The House sent to Donald Trump‘s desk a $2trn economic aid package meant to help out-of-work Americans and businesses as Washington is rushing to stave off economic calamity amid the virus outbreak. The president says he will sign it into law soon.
The measure was approved via a voice vote after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined forces to defeat attempts by GOP Congressman Thomas Massie to force a roll call vote, which would have delayed a final vote until at least Saturday while more members of the lower chamber made their way back to the Capitol. He objected to unemployment benefits in the bill, which will be enhanced for four months.
The White House has yet to say when Mr Trump will sign it, but he suggested earlier this week we wants to have some kind of signing ceremony or event.
The measure would beef up unemployment benefits by $600 a month, and provide direct payments to some Americans of $1,200 and give families $500 per child.
It also provides a massive account for small business loans and another fund to help large corporations, which some progressive Democratic members raised concerns about.
Mr Trump sharply criticised Mr Massie earlier in the day, calling him a “grandstander” and a “third-rate” member of Congress.
Mr Massie was the last member to speak on the floor, trying two times to delay passage of the massive measure – but he failed as his colleagues applauded the voice vote’s outcome.
Both Ms Pelosi and GOP leader Kevin McCarthy spoke in favor of the economic aid package, saying it is not perfect, in their eyes, but is necessary during the pandemic.
In defeating Mr Massie, Ms Pelosi and Mr McCarthy teamed up – a rarity during the US’s ongoing tribal political era. And they won by getting enough of their Democratic and GOP members back to Washington, using the chamber’s complex rules to beat back the Kentucky libertarian’s challenge.