Conservative lawmaker Rep Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) is actually about to hold up an emergency coronavirus bill that is due to head from the House to the Senate, according to House aides.
Gohmert is unhappy with it as it stands and has asked for several technical corrections to be read on the House floor before he will allow the already House-passed bill to be taken to the upper chamber. The corrections were still in negotiations as of Monday, House aides confirm.
A GOP aide connected to the situation said, “He’s concerned and wants all of the changes to be made public before the vote.”
Gohmert’s plan threatens to stop House leaders from using unanimous consent policies to enact the technical fixes once they’re finished. If Gohmert doesn’t back down, it will mean a vote of the full House will be needed to overcome the block. The problem with this? Many lawmakers have now left Washington to return to their districts in the wake of the national emergency.
Gohmert’s office declined to comment on Monday. Another GOP aide said that the Texas Rep. may not block the package if chamber leaders agree to the public reading he has requested.
The GOP aide said, “Gohmert isn’t likely to object unless there’s a strong resistance in the Senate to what’s being done…Which I doubt there will be.”
House Democrats were working on technical fixes for a huge legislative package that is intended to help relieve some of the financial burden facing coronavirus victims. The package allows for an expansion of unemployment insurance and calls for extension of paid leave and provisions for food to help low-income and at-risk children who are having to miss meals because of mass school closings.
That proposal passed the House this weekend but glitches have forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to negotiate some of the language before they deliver the bill to the Senate.
The Senate has canceled the recess it had on the books in order to consider the House coronavirus package since it is time sensitive although it’s not been said when the upper chamber will hear the proposal.