By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – President Donald Trump signed Friday a gargantuan $2.2 trillion stimulus package into law meant to blunt the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said the package is "the single biggest economic relief package in American History – twice as large as any relief bill ever enacted."
"This bill will deliver urgently-needed relief for our nation’s families, workers, and businesses," Trump said on Twitter, shortly after signing the bipartisan legislation.
The House of Representatives earlier Friday passed the legislation after the Senate did so, despite objections from a rogue Republican who wanted to delay its approval.
Thomas Massie sought a roll call vote that would have required many members of Congress return to Washington from their home states amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Massie's effort earlier drew a stern rebuke from his fellow Republicans and Trump who called the Kentucky representative "a third rate Grandstander," and called for him to be expelled from the Republican party.
"He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly," Trump fumed on Twitter. "Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault."
Following the voice vote Massie took to the House floor demanding a voice vote, saying he "came here to make sure our republic doesn't die by unanimous consent in an empty chamber and I request a recorded vote."
The request was denied due to a lack of support in the chamber, and a quorum was deemed present.
The Trump administration will now scramble to implement the sweeping bill, which includes $1,200 payments to many Americans, bolsters unemployment benefits and offers hundreds of millions of dollars in economic assistance for large corporations and small businesses struggling to cope with the economic impacts of efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
The U.S. economy has cratered as people have stayed home, and business have shuttered with droves of people being laid off as state and local governments have instituted measures to limit person-to-person spread of the virus.
There are 586,140 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, including 26,864 deaths, according to data being compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The U.S. is the country with the single-most cases with 97,200 infections, surpassing tallies in China and Italy, according to the university.