Congress PASSES $483 billion new coronavirus bailout, sends to Trump

BREAKING NEWS: Congress PASSES $483 billion new coronavirus bailout and sends it to Donald Trump – but AOC votes against it and president’s ally Jim Jordan coughs and splutters but REFUSES to wear a mask

  • The $484 billion coronavirus relief package passed in the House Thursday night 
  • It will now be sent to Donald Trump’s desk for signature 
  • Five lawmakers voted no, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 
  • The bill was delayed for two weeks as Democrats claimed it did not include enough relief for hospitals and testing
  • It also includes $321 billion to refill the payment protection program fund 
  • Drama ensued on the House floor as Democrats called out some Republican members who didn’t wear face covers despite recommendations to do so 
  • Rep. Jim Jordan didn’t wear one and was seen coughing into his wrist 
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims her chamber will immediately begin working on getting a fifth package passed with money for state and local governments
  • She calls it the ‘heroes bill,’ claiming it will support those ‘who make our society work, who are risking their own lives to save other people’s lives’
  • But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he doesn’t want to move onto another large scale relief bill that he claims are just ‘blue state bailouts’ 
  • Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have both signaled they are in favor of moving forward on another relief package
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The House approved a $484 billion economic measure Thursday night designed to give additional relief to small businesses feeling the squeeze from the coronavirus and, while the legislation’s passage was assured, the vote contained some drama. 

The issue at hand were face masks, who was wearing them and who was not, with some lawmakers calling out members of the opposing party for their lack of safety protocol.  

Lawmakers returned to Washington, D.C. this week to vote on the fourth coronavirus relief bill after it passed through the Senate Tuesday – following at least two weeks of delay as Democrats blocked the first version of the legislation in order to push for additional funding for state and local governments.

The measure passed 388 to 5 in the House – only 35 lawmakers were absent on Thursday, a remarkable low number given the restrictions in place to combat the coronavirus. 

The five lawmakers voted against it were a mix of both parties: Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republicans Reps. Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Jody Hice, and Tom Massie. Independent Rep. Justin Amash voted present. 

In short remarks on the House floor ahead of the vote, Ocasio-Cortez – who said she represented the ‘most impacted district in America’ – criticized Republicans for not including more funding. 

‘It is a joke when Republicans say that they have urgency around this bill,’ she said, complaining the opposition was trying to help big companies and not small businesses. ‘You are not trying fix this bill for mom & pops.’

She did not say she was voting against the bill but complained it didn’t have enough ‘rent and mortgage relief for our constituents.’

Thursday’s passage sends the legislation to the desk of President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

‘I’ll be signing it, maybe later tonight,’ he said at his daily White House press briefing.

The additional funding requested by Democrats was not in the final bill but the president said he was open to having it in a fifth coronavirus relief measure, a piece of legislation already being furiously debated.

As lawmakers made their way to the House floor to speak about Thursday’s vote, some ignored guidelines put out by the Sergeant at Arms and Attending Physician of the Capitol that urged members to wear face masks in the chamber. Masks were even made available to lawmakers outside the main entrance to the House floor.

The economic relief package passed 388 to 5

Speaker Nancy Pelosi dons a face scarf and blue plastic gloves as she walks through the U.S. Capitol to the House chamber

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a speech on the House floor, complained the bill did not have enough relief funding 

The $484 billion coronavirus relief package passed in the House Thursday evening, and will soon be sent to Donald Trump’s desk for signature


Lawmakers also clashed on the House floor as some wore masks and others did not, against new guidelines. Democratic Representative Jim McGovern (right) called out Republican Jim Jordan (right), who did not wear a mask

While Pelosi wore her scarf like a bandana around her nose and mouth while walking the halls of the Capitol, she took the covering down while speaking on the House floor Thursday

Rep. Jim Jordan – in the upper right hand of the screen – was seen coughing into his hand while sitting on the House floor

Jim Jordan, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, was one of the lawmakers who refused to wear a face covering. He was also seen coughing into his wrist as he sat on the House floor with no protective gear. 

After Jordan made his remarks while unmasked, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, who managed the floor debate for Democrats, rebuked his colleague.

McGovern, donning a New England Patriots mask, reminded lawmakers of the new recommendations.

‘While face coverings are not mandatory, they are certainly recommended,’ he said in remarks pointed to Jordan. ‘And the Office of the Attending Physician has also advised that a face covering will produce a minimum reduction in sound when using a microphone. The face covering is likely to be most useful in preventing a viral spread when a person is speaking. So people can do whatever they want to do.’

‘I would say that while we are all trying to show how fearless we are, we should be mindful of the people surrounding us,’ McGovern  added.

Some lawmakers wore masks, and others did not. 

Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida opened the day’s legislative session and Father Patrick Conroy wore a yellow mask when he offered the day’s prayer.

‘Give us all patience, especially with one another,’ he prayed of this difficult time. ‘These are days of great economic, social and political stress in our nation.’ 

Republican Louie Gohmert, another Trump ally, didn’t wear a face covering and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took down her scarf while she spoke at the microphone Thursday.

Republicans threw shade at the speaker.  Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said he would follow Pelosi’s example and not wear a mask while he managed the floor debate for the GOP.

‘I’m going to follow her example. I think we should keep our mask on when we’re doing our normal business but take them off when we’re speaking and thank you for setting that example, Madam Speaker,’ he said. 

Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor wore a mask when she opened the House and Father Patrick Conroy, in the yellow mask, wore one during his opening prayer

Lawmakers practiced safe social distancing on the House floor, seats were marked with signs where they should not sit in order 

Signs were posted in the Capitol to help lawmakers obey social distancing guidelines

New era: Nancy Pelosi, her aides and security detail all covered their faces to make their way through the Capitol

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wears a face mask as he walks to the House Chamber ahead of a vote on the additional economic stimulus package

Before the House passed the economic relief package, lawmakers approved the creation of a bipartisan committee to monitor the trillions of dollars Congress allocated to combat the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The approval came largely on a party-line votes. Democrats pushed for the special select committee but Republicans called it a political-ploy by the opposition to target President Trump.  

Pelosi has already announced Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina will chair the committee. 

In between that vote and the vote on the economic aid package, the House shut down for about 10 minutes while a group of custodians came in to clean the chamber, wiping down seats and desks. 

Lawmakers also followed a new procedure for voting designed to cut down on the number of people on the House floor. With 435 members, the floor, during normal votes, gets quite crowded, making social distancing impossible. 

For Thursday’s votes, the chamber was set up so a House member entered from the side, one by one. They voted by an electronic card reader just inside the entrance and then walked down the House floor to exit through the Speaker’s Lobby. 

The new procedure meant the vote took 1 hour and 22 minutes to complete. Most House votes last 15 minutes.  

Additionally lawmakers were encouraged to take the stairs instead of the elevator and were asked to use hand sanitizer before coming into chamber and upon leaving. 

The GOP-proposed economic package passed without Democratic opposition in the House Thursday afternoon but the parties are already butting-heads over the next stimulus package.

The interim emergency relief has been criticized by Democrats for not doing enough, even after they were able to add in to the legislation money for hospitals and a boost in testing capabilities and supplies.

Democrats were unable during negotiations to get Republicans to concede on sending money to state and local governments but they said that will be a main measure in the upcoming fifth bill.

The bill was delayed passage in the Senate by at least 12 days when Democrats blocked the first version of the legislation, which only included $ 321 billion for the payment protection program (PPP) to give loans to small businesses. 

The Senate passed the measure by voice vote, meaning most lawmakers did not have to make the trek back to Washington D.C. to be in the Senate chamber. 

Besides the relief for small businesses, the legislation also provides $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers and $25 billion to expand testing for the coronavirus. 

Keeping distance: Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to observe the rule of keeping six feet from other people at all times

Speaker Pelosi claims the House will immediately get to work on passing a fifth package called the ‘heroes bill’ that will provide more relief to state and local governments

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he doesn’t want to move onto another large scale relief bill that he claims are just ‘blue state bailouts’


President Donald Trump (left) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (right) have both claimed they are in favor of moving on a relief bill that provides money to state and local governments, but also want more for infrastructure and the payroll tax cut 

COVID-19 is still on the rise in the U.S. as the death toll nears 50,000 Thursday morning and there are more than 856,000 confirmed cases 

WHAT’S IN THE $484 BILLION CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL?

The House passed the emergency interim relief package Thursday night after the Senate finally came to an agreement on the legislation and moved it through the upper chamber Tuesday afternoon. Heres where the $484 billion is going:

  • $320 billion for Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program

– $125 billion of that will go to the minority and women-owned businesses and  ‘little mom-and-pop stores’ that don’t have a good banking connections

  • $30 billion to increase production and distribution of coronavirus tests 

– $11 billion of that will go to the states to boost testing at a local-level 

  • $75 billion for hospitals  
  • $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
  • Any remaining funds will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies supporting coronavirus mitigation

Democrats promised that the fifth bill will be another large scale stimulus package, like the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed by President Donald Trump at the end of March.

‘We call it our heroes bill,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the upcoming legislation.

She claimed it will support those ‘who make our society work, who are risking their own lives to save other people’s lives.’

‘We’ll pass it in the House,’ she asserted, according to The Washington Post. ‘If [the Senate wants] to pass their own bill, we’ll go to conference. If they want to make some contribution that might be an improvement and something we can all agree on, we’ll go to the table.’ 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear he is not keen on moving on to pass another bill so quickly, often referring to the efforts as ‘blue state bailouts.’ 

If the federal government does not send bailout money to states and local governments, Democrats claim first responders, police officers and other essential workers will lose their jobs – while more than 22 million Americans have already filed for unemployment benefits in the last four weekly filing periods.

Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have expressed they support a fifth, more far-reaching bill that includes financial relief for smaller governments across the country, money for infrastructure projects and incentives for restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues. 

McConnell, however, has voiced his opposition to moving forward on another bill so soon, claiming he would rather wait to discuss the potential of a fifth bill, known as ‘phase four,’ until the Senate reconvenes on May 4.

‘We’re not ready to just send a blank check down to states and local governments to spend any way they choose to,’ McConnell told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday.

‘My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that,’ McConnell lamented of the states. ‘That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.’ 

He also said he would give states the ability to file for bankruptcy rather than ask for more federal money to provide relief for programs struggling in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Oh really?’ Pelosi questioned from the House floor of McConnell’s assertion. ‘What made you think that’s a good idea?’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also ripped McConnell Thursday for trashing a bailout of states hit hardest by the the disease.

‘Senator Mitch McConnell goes out and he says maybe the states should declare bankruptcy. Okay? This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time,’ said Cuomo at his daily press briefing from Albany, which has frequently helped steer the agenda for President Trump ‘s late afternoon briefings at the White House.

While Democrats want even more money in the next stimulus package, some Senate Republicans have said they were opposed to the $484 billion interim relief package that passed Tuesday, which progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called ‘small potatoes.’

The GOP claims printing off and sending out more money will not help the U.S. economy recover, and that the only road to recover is reopening states.

Republican Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah both said the only way to get the country back on track is to end lockdowns and allow businesses to reopen and operate normally. 

State and local governments have plead the federal government for more relief as record-levels of residents face unemployment. Here people wait in line at a weekly food bank in California to receive free food 

Several states have begun to reopen or set dates they plan to begin implementing an end to lockdown orders as unemployment levels reached an all time high after more than 22 people applied for benefits in the last four weekly filing periods

After seeing a few-days dip in coronavirus deaths, the rate went back up – showing no real sign of slowing down

The $484 billion package was initially proposed as a provision with nearly half that amount to replenish the payment protection program with $250 billion more.

The PPP provides grants to small businesses to help them pay their rent and other expenses and keep employees on the payroll as they were forced to close.  

The account, originally with $350 billion, ran dry less than two weeks after the applications for grants, which were capped at $10 million, were opened by the Small Business Administration.

The PPP account will be refilled with about $320 billion once the bill passes the House Thursday and is signed by the president.

The vote will begin around 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, and will likely take longer than usual as members have to vote in waves to maintain social distancing guidelines.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released a statement earlier this week giving congressmen and women ample time to travel back to the Nation’s Capital to pass the $484 billion measure.

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