President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package that will result in individual checks being sent to Americans, loans going to small businesses and aid for industries hard hit by the coronavirus.
‘We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,’ President Trump said during the signing ceremony at the Oval Office. ‘I want to thank Republicans and Democrats for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first.’
The president joked about the package’s trillion-dollar price tag.
‘I’ve never signed anything with a T on it,’ he said.
Even though the president called it bipartisan work, he was only surrounded by Republican lawmakers and members of his Cabinet at the signing ceremony, Mail reports.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, both of whom worked with the administration in negotiations led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, were notably absent.
The legislation includes individual checks to Americans that are due to be sent out in the next three weeks.
The funds include $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. That would result in $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.
The measure moved to the White House after the House overcame a move by a rogue lawmaker to hold it up.
The threat from Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky united President Trump, Speaker Pelosi and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy in anger against him.
The legislation passed the House by a voice vote in under two minutes on Friday afternoon, after the Senate passed it unanimously on Wednesday. President Trump will sign it into law at the White House on Friday afternoon.
The package – which offers loans to small businesses, individual checks to Americans, and aid to industries affected by the coronavirus – is the largest stimulus package passed in congressional history, beating out the financial bailout of 2008.
It was a remarkable feat of legislative work. For a branch of government known for its slow pace, the package came together in just under a week with round-the-clock negotiations taking place with House and Senate leadership in conjunction with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who led the effort for the administration.
‘We are all a family and like many families, we have our differences but we all know what is important to us,’ Pelosi said after the vote was completed. And, in a sign of the bipartisanship at work, McCarthy joined her for the signing ceremony, which is rare for the leader of the opposition party to do.
But the work was threatened Thursday night when Massie made it known he was uncomfortable with the legislation passing by unanimous consent – a procedure typically used for noncontroversial legislation – instead of a roll call vote, which would leave a record of how each lawmaker voted.
Massie made it known he would object to the voice vote and ask for a roll call vote, which would require a quorum of lawmakers on the House floor. Leadership had objected to that on the grounds it was dangerous for some lawmakers to travel during the pandemic.
And leaders were prepared to counter Massie’s move.
Pelosi, who, as Speaker of the House, is the final speaker ahead of any vote, told lawmakers to make their way to the chamber.
‘The sooner you come, the shorter my remarks will be,’ she said to chuckles from the lawmakers in the chamber.
‘Right now we’re going to pass this legislation,’ she said, adding ‘we know this will not be the final bill’ to address the fallout from the coronavirus.
In preparation for the vote Friday afternoon, the lawmakers who made it to Washington D.C. for the vote, in order to obey proper social distancing practices, spread out to sit on the House floor and in the public galleries looking over the chamber in order to keep the recommended six feet between them.
In a notice to lawmakers before the vote, leaders on both sides of the aisle told members they ‘are strongly advised to remain seated during’ Massie’s request for a recorded vote.