The federal government was not expected to pass emergency legislation to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on Friday — despite Democrats and Republicans agreeing on a bill.
"Today, we will pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act after reaching an agreement with the Administration," Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday evening. "This legislation builds on the action that House Democrats took last week to put #FamiliesFirst with our strong, bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package."
Extremely pleased the #FamiliesFirst Coronavirus Response Act includes the people-focused initiatives @SpeakerPelosi & I outlined earlier:
Paid sick leave
Food security assistance
Free testing for those who need it
Emergency unemployment insurance
New Medicaid investments
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 14, 2020
"I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, which will be voted on in the House this evening," President Donald Trump tweeted, publicly giving permission for Republicans to back the legislation.
There was just one problem, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had sent the Senate home for the weekend.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted McConnell's leadership.
"It was remarkably irresponsible and out of touch for Sen. McConnell to send senators out of town in the middle of a public health crisis before the House passed this vital people-focused legislation," Schumer said. "Sen. McConnell and Republicans should pass this legislation as is immediately."
>@mkraju asks Pelosi if she spoke to Trump at all this week:
"No. There was no need for that."
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 14, 2020