Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) nearly delayed the passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, which was approved by the House on Friday.

The bill required lots of back and forth negotiations between Senate and House leaders of both parties to ensure there was the bipartisan support required so the bill would not be delayed.

However, Massie threatened to delay the process in a series of tweets late Friday morning in which he called for a recorded vote, instead of the slated voice vote.

Recorded votes require members to physically come to the chamber, which is problematic due to the fact that several members of Congress have contracted the novel coronavirus while the others are practicing social distancing and did not want to be in the same room with that many people.

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“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Massie tweeted. “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 continued: “The Constitution requires that a quorum of members be present to conduct business in the House. Right now, millions of essential, working-class Americans are still required to go to work during this pandemic such as manufacturing line workers, healthcare professionals, pilots, grocery clerks, cooks/chefs, delivery drivers, auto mechanics, and janitors (to name just a few). Is it too much to ask that the House do its job, just like the Senate did?”


President Donald Trump, who supported and signed the bill, criticized Massie’s move as a publicity stunt.

“He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly,” Trump tweeted Friday. “Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault.”

Trump continued, “It is “HELL” dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the “big picture” done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”

Since Massie would not back down, House leaders enacted a plan devised by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) to override his demands.

A quorum (at least 216) lawmakers were brought into the chamber and public galleries above in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines; they blocked Massie’s request for a recorded vote.

“People will die today as a result of this virus,” Hoyer told Congress members just before the vote. “And we have come together as Democrats and Republicans from every region of this country to respond in a way that is sufficient to this challenge.”

The bill will expand unemployment benefits temporarily, send checks of $1200 to taxpayers in low to moderate income brack and help fund hospitals and food aid. It also allocates $500 billion to support major industries hit hard by the virus, $350 billion for small business loans and $150 to support state and local governments that have lost tax revenue as a result of the virus.

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