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 MassieThomas Harold MassieOvernight Defense: Pentagon curtails more exercises over coronavirus | House passes Iran war powers measure | Rocket attack hits Iraqi base with US troops House passes measure limiting Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump on US coronavirus risks: ‘We’re very, very ready for this’ MORE (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 HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Airbnb – Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill Hoyer says House expects to pass Coronavirus bill on Friday Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package MORE (D-Md.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHoyer says House expects to pass Coronavirus bill on Friday Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Last-minute complaints threaten T coronavirus aid deal | What’s in the package | Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage | Expanded testing shows signs of strain McCarthy opposes unanimous consent on T coronavirus response MORE (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.