Only four House Republicans and one Democrat bucked their party leaders and voted against a nearly half-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief package Thursday, a sign that lawmakers overwhelmingly recognize that American families and businesses are hurting and need more government aid.
The $484 billion relief package passed in a 388-5 vote just two days after the Senate unanimously approved it. The measure provides critical funding for small business loans, hospitals and virus testing. It now heads to President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP lawmaker calls McConnell remarks on state bankruptcy ‘shameful and indefensible’Newsom wants to train 10,000 contact tracers in CaliforniaBiden leads in three crucial Rust Belt states: Poll MOREs desk for his expected signature.
The sole Democrat to cast a no vote was liberal freshman firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Florida in play as Biden takes lead in pollLiberal group backs challenger to Engel in Democratic primaryEarth Day goes online amid coronavirus pandemicMORE (N.Y.), who argued the series of relief packages passed by Congress have not gone far enough to provide assistance to working-class people or safeguards to ensure mom-and-pop businesses receive funding before big companies.
It is a joke when Republicans say they have urgency around this bill. The only folks that they have urgency around are [chain restaurants] like Ruths Chris Steak House and Shake Shack. Those are the people getting assistance in this bill, Ocasio-Cortez said in a fiery floor speech before the vote, where she noted that her Bronx and Queens district has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus.
You are not trying to fix this bill for mom and pops, she added.
The quartet of Republicans who cast no votes — Reps. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieHouse leaders enact new safety precautions for votesHouse Republicans push back against proxy votingSchumer predicts Senate passage of relief bill TuesdayMORE (Ky.), plus three leaders of the Freedom Caucus, Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckFauci: Diseases like coronavirus ‘don’t just disappear’GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economyThe Memo: Speculation grows about Fauci’s futureMORE (Colo.) and Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse conservatives call to immediately reopen the economyHouse GOP lawmakers urge Senate to confirm VoughtTop conservatives voice concerns over restrictions on religious gatherings due to COVID-19MORE (Ga.) — are all conservatives who have raised concerns about government spending and rising debt.
Biggs, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, took issue with the $12 billion set aside in the legislation for coronavirus contact tracing, where health workers try to track down individuals who have tested positive and their contacts.
Does it allow big tech companies to surveil and trace American citizens and then turn that accumulated information over to the government? How will this data be secured, stored, etcetera? Biggs said in a floor speech before the vote. There are many questions that go unanswered, not the least of these, however, is the question of how much longer the American people acquiesce to unconstitutional and crushing government action.” 
We need to open up America now,” he added. “I call on our governors to free their citizens immediately.
Massie, who infuriated House colleagues late last month when he forced lawmakers to return to Washington during the pandemic in order to pass a record $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, took a victory lap Thursday.
A month ago I stood alone for the Constitution & congressional accountability. I said if truckers, nurses, & grocers can work, then so can Congress! I was called the most hated man in DC by CNN. Wow – they reported the truth! Massie tweeted before the vote.
Today, dozens will demand a recorded vote. #winning.
After the initial backlash in March, many of Massie’s GOP colleagues joined his cause, arguing that members of Congress had an obligation to be present in the Capitol and cast their votes on the floor for such large spending packages.
Michigan Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill’s Campaign Report: 200 days to Election Day 2020The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump may exert unprecedented power on nomineesLibertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for partyMORE, who left the Republican party last year to become an independent, voted present on Thursday, just as he did on a previous coronavirus relief bill.
The interim relief package passed Thursday was needed after $349 billion allocated for the Small Business Administrations new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was exhausted in less than two weeks, leaving thousands of businesses across the country struggling to pay their employees and stay afloat.
The bill replenishes the PPP fund with an additional $210 billion, and includes $75 billion in aid for hospitals hit hard by the virus and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.