During the House’s debate Friday on the Senate’s unanimously passed $2.2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief bill, freshman Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens (MI) resorted to screaming out her message on the House floor, while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) unsuccessfully attempted to gain control of the situation. In response to the congresswoman’s outburst, the room exploded in jeers and boos.
The raucous scene began when Stevens requested 30 more seconds to finish reading her written statement to the House. But when Hoyer tried to move on to the next representative, Stevens raised her voice, eventually screaming loudly a statement that appears to have been intended to be both a warning and a message of solidarity with the American public.
“I request 30 more seconds because I rise before you [inaudible] not for personal attention, not for personal attention, but to encourage you to take this disease seriously,” she exclaimed in an increasingly rapid and forceful delivery in which she expressed solidarity with “every American who is scared right now.”
After Hoyer relented and allowed Stevens to conclude her scripted declaration, she screamed: “As in similar times of trying medical need, wars and flus passed, you will see darkness, you will be pushed, and our society needs you to stand together at this time. Our country loves you. To our doctors and our nurses, I wear these latex gloves to tell every American to not be afraid…”
At that point, the majority leader had had enough and finally cut Stevens off with an emphatic slamming of the gavel. Video of the wild moment has begun circulating online. WATCH:
— Joe Pounder (@PounderFile) March 27, 2020
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju reported on the moment Friday.
“A raucous scene on the floor: Rep. Haley Stevens, a typically mild-mannered freshman from Michigan, goes over her allotted time and the presiding officer tells her her time is up, bangs his gavel and she continued to shout her speech as members were loudly telling her to stop,” he wrote in a pair of tweets. “Steny Hoyer asked for her to have some additional time, but she went beyond that and Hoyer was gently trying to get her to wrap up — as the chair was banging the gavel down. Wearing pink plastic gloves, she said loudly, ‘I yield back,’ slamming her speech on the table.”
Stevens has posted some messages about the coronavirus pandemic online, including a tweet on March 17 promising her constituents that she would “not leave anyone behind.”
“This pandemic is wreaking hardship on our lives,” she wrote. “As your Congresswoman, I will not leave anyone behind, & I am pushing to get immediate federal triage to this situation on the healthcare & economic front. What’s on your mind & what are you experiencing?”
Another bit of relief bill debate drama occurred Friday sparked by a “maverick” Republican representative, Thomas Massie (R-KY), who “set the House on edge by threatening to try to force a roll call vote,” as reported by the Star Tribune. “Party leaders had hoped to pass the measure by voice vote without lawmakers having to take the risk of traveling to Washington,” the outlet explained.
Trump responded by unloading on Massie, whom he declared a “third rate grandstander.”