The House on Thursday passed the $484 billion pandemic relief package, providing an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses as well as additional money for hospitals and virus testing.
The vote, 388-5, stretched on for more than an hour as members, most of whom wore masks while not speaking during floor debate, took turns voting in alphabetical order.
The no votes: Republicans Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Jody Hice (GA), Thomas Massie (KY) and Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY). Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) voted present.
A new committee to oversee the federal coronavirus response: The House also voted to establish a select committee to oversee the Trump administration’s implementation of the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus relief provided by Congress. The new panel, to be led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), will include seven Democrats and five Republicans.
The vote approving the committee was 212-182, along party lines.
Republicans objected to the committee, saying it’s meant to generate political attacks against President Trump and redundant given that existing committees have jurisdiction over the pandemic response. But Democrats said that the trillions of dollars in emergency funding merited dedicated oversight.
“The committee will root out waste, fraud and abuse,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. “It will be laser-focused on ensuring that taxpayer money goes to workers, paychecks and benefits. And it will ensure that the federal response is based on the best possible science and guided by health experts, and that the money invested is not being exploited by profiteers and price gougers.”