House members scrambled to fly back to Washington amid the coronavirus outbreak after a single Republican threatened to derail a bipartisan vote on a $2 trillion economic relief bill, NBC News reports.
The House was set to approve the Senate-passed bill by voice vote after most members returned to their districts weeks earlier but Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie threatens to upend the proceeding.
"If it were just about helping people to get more unemployment [benefits] to get through this calamity that, frankly, the governors have wrought on the people, then I could be for it," Massie said in a radio interview on Thursday.
"I'm having a really hard time with this. Because they're saying, well it's hard to travel, yadda yadda yadda," Massie said. "Well, last night, 96 out of 100 senators voted. All we would need is 218 out of 435 to vote."
Members scramble back:
"Members are advised that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned members on Thursday.
Members scrambled to return to Washington.
"The CARES Act is historic legislation, which is why I'm driving back to DC to help get this thing over the finish line,” said Michigan Rep. Fred Upton.
"I am jumping on the red eye tonight... thanks Massie," said Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego.
"Members are encouraged to follow the guidance of their local and state health officials, however if they are able and willing to be in Washington D.C. by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, members are encouraged to do so with caution," Hoyer's notice to members said.
Trump lashes out:
"You might have one grandstander," President Donald Trump said during a news briefing Thursday. "It will pass. It will just take a little longer."
Trump demanded that Massie be kicked out of the GOP on Friday.
“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. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly. Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive,” Trump wrote. “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 HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”