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The House of Representatives on Friday steamrolled over delay tactics by one GOP representative to pass the $2.2 trillion Senate coronavirus stimulus package, sending it to President Trump's desk for a signature.
The chamber initially intended to pass the bill by unanimous consent or a voice vote with just a skeleton crew in the actual chamber in order to reduce the risk of House members spreading the coronavirus between themselves. But it later became clear that at least one legislator, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., would object to an attempt to pass the bill in that fashion and try to force a recorded vote -- which would require a quorum of at least 216 members present and take hours due to social distancing procedures.
He publicly confirmed that he would take that action Friday morning, citing a constitutional provision that requires a majority of members to be present for the House or Senate to officially conduct business.
"I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously. In a few moments I will request a vote on the CARES Act which means members of Congress will vote on it by pushing 'yes' or 'no' or 'present,'" he tweeted. "The Constitution requires that a quorum of members be present to conduct business in the House..."
Massie also slammed the bill for what he said is wasteful spending and a lack of transparency.
Massie's move triggered a mad scramble of legislators trying to get back to Washington D.C. to ensure the bill could pass Friday and the vote would not have to be put off until Saturday.
After debate on the bill concluded, Massie made his stand to hold up the legislation. In the span of just over a minute, the vast majority of House members slapped down the Kentucky Republican's procedural challenge and approved the Senate's version of the coronavirus stimulus package to send it to President Trump's desk. Here's how it all went down.
Voice vote on adoption
When House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., completed his final remarks on the stimulus package, Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Anthony G. Brown, D-Md., immediately moved the chamber to a voice vote on the passage of the stimulus package.
Brown couldn't finish saying "The ayes have it" before Massie interrupted him from the floor to request a recorded vote.
Members refuse recorded vote
"I came here to make sure our republic doesn't die by unanimous consent and empty chamber and request a recorded vote," Massie said, forcing Brown to ask members who were in favor of a recorded vote to "rise," meaning stand up.
Normally, most members want a recorded vote on a bill. That was not the case Friday and nearly all the members remained in their seats.
"An insufficient number having risen, a recorded vote is refused," Brown said after taking a quick glance out into the House chamber, prompting Massie to use his next delay tactic.
Massie argues there is not a quorum in House chamber
"I object on the basis that a quorum is not present and make a point of order that a quorum is not present," Massie said, trying to throw another roadblock in front of the $2.2 trillion spending bill.
"The chair will count for a quorum," Brown announced, glancing out over the chamber again.
Brown took just a couple seconds to "count" whether there was a quorum in the chamber. He did not need to actually count the members because House Democratic leadership had been keeping track of how many members were present and announced there was a quorum to the media just an hour before the voice vote.
A Hoyer aide clarified exactly what happened.
"[W]e knew GOP Rep. Massie was going to call for a recorded vote, so Mr. Hoyer asked Members to make their way to the Floor and the House Gallery (to maintain social distancing) to establish a quorum and defeat Massie’s request," the aide said. "[W]hen he suggested there was an absence of the quorum, he was overruled (because there was a quorum at that point in time)."
With a quorum present, Massie had exhausted his parliamentary delay tactics and the bill was officially passed, just one minute and three seconds after floor debate ended.
"A quorum is present, the motion is adopted," Brown announced to a cheering House chamber. He then adjourned the chamber with an emphatic bang of the speaker's gavel.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.