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Fifth U.S. Lawmaker Tests Positive for Virus: Congress Update

March 27, 2020, 8:42 PM

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called House members to Washington to pass the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue plan Friday and send it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Here are the latest developments:

Fifth U.S. Lawmaker Tests Positive for Virus (4:33 p.m.)

Republican Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania said in a statement that he learned Friday he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.

Kelly said he was tested after experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier this week.

“My symptoms remain mild,” Kelly said, adding that he’ll work from home until he fully recovers.

Three other House members -- Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Ben McAdams of Utah, both Democrats, plus the GOP’s Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida -- have also tested positive, along with Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.

Fourth U.S. Lawmaker Tests Positive for COVID (2:16 p.m.)

Representative Joe Cunningham, a Democrat from South Carolina, said Friday he tested positive for COVID-19 after entering self-quarantine on March 19.

“While my symptoms have begun to improve, I will remain at home until I know it is safe to leave self-quarantine,” Cunningham said in a statement. “I am grateful that my family remains in good health and urge South Carolinians to follow the guidance and recommendations from the CDC and other health experts so that we can recover from this public health threat.”

Two other House members and one senator have also tested positive.

House Clears $2 Trillion Coronavirus Package (1:27 p.m.)

The House passed the massive spending plan on a voice vote. The economic aid measure is to be sent quickly to Trump for his signature later in the day.

House leaders thwarted Republican Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s effort to force a roll call. Leaders ensured that a quorum of more than half of the House’s members were present and refused to support Massie’s request for a recorded vote. A roll call would have taken much longer than usual because members would have entered the chamber only 30 at a time, to maintain social distancing.

The bill was passed after more than three hours of House debate.

House Leaders Have Plan to Avoid Roll-Call Vote (12:34 p.m.)

House leaders have a plan to thwart Republican Thomas Massie’s effort to force a roll-call vote on the coronavirus package, two Democratic aides and one Republican aide said. That would allow the House to pass the measure on a voice vote.

When Massie requests the recorded vote, the chair will rule that a sufficient number of members has not stood up to support the request, the aides said.

House members plan to be on the chamber’s floor and upstairs in the gallery to establish a quorum of at least 216 while also maintaining social distancing, the aides said.

Massie to Seek Roll-Call Vote on Virus Measure (11:53 a.m.)

House Republican Thomas Massie said he will insist on a roll-call vote Friday on the coronavirus response package.

“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Massie of Kentucky wrote on Twitter. “In a few moments I will request a vote on the CARES Act which means members of Congress will vote on it by pushing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘present.’”

In a string of tweets, Massie included a reference to a constitutional requirement that a quorum of the 435 House members, at least 218, be on hand to conduct business.

House Plans to Send Virus Bill to Trump Today (10:35 a.m.)

The House plans to quickly send the $2 trillion stimulus bill to President Donald Trump for his signature after it passes the House Friday, according to a senior House Democratic aide.

Unlike in past cases, there won’t be a time lag to enroll the 880-page bill on parchment before getting it to the president’s desk. Lawmakers and the administration are eager to get the bill enacted and begin delivering relief checks to individuals and loans to businesses, a process that is expected to take weeks.

House Convenes to Vote on $2 Trillion Stimulus (9 a.m.)

The House convened on Friday to vote on the coronavirus measure, with a number of them traveling to Washington in case they’re needed for a recorded vote.

House is Ready to Send Virus Measure to Trump (6 a.m.)

If no members object, the House can pass the massive bill by a simple voice vote -- but leaders are making sure enough members will be on hand for a roll-call vote, if necessary. Pelosi predicted on Thursday that the vote will be completed by noon.

The unprecedented package of loans, tax breaks and direct payments is an illustration of unity in Washington as the spread of the virus grinds the economy to a halt.

Pelosi said she’s already considering additional steps to bolster the hobbled economy and confront the health crisis, including more ventilators for patients, increased food aid and more money for state and local governments.

“We still have some unfinished business,” she said.

Catch Up on Washington’s Virus Response

  • Pelosi Predicts Quick Stimulus Passage and Pivot to Next Steps
  • Winners and Losers in Congress’s $2 Trillion Virus Rescue Plan
  • Democrats Win Stimulus Oversight, Fearing Repeat of TARP Waste

--With assistance from Laura Litvan and Laura Davison.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Erik Wasson in Washington at;
Billy House in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at

Laurie Asséo, Ros Krasny

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.