WASHINGTON — A U.S. House-passed package intended to deal with the coronavirus faced serious jeopardy, including a potential delay caused by a Texan, as the Senate anticipated addressing the legislation Monday.
The bill faced trouble in several directions, but U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, is putting up an initial roadblock. House leaders are currently sorting out what they describe as "technical corrections" on the bill. Gohmert is demanding the revised legislation be read on the floor, per multiple reports.
Most House members returned to their districts over the weekend. The changes could glide through that chamber without their return if no present members object to a motion to unanimously consent to passing the bill. But if there is an objection, all House members must return to Washington to pass the bill — a process that could take days.
"We still do not have a final draft of the negotiated changes being called ’technical corrections’ and some of us believe that the newly worded laws should be finished before we pass them. #CoronaVirus," Gohmert tweeted Monday afternoon.
The package in its current form will allocate funds for free coronavirus testing, expand sick leave provisions and bloster SNAP funding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin struck the deal on Friday and it passed by an overwhelming bipartisan margin early Saturday morning.
"I'd like to know how I'm holding up a bill from going to the Senate that hasn't been written yet?" Gohmert tweeted in response to characterizations that he was responsible for stonewalling the legislation. "Most Senators are not even back in DC yet. #FakeNews"
Gohmert was one of several Texas Republican members who objected to the rushed nature of the bill's negotiations and package.