House

House GOP whip team seeks to get Republicans behind Senate coronavirus bill

The House Republican whip team is telling members to get behind the emerging Senate stimulus package, with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) telling members Tuesday he believes it’s the GOP’s best option to respond to the economic harm caused by the coronavirus. 

During a whip team call led by Scalise and Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Scalise cast the Senate bill as a better alternative than the House package Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has put together.

“Whip Scalise emphasized that time is of the essence, and that our best position is to accept the Senate bill, given that we have seen Speaker Pelosi is not interested in putting together a serious product and instead is attempting to use this crisis as a vehicle to codify a host of progressive policies that are unrelated to the coronavirus, including federalizing our elections, implementing the Green New Deal, and massive giveaways to unions, among other things,” Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine said in a statement. 

The Senate appears to be closing in on a deal on a package that will cost nearly $2 trillion. A source familiar with the call said the Senate bill is likely to get “strong Republican support” at this point. 

With the House out of session and concerns rising over members traveling back to the Capitol, the whip team is expected to conduct its work remotely. 

Top lawmakers in both parties are looking to pass the bill through the lower chamber via unanimous consent, which a whip team source acknowledged could present a hurdle given the magnitude of the bill. 

Leaders are also discussing the possibility of passing the bill via voice vote. 

“He also said that the health and safety of members is a top priority when thinking through the mechanics of voting on this bill, and noted that our whip count for this bill will be critical in determining whether it is possible to pass this bill by voice vote,” Fine added.  

The source familiar with the call also said such a vote was possible. 

“We have discussed this with various factions of our conference and believe this is a possible outcome,” the whip source said. 

Tags Coronavirus Drew Ferguson Nancy Pelosi Steve Scalise

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