WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Representatives from around the Midwest made a mad dash to Washington to pass a massive $2.2 trillion stimulus package for Americans slammed by closures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“There were two members of Congress on the plan out of the total of four passengers,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., described his flight in.
The package cleared Congress Friday afternoon and was immediately signed into effect by President Donald Trump.
“Give (Americans) the revenue and the opportunity and the cash flow to get through this,” Davis urged his colleagues on the House floor before the bill passed.
A large chunk of the money will go straight to families, with the stimulus promising $1,200 checks to most, expanded unemployment benefits and billions in loans for large and small businesses.
“We are all concerned for our families, for our friends, for our farmers, for our futures,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said.
She and Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., said their communities need the lifeline.
“In our area, we’ve already been hit hard by the grounding due to the 737 MAX issues, but now small businesses are facing uncertainty,” Estes said.
Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., was pleased the bill protects Americans from evictions, saying “we are in this fight together.”
But not everyone was on board with the measure. Before the vote, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., requested a roll call vote, causing delay and sparking backlash from both sides. He was overruled.
“This is an important moment,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., told Nexstar, acknowledging that while the bill wasn’t perfect, “we’re actually strengthening the economy, keeping it sustained.”
Lawmakers are already planning to draft a fourth coronavirus response bill. That one may take a bit longer to pass: the House is out of session until March 31 and the Senate until April 20.