House leadership advises members to return to DC as Massie weighs roll-call vote on stimulus package
House leadership advised members on Thursday evening to come back to Washington, D.C., on Friday morning if possible, as top lawmakers told The Hill that they anticipate Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) could call for a roll-call vote on the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in the Senate earlier this week.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) aimed to pass the bipartisan measure via voice vote in the lower chamber in an attempt to minimize the health risk for members who have to travel long distances amid the pandemic.
But, according to multiple House members, Massie is threatening to derail leaders’ plans, taking issue with its cost and the process used to pass it through the upper chamber.
“Mr. Hoyer and Mr. McCarthy previously expected that the vote on H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, would be done by voice vote, but there is now a possibility that a House Republican may suggest a quorum is not present and attempt to call for a recorded vote on final passage,” sources in Hoyer’s press shop said.
“We have notified our Members of the possibility that the bill may not pass by voice vote. The Majority Leader’s Office has sent a notice to Members that if they are able and willing to be in Washington, DC by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, they are encouraged to do so, while exercising all due caution.”
While McCarthy urged members not to call for a roll-call vote on a House GOP conference call on Thursday, Massie has railed against the bill, tweeting out his grievances with the measure.
“The senate did some voodoo just like with Obamacare. Took a House Bill (HR 748) dealing with taxes, stripped every word, and put their bill in it. The House is just as responsible for killing the origination clause as the Senate. It’s the House’s job to reject the process,” Massie tweeted.
The congressman’s comments have sparked frustration from his colleagues.
“If he does — his primary opponent will raise serious money over the weekend,” one GOP member told The Hill.
“Despite the fact that members are quarantined, have the virus and some don’t have flights to get here. … He’s just trying to jeopardize it,” another GOP member said.
Democratic leadership sources indicated they expect “a unanimous consent agreement to call up the bill and set up debate” after the House convenes at 9 a.m. Friday.
“We will go straight into debate, and there will be up to two hours of debate, which will be managed by Mr. Hoyer on the Democratic side. We expect to use most, if not all, of that debate time. We will see if the bill can pass by voice vote or if a Republican forces a recorded vote. Stay tuned for additional guidance,” Hoyer’s press shop said.
In an effort to make the in-person vote as safe as possible, the House sergeant-at-arms and attending physician told House members there would be changes to voting procedures.
If the roll-call vote is called, members are expected to be brought into the chamber in groups of 30 sorted alphabetically. They will also be required to use hand sanitizer upon entering the chamber, and only members scheduled for debate are allowed on the floor in advance of the vote.
Al Weaver contributed to this report.
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