Fate Of Coronavirus Relief Bill In Limbo Due To One Kentucky Representative

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is allowing her House members to debate the merits of a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for up to three hours on Friday before she will hold a vote on its passage.

Despite the bill clearing the Senate chamber with a 96 to 0 vote, its fate in the House of Representatives rests squarely on the shoulders of one Kentucky Republican: Rep. Thomas Massie.

When Pelosi calls a vote on the bill Friday afternoon, it is expected to pass by a unanimous voice vote.

Should any member speak out against the bill, it will not pass. Or, and more likely, should any member request a roll call vote, then members would be asked to cast their vote in person towards its passage.

The problem facing the bill is that most lawmakers have already left Washington, D.C., and are at home in their respective districts. These members would be unable to cast their votes in person until they travel back to the Capitol, pushing the bill’s passage back to as early as Saturday.

The Associated Press reports Massie is opposed to the bill and wants to be on record against its passage. He is threatening to force a roll call vote, although he has yet to confirm that he will.

Here’s more, from the Associated Press:

Massie took to Twitter to suggest he’d require a quorum of lawmakers — some 216 lawmakers — to be present and voting. Massie didn’t respond to a reporter’s requests for comment.

Numerous high-ranking Republicans have called Massie in an attempt to persuade him to let the voice vote proceed, according to a top House GOP aide. They included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., whom President Donald Trump has chosen as his new chief of staff.

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If those efforts fail and a roll call is needed, Republicans believe they will have more than 100 of their members back at the Capitol, according to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

Democratic leaders urged lawmakers who are “willing and able” to come to the Capitol to do so.

Massie’s move infuriated lawmakers, forcing many to trek to Washington for a vote they’re not even sure will occur. If a quorum can’t assemble Friday, more members would have to travel for a Saturday session.

“While no one will agree with every part of this rescue bill, we face a challenge rarely seen in America’s history. We must act now, or the toll on lives and livelihoods will be far greater,” said Republican Congressman Kevin Brady.

In a series of tweets, President Trump addressed Massie’s potential delay of the coronavirus relief bill.

“Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress,” the president tweeted.

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

He added: “Virus wasn’t their fault. 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 [the] HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”

“By empowering the Radical Left Democrats, do nothing Kentucky politician @RepThomasMassie is making their War on the 2nd Amendment more and more difficult to win (But don’t worry, we will win anyway!). He is a disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!” Trump added in another tweet.