After two days of debate, the House of Representatives appears poised to vote on an emergency relief bill for Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin almost a dozen times on Thursday to try and forge an agreement. In her address on Friday, Pelosi announced that today they "are passing a bill" that puts families first, but she did not say whether or not they had earned that Republican support.
The three most important parts of the bill are "testing, testing, testing," Pelosi explained, facilitating free coronavirus testing for anyone who needs a test, including the uninsured. It also offers two weeks of paid sick leave for those affected by the virus, and strengthens unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the disease.
As GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explained on Thursday, Republicans were hesitant about some provisions that would force businesses to provide paid leave without any sunset periods. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) added that he was opposed to the "social engineering" that Democrats were supposedly trying to add into the legislation.
But, Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told media that they are moving forward on a vote, with GOP support or not. The vote is not expected before 2:30 p.m. ET.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says in statement House will vote on some iteration of the coronavirus reponse bill today, but not before 2.30pET. pic.twitter.com/kGbzBAj6Nn— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) March 13, 2020
If President Trump opposes the measure, however, it won't get very far in the Senate. The president is addressing the nation again at 3 p.m. ET, where he will declare a national emergency.