The Washington Post reports:
The House overwhelmingly passed an economic relief bill early Saturday for the coronavirus, dedicating tens of billions of dollars for paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, free testing and other measures to help Americans impacted by the crisis.
The 363-40 vote — gaveled down just before 1 a.m. — capped two days of volatile negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that threatened to fall apart entirely for hours Friday amid GOP misgivings. But even after President Trump criticized House Democrats at an afternoon news conference Pelosi and Mnuchin kept at it, speaking by phone 13 times in the course of the day Friday and finally clinching a deal.
Not long thereafter Trump endorsed the legislation over Twitter, ensuring widespread GOP support.
“This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers,” Trump wrote, adding that he was directing Cabinet secretaries to issue regulations ensuring small businesses would not be hurt by mandates in the bill.
“I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! I will always put the health and well-being of American families FIRST,” the president wrote. “Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”
The agreement reached Friday is primarily aimed at expanding the safety net to cope with the potentially catastrophic economic impact of the coronavirus. In addition to ensuring free coronavirus testing, the plan would dramatically increase several benefits, particularly family medical leave and paid sick leave, while also bolstering unemployment insurance; spending on health insurance for the poor; and food programs for children and the elderly.
Congressman Cline joined 39 other Republicans to vote NO– the only member of Congress from Virginia to do so. It’s unfortunate that in a rare instance when he defied Trump’s wishes, it was to oppose a vital measure to protect the health and well-being of all Americans in a national emergency– especially low-income workers and those with few resources.
Cline likes to remind us: “In one of my first speeches after being sworn in, I reintroduced four words to Congress that Washington needs to hear again and again: we can’t afford it.” However he is very selective about what he thinks we can and can’t afford.
In case you were unaware, Congressman: Sometimes there are moments when we can’t afford not to act.
Update: Cline tries to justify his vote. Surely he must understand the gravity and urgency of the situation. I’m not sure why he’s smiling.