Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she might force her House colleagues to return to Capitol Hill to vote on a major economic relief bill meant to help people and businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Concerned that the $2 trillion package may do too many favors for corporations, the freshman New York Democrat told CNN she is considering taking a stand against a deal that has bipartisan support by objecting to unanimous approval.
Ocasio-Cortez said she is “open” to forcing a recorded vote, which would require lawmakers to return to Washington, D.C., to cast their votes in-person, “if necessary.” She also acknowledged that doing so would be unpopular with other legislators.
“With the health risks of travel, there is no easy choice here. 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, it may be something we have to do,” she said.
Such a move could delay the final passage of the coronavirus emergency relief spending bill. Bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate said they hoped to pass it quickly, but they must first convince rank-and-file lawmakers to support it. Earlier in the day, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will take up and pass the legislation on Wednesday.
The bill will provide direct cash payments to individuals and families, small business grants, aid to states and healthcare facilities, and loans to big corporations.
House leaders favor a voice vote that would not require all 430 sitting members of Congress to return to the Capitol. But the bill can only pass without a roll-call vote if no lawmakers object. Any lawmaker can block a unanimous consent agreement, which will make it difficult to pass the legislation without summoning back the full House.
Two House members and one senator, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, have tested positive for the virus, and several others have decided to quarantine themselves after being in contact with someone who tested positive for it.
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