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Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday she might be inclined to delay passage of a $2 trillion bipartisan coronavirus stimulus package.
Senate lawmakers from both parties and the White House struck a tentative deal early Wednesday to move forward on legislation to offer relief to American workers and businesses currently being affected by nationwide shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday morning, NBC News reported.
“In effect, this is a wartime level of investment for our nation,” McConnell added.
“Struggling Americans are going to go to their mailboxes and find four-figure checks to help with their bills. Why? Because the Senate stepped up.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said, “Help is on the way, big help.”
If the deal is passed by the Senate, it could make its way to President Donald Trump’s desk quickly, with CNN reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus on Wednesday she would like for the House to adopt the measure by unanimous consent.
As The Hill noted, a bill can only be passed by unanimous consent if no lawmakers object.
But Ocasio-Cortez says she is currently deciding whether or not she might request a recorded, in-person vote on the relief package in the House.
The move would force House members who are not currently in Washington, D.C., to travel there to vote.
“With the health risks of travel, there is no easy choice here,” the freshman lawmaker from New York told CNN.
“But essential workers are showing up and putting their health at risk every day, and if the final text of a bill is set up to hurt them, [a recorded vote] may be something we have to do,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez said she had not yet seen a final draft of the bill.
But “I’m open” to forcing a recorded vote “if necessary,” she said.
CNN reported that if Ocasio-Cortez decides to ask for a recorded vote, it could delay passage of the legislation by several days.
Pelosi said in a conference call with her Democratic colleagues she’s discussed with the House physician’s office any precautions that might need to be taken in the event of a recorded vote, a source close to congressional negations told CNN.
Axios White House reporter Alayna Treene reported Pelosi supports the bipartisan bill, but did complain it was not as far-reaching as a bill introduced by House Democrats on Monday.
“This bipartisan legislation takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people. While the compromise does not go as far as our[s] … the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi statement on the "Phase 3" stimulus deal:
"This bipartisan legislation takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people. While the compromise does not go as far as our[s] … the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers" pic.twitter.com/BIWmQRWpi1
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) March 25, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez was not the only lawmaker to express concern about adopting the measure via unanimous consent.
“I know we’re in a very challenging time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.
“I know we have members who are quarantined, members who are battling the virus, members in New York City who could not travel here without 14 days, but I don’t believe we should pass a $2 trillion package by unanimous consent.”
Later, Pelosi acknowledged to PBS that “I don’t think we can get unanimous consent” on the bill.
ON A VOTE: "I don't think we can get unanimous consent," but doesn't give timeline once Senate passes it.
— Meredith Lee (@meredithllee) March 25, 2020
The Senate was set to vote on the legislation at some point Wednesday evening, NBC reported.