recorded vote. He didn't get enough support for the objection, and within seconds Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), presiding over the vote, declared that a quorum was present and went forward with the voice vote.
Bipartisan Backlash: Lawmakers on both sides, and the president himself, slammed Massie's stunt in the face of such severe need from many Americans.