Drama in Congress before $2T package passed

Washington DC

Kentucky's Thomas Massie stood in the way of unanimous consent

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Before the US House approved a $2 trillion relief package to help deal with the heatlh and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, a single Republican forced hundreds of other lawmakers to fly back to Washington at the last minute.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) on the floor of the House, March 27, 2020 (Nexstar)

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie held the bill up. “I refuse to let our democracy die via unanimous consent in an empty chamber,” he said.

One of the lawmakers who made her way back on a nearly empty-flight was Nevada Democrat Dina Titus because, she said, Americans desperately need the aid.

“The people who work at restaurants at Chinatown, clean hotel rooms on the strip and entertain visitors downtown are struggling to pay rent,” she said.

Colorado Democrat Joe Neguse said the package will also send help to struggling businesses “in Boulder, Fort Collins, in Broomfield and across our country on the brink of collapse.”

The $2 trillion is the largest-ever economic relief package in US history and it received widespread support from both parties.

The “Cares Act” gives cash payments to Americans, expands unemployment and food security benefits, provides loans to businesses and gives billions to the health care industry.

“Given the size and scope of this pandemic, it’s a heft price tag that must be paid,” Utah Republican John Curtis said.

But he added that while it’s necessary, spending money the government doesn’t have will have consequences.

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