The House convened on Friday to pass the $2 trillion relief package, known as the CARES Act, which includes $1,200 for every adult. The bill was passed to alleviate the growing economic concerns throughout the country as governments shut down commerce and citizens isolate.
The CARES Act appropriates:
- $290 billion for direct individual payments (roughly $1,200/person)
- $350 billion for small business loans
- $250 billion for unemployment, including a $600 monthly increase from standard payments
- $500 billion in loans for “distressed industries” such as airlines
- $232 billion in “business cash flow” payments
- $340 billion in related health and community appropriations
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10), reacted, stating, “This is an unprecedented moment – the coronavirus outbreak will go down in history as one of the worst crises our nation has faced: people are losing loved ones, their jobs, and small businesses built over a lifetime are failing.”
Houston Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07) added, “The magnitude of this crisis calls for an unprecedented response. I was proud to vote in support of the first two bills Congress passed in response to COVID-19, and I am proud to support the CARES Act now. The CARES Act will bring urgently needed relief to families and small businesses and provide support to our first responders on the frontlines of this crisis.”
The bill was nearly stalled when Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) threatened to object to the unanimous consent motion, to force an actual roll call vote on the $2 trillion package. But House members assembled a quorum of 216 members in order to prevent the objection.
Rep. McCaul further said, “My colleague Rep. Massie’s threat to hold up this legislation after it passed unanimously in the Senate, demanding that Members of Congress risk further spreading the COVID-19 virus by traveling from all corners of the country to D.C., is unconscionable.”
While he supported passage of the bill, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) came to Massie’s defense against the President’s criticism, stating, “[Rep. Massie] is one of the most principled men in Congress & loves his country. He is defending the Constitution today by requiring a quorum. There’s nothing 3rd rate about that.”
The CARES Act is considered Phase III of the legislature’s relief efforts. Phase I provided $8 billion in emergency funding while Phase II established expansive paid sick leave regulations for businesses.
The latest bill contains numerous other spending provisions unrelated to the coronavirus crisis, which nearly held it up in the Senate.
But ultimately, the much-anticipated relief bill made it through Congress and now it awaits President Trump’s signature.
As of today, the Centers for Disease Control says 85,356 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the U.S. — of which 1,246 have died.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.