weather icon Clear

Trump signs $2.2T coronavirus relief package after House passage

Updated March 27, 2020 - 1:41 pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed into law a sweeping $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Friday, hours after the House of Representatives passed the unprecedented measure.

The House passed the bill on a voice vote after lawmakers were forced to scramble back to the Capitol when a lone Republican bucked GOP leaders and threatened to force a roll call vote.

Trump signed the bill at a White House ceremony where GOP congressional leaders were in attendance.

“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” he said.

As the ceremony began, Trump spoke of how the new coronavirus changed life in the world and in the United States.

“We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,” Trump said.

Earlier Friday, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said time was of the essence as the death toll and number of unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to climb.

“We must act now, or the toll on lives and livelihoods will be far greater,” Brady said.

Highlights of the legislation include:

— $1,200 cash payments to most Americans.

— $500 cash payment to most families for each child.

— $500 billion for companies, states, local and tribal governments.

— $367 billion to help small businesses.

— $150 billion for hospitals.

Leaders of both parties sought to pass the measure by voice vote to accommodate members scattered around the country and reluctant to risk flying back to the Capitol.

But Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., announced Thursday that he would request a roll call vote, citing constitutional concerns that lawmakers record their vote on such a massive spending measure that will significantly add to the nation’s debt.

He did — standing to raise objection to a voice vote, or unanimous consent. But his procedural move was overcome because more than 216 lawmakers, sufficient for a quorum, were counted as present.

Trump called the Kentucky lawmaker a “third rate grandstander” on Twitter.

The president tweeted that the lawmaker was a “disgrace to America” and should be drummed out of the GOP.

Still, Massie’s move forced lawmakers to scramble to get back to the Capitol to be ready to vote.

“I’ve landed in Washington,” Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., wrote on Twitter early Friday after flying in from Las Vegas.

“Ready to go vote on the #CARESAct, giving much-needed relief to our families, small businesses, hospitals, state and local governments and schools,” Lee wrote.

As hospitals and health care workers struggle with staggering numbers of infections — which have now surpassed 85,000 people — Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said on the House floor that the bill provides “the resources they need.”

Because of the direct checks to families, Titus said, “most Americans will see tangible benefits from this recovery package.”

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., also took the floor to tout the bill’s increase in unemployment benefits and financial help for families struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“This body is here to send a united message to the American people,” Horsford said. “Help is on the way.”

Horsford said the bill increases unemployment benefits and extends the length of unemployment from three to four months.

“We are going above and beyond for our country’s workers,” Horsford said.

The lone Republican in the state delegation, Rep. Mark Amodei, said the bill would provide much-needed relief for Nevada.

“Workers are hurting, small businesses are hurting, and hospitals are in desperate need of supplies … so why let perfect be the enemy of good?” Amodei asked.

“While we can never say mission accomplished, this package will provide urgent and immediate relief to workers on the job, the unemployed, distressed industries, and our health care professionals and first responders on the front lines,” the Carson City lawmaker said.

The Senate passed the bill, 96-0, on Wednesday. The unanimous vote followed days of delay brought on by Democrat and Republican senators who sought to tweak the bill over ideological programs and spending.

It was an extraordinary day as lawmakers were seated in the public galleries that ringed the House floor in order to provide distance from one another and obey public health protocols.

Below, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke of bipartisan cooperation to put together the massive package of aid.

Both sought to expedite passage with a voice vote in order to move the bill quicker to the president’s desk.

In addition to the items in the bill, lawmakers included restrictions on the aid.

There is language in the bill that would prevent the president, White House officials, members of Congress or their staffs from receiving federal funds or loans in the package.

Language was also included to prevent companies from using the aid for stock buybacks or executive compensation, a situation that marred the 2008 Wall Street bailout.

Nevada casinos, hotels and tourism businesses would be eligible to apply for assistance designed to protect workers from layoffs and keep large companies solvent. The state’s lawmakers and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce had lobbied for the aid.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Nevada Rep. Horsford admits to having affair - VIDEO
Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford admitted to having an affair with Gabriela Linder, a former intern for Sen. Harry Reid. Linder detailed her account of the affair in a podcast she called, "Mistress for Congress." (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak says businesses will begin reopening under phase 1 - VIDEO
The first phase of reopening Nevada’s businesses will begin Saturday, May 9, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation - VIDEO
The former senate aide claims Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator. Biden first denied the accusations via a public post on Medium. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RJ interview with Sisolak on the reopening plan for Nevada - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Review-Journal interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak on the plan for reopening Nevada during the coronavirus pandemic. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak reacts to Goodman CNN interview- VIDEO
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman repeated her call to immediately reopen businesses during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, leading to a reaction from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak praises Nevadans for staying at home, saving lives - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday it’s still too early to know when the state’s COVID-19 shutdown orders could be lifted or when businesses could start to reopen their doors. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump gives governors 3-phase approach to open US - VIDEO
President Donald Trump declared victory in America’s war against the “invisible enemy” as the president’s Coronavirus Task Force released “Opening up America Again” guidelines. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump names Jacky Rosen to task force on reopening economy - VIDEO
President Donald Trump named Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., to be a member of his Opening Up America Again Congressional Group Thursday to advise him on coronavirus policy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for president - VIDEO
On April 13, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders announced his official endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders drops out of 2020 Democratic race for president - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont officially announced an end to his 2020 presidential bid on Wednesday. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic National Convention postponed - VIDEO
The Democratic National Convention was set to take place over four days in the middle of July. Democratic officials have now confirmed the convention will take place the week of Aug. 17. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson allows immediate sale of alcohol with curbside pickup - VIDEO
The city of Henderson decided Thursday evening to allow alcohol to be sold by restaurants as part of their curbside pickup service during the COVID-19 crisis. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sisolak signs order banning any gathering of 10 or more people - VIDEO
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Tuesday signed a new order banning any gathering of 10 or more people in Nevada in another step the state has taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Takeaways from the president's daily briefing on coronavirus - VIDEO
RJ Washington correspondent Debra Saunders talks about today's daily White House news conference regarding the coronavirus outbreak, Friday, March 20, 2020. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judicial Department 5 Debate - Video
The Las Vegas Review-Journal hosts a debate between the 3 candidates running for Department 5 in Clark County District Court. Participating are Veronica M. Barisich, Terry A. Coffing and Blair Cowan Parker.
Trump cancels Las Vegas trip because of ‘coronavirus outbreak’ - VIDEO
President Donald Trump canceled planned travel to Las Vegas ‘out of an abundance of caution’ amid virus outbreak. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump signs $8.3 billion coronavirus package - VIDEO
President Trump signed a bill providing $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreaK, Friday, March 6, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sen. Cortez Masto shows support for Judge Togliatti - VIDEO
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto shows her support for senior state District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti to be appointed to the federal bench in Nevada. (Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto)
Sen. Rosen supports Judge Togliatti - VIDEO
Sen. Jacky Rosen shows her support for Nevada Judge Jennifer Togliatti to be appointed to the federal bench. (Sen. Jacky Rosen)
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews resigns following series of controversies - VIDEO
The "Hardball" host announced his departure Monday night, March 2, 2020, effective immediately. The anchor recently came under fire for comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucasus to the Nazi conquest of France in 1940. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Candidates file for office in Clark County - VIDEO
Amy Klobuchar drops out of 2020 presidential race - VIDEO
On March 2, campaign officials announced Amy Klobuchar’s decision to suspend her presidential bid. The news comes on the eve of Super Tuesday and just one day after Pete Buttigieg also announced his decision to depart from the race. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Activist shouts warnings at Nevada Democratic chairman's home - VIDEO
A Southern California activist and supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders spent nearly an hour shouting warnings and condemnations of the Democratic Party through a megaphone at the home of Nevada Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II on the eve of last week’s presidential caucuses, prompting him to call the police. (Maria Estrada)
Biden leaves home to make 1st in-person appearance in 2 months

Since abruptly canceling a March 10 rally in Cleveland at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has waged much of his campaign from his home in Wilmington.

Without full capacity, Trump threatens to pull GOP meeting from NC

President Donald Trump threatened Monday to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state’s Democratic governor doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

White House imposes coronavirus travel ban on Brazil

The White House on Sunday broadened its travel ban against countries hard-hit by the coronavirus by denying admission to foreigners who have been in Brazil during the two-week period before they hoped to enter the U.S.

Trump plays golf for 1st time since the coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump played golf Saturday for the first time since he declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency more than two months ago, leading to the shutdown of much of American society.