FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2018 file photo, lights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington. Dozens of web addresses implying U.S. senators were “for sale” have been quietly and mysteriously purchased online, amid heightened concerns on Capitol Hill that foreign agents _ especially Russians _ might be trying to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. The Associated Press has determined that Democrats were responsible. The cybersecurity director for the sergeant-at-arms in the Senate has begun to look into the matter. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
A source has told Fox News that Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who is adamantly opposed to a voice vote on the Coronavirus Stimulus bill, is threatening to object, which could cause an unnecessary delay in the House vote.
In a voice vote, members are asked who is in favor of the bill, then who is opposed. Whichever side is the loudest wins the vote. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday by a 96-0 unanimous vote.
A senior Republican source who wishes to remain anonymous told Fox, “It’s the Thomas Massie show…He is going to do it.”
This source said, “leadership had tried every type of arm twisting — and it’s not working.” He told Fox he has been contacting other House members and telling them to return to Washington “so that a quorum of 216 members could be established if Massie or another member were to demand one.”
He added that a member of the House Freedom Caucus who is close to Massie called to persuade him to allow the voice vote, however, Massie was not swayed. “We have been riding [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi for stalling things, and now this.”
Dear @RepThomasMassie: If you intend to delay passage of the #coronavirus relief bill tomorrow morning, please advise your 428 colleagues RIGHT NOW so we can book flights and expend ~$200,000 in taxpayer money to counter your principled but terribly misguided stunt. #thankyou
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) March 26, 2020
A Fox reporter asked if there were any others who might object to a voice vote, and a different source answered, “There are others who are egging him on.”
One “livid” senior House Democratic aide yelled, “He had better not do that! He’s going to make everyone in the building get [coronavirus].”
Another source said, “A lot of members are pi–ed off. If we don’t have a quorum on tomorrow, we’ll definitely have one by Saturday.”
According to the schedule, the House will convene on Friday morning at 9. Members will debate for two hours. The schedule states:
Members are advised that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote.
Members are encouraged to follow the guidance of their local and state health officials, however if they are able and willing to be in Washington D.C. by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Members are encouraged to do so with caution.
At his daily task force briefing, President Trump weighed in. “You might have one grandstander. It will pass. It will just take a little longer.”
A GOP Congressman told Fox on Thursday night, “I’m coming to D.C. to ensure the bill passes. It’s frustrating having to be prepared for this scenario…I really wish members would put people first and just get this done. Heck, if 100 percent of senators can agree, it’s pretty clear this is going to pass. Only thing a member would be doing is holding it up at great risk to the American people. It’s very troublesome a member of Congress would engage in such a tactic.”
A voice vote would require fewer members to return to Washington and it would be faster. According to Fox:
After the voice vote, any member simply may call for “a recorded vote.” That automatically would trigger the roll call.
That’s where House members insert cards into electronic voting machines and vote either yes, no or present. The House then documents and records the ballot of each member.
In the event a roll-call vote were to be needed because Massie demands one, leadership could push to delay the vote until Saturday to give members time to travel back to D.C., according to the two congressional sources.
The plan for a roll-call vote is to divide the members into 16 groups of 30 members apiece to file into the chamber “to minimize the risks posed by placing too many individuals in one location,” according to an internal security memo obtained by Fox News. The security memo can be viewed here.
House leadership has been trying to determine how many members will return to Washington for the vote. One source guessed it could be anywhere from 70 to 150.