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Rep. Amash Signals He May Single-Handedly Delay Coronavirus Relief Bill

Representative Justin Amash (R, Mich.) arrives for a House Oversight Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Update: Amash said later in the day Wednesday that he would not block a request for unanimous consent if both parties support the coronavirus stimulus bill but urged Congress to “reconsider what it’s doing.”

“If they have majorities to pass it, then objecting to unanimous consent merely delays the inevitable. I won’t do that,” Amash wrote in a tweet. But members MUST BE REQUIRED to go on the record with how they would have voted.”

 

Representative Justin Amash signaled Wednesday that he may delay the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Senate leaders reached with the Trump administration hours earlier, calling the plan “a raw deal for the people.”

The Michigan independent, who left the Republican Party last year, suggested he may block unanimous consent should the House choose to use it for the coronavirus package, forcing a roll call vote on the emergency funding bill that would require lawmakers to return to Washington. Such a move would delay consideration in the lower chamber of the package, which was agreed to after five days of marathon negotiations between Senate leaders and the Trump administration.

“This bipartisan deal is a raw deal for the people,” Amash wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. “It does far too little for those who need the most help, while providing hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, massively growing government, inhibiting economic adaptation, and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.”

The bill, the third coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress, provides $367 billion in loans to help small businesses hit hard by the outbreak to keep making payroll, $100 billion for hospitals, and $150 billion for state and local governments. The plan also provides for Americans who make up to $75,000 to receive a one-time payment of $1,200. A $500 billion fund earmarked for corporations that have been economically damaged by the pandemic will be overseen by an inspector general and a congressional panel in accordance with Democrats’ demands.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who negotiated the funding package with senators, urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the Senate version of the funding package without changing it, adding that President Trump would “absolutely” sign it as is.

“House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action,” Pelosi said Wednesday in a statement.

Rather than providing a large fund for corporations, Amash supports giving $1,250 to each American adult and $500 to each child every month for the next three months, unless the lockdowns end sooner, at which point Congress can renew, modify, or discontinue the payments as it sees fit.

Amash’s office did not respond immediately to request for comment.

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