Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who tried over the weekend to derail a bipartisan, multi-trillion dollar coronavirus relief package by introducing her own handout-packed 1,400 page bill, has already gaveled the House of Representatives out of session Wednesday and will not commit to bringing a Senate bill, passed in the wee hours of Tuesday night, to a vote.
In an statement issued Tuesday night, Pelosi said merely that “House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action,” but stopped short of committing to bring the hard-fought bill, which was negotiated over the course of five days, in two rounds — one over the weekend and one in session Monday and Tuesday — to the floor of the House for a vote, leaving the legislation, which could mean economic survival for millions impacted by coronavirus lockdowns, in limbo.
Instead, she added that the Senate negotiations, which involved Republicans, Democrats, and members of the Trump administration, had merely taken Congress “a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people.”
“Thanks to the unity and insistence of Senate and House Democrats, the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers,” the California Democratic leader added, again stopping short of suggesting the bill would receive consideration in the House.
Pelosi’s statement went mostly without acknowledgement Tuesday night, particularly among legislators proud to have inked the $2 trillion deal designed to buoy Americans left unable to work amid the coronavirus pandemic and boost the country’s chances of surviving an inevitable economic downturn.
But Wednesday morning, as the House gaveled into session, it suddenly became clear that Pelosi did not intend to have House members review the bill; the House went in and out of session in just under three minutes.
“House was in this morning at 10 a.m. and 42 seconds. Out at 10:02 and 37 seconds No business of note. No resignations, etc. Back in tomorrow at 11 a.m.,” Politico’s Jake Sherman reported Wednesday morning.
He later added that, “To be abundantly, 100% clear: This means the House is not likely to vote on the Senate’s coronavirus bill today.”
Pelosi confirmed the lack of a vote to Politico’s Heather Coyle, who reported that “Pelosi also said there’s ‘no way’ to pass the bill on the House floor today.”
Logistically, Pelosi may be correct. The Senate has yet to move the legislation through, and will likely pass the bill sometime today. But Coyle also reports that Pelosi and her caucuses have a copy of the bill and could gavel into an emergency session as early as this evening, if House Members believe the coronavirus relief package is truly important — and the House was expected to vote on the bill by unanimous consent, because Pelosi was expected to abide by Schumer’s negotiations (and subsequent agreement) on the bill.
Even that seems in doubt now. As Schumer and Senate Democrats were hammering out what they thought was an acceptable deal, House progressives, like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) were fighting him behind the scenes, tweeting out their own objections to the Senate bill.
I will not support a bill that prioritizes a $500 billion corporate slush fund over financial relief to workers, families, and communities.
Let’s get our priorities straight. pic.twitter.com/52ZYbteJMW
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 24, 2020
Others joined the socialist Center for Popular Democracy for an online meetup to discuss a “more just” relief package, signaling that the House would not, in fact, vote on the bill by unanimous consent.