The U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised coronavirus relief bill on Monday night with unanimous consent as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer introduced a third multi-billion-dollar COVID-19 package.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act package initially passed 363 to 40 on Saturday following intense negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Mnuchin hashed out technical changes to the bill before passing it on to the Senate, which could vote as soon as Tuesday.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who initially voted against the package, had threatened to hold it up on Monday, stating he would not give consent without reading the changes, but later rescinded his objection.
“There’s no question in my mind what are being called technical corrections make the bill better than it was when it got passed in the wee hours of Saturday morning.,” he said from the House floor on Monday. “So because of that, speaker, I withdraw my objection.”
The package was introduced last Wednesday with aims to include free COVID-19 testing for anyone in need, paid sick leave and enhanced unemployment insurance. It also contains protections for frontline workers, increased federal funds for Medicaid and more than $1 billion to strengthen food security initiatives.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle “are eager to act quickly” to help the American people during the health crisis, suggesting it could easily pass there and onto President Donald Trump’s desk.
“Senate Republicans are absolutely convinced that the house’s hill can only be the beginning, just the beginning of Congress’ efforts to secure our economy and support American families,” McConnell said.
Trump said Monday that Republican senators “may make it even better” when it arrives there.
“They’re working together very well with the House,” Trump told reporters during a press briefing with the Coronavirus Task Force. “They’re working to only enhance it and make it better, and make it fair for everybody. And that’s what we’re looking to do. So, we may go back and forth with the House a little bit, but both will be in a very positive fashion.”
Schumer announced Monday that Senate Democrats will present a third coronavirus response package of $750 billion to wage war against the disease and the “economic crisis it is now causing.”
He said the funding will address hospital and treatment capacity issues, expand unemployment insurance and increase Medicaid funding as well as fund emergency child care, help schools administer remote education and ensure senior citizen medicine and food delivery, among a slew of other measures.
Trump signed the first coronavirus response bill earlier this month — A $8.3 billion package that included funding for local officials on the frontlines and $3 billion in vaccine research.
As of Monday afternoon, there were 3,487 confirmed cases of the virus and 68 deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.