Our Rights Matter, Especially in a Pandemic
Late last week, the House passed “phase three” of the Coronavirus economic relief package, but not without some turmoil. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came to an agreement, the Senate passed the CARES Act (H.R. 748) unanimously. Once again, the public did not have a chance to read the bill before it passed. However, as it was going for a final vote, word of harmful spending measures trickled out, and a few House Republicans were not happy.
Pelosi announced there would be a voice vote on the CARES Act. When a voice vote is conducted, votes are recorded as all in favor or all oppose. Individual votes are not tallied. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) found this as an irresponsible move for a bill that will cost taxpayers $2 trillion, especially one that includes provisions that will not serve the American people. He told House Leadership that he would request a roll call. Both Democrats and Republicans were unhappy with this because it meant they would have to fly back to Washington, D.C. to cast their vote.
Massie’s request for a roll call vote was overruled by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) who was presiding over the House for that day. When Massie pointed out that a quorum of 218 members was not present, Brown ignored that fact and passed the legislation by a voice vote anyway. Shortly after, both Republicans and Democrats, including the President, criticized his actions. However, Massie was doing his job as a representative of his district and the American people by allowing each of us to have a voice for or against the bill. House members undermined the Constitution that day.
Shortly after that drama died down, President Trump came to blows with the automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM). While other American car manufacturers, like Ford, have pivoted from their typical production to make medical-grade ventilators, GM was unwilling. This did not set well with the President, so he invoked the Defense Production Act, a wartime tool that forces industries to create specific much-needed products. While this made Conservatives uneasy, Pelosi did not think the President’s actions went far enough and called for large-scale corporate mandates. GM has begrudgingly agreed to make ventilators, but we must not allow the Socialist and Communist principles of government-controlled corporations to creep in.
Looking ahead, President Trump and Speaker Pelosi are already planning to craft “phase four” of the Coronavirus economic relief package. This one will focus on infrastructure and will cost taxpayers another $2 trillion. At this point, it is unclear if the bill will be a bipartisan effort. McConnell is not interested in taking the lead and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants to see the outcomes of the first three phases before starting another. Regardless, the House will not come back into session until April 20th, which means nothing will be passed until then.
Eagle Forum is keeping a careful watch on Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure our American freedoms are not being compromised. We will keep you informed of any executive action taken while Congress is out of session.