See bottom of email for analyst certification and important disclosures.
Can Party Leadership Deliver Unanimous Consent?
As all sources are reporting the Senate leadership, White House and Speaker Pelosi all concur that negotiations are close to agreement on a final version of the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill. Most differences were resolved by throwing more money into the pot, hence the bill is now being priced at $2 trillion.
However, there is one outstanding issue, getting the bill through the House under Unanimous Consent (UC). The UC procedure is exactly what it says, any single member of Congress can object and the bill is not approved. Speaker Pelosi believes she has the votes of all House Democrats, but reportedly Republicans aren’t as sure. It is important to remember that when the Phase 2 Coronavirus Bill passed on March 14 the vote was 363 Yes and 40 No. All 40 No votes were from Republicans, and there is concern that one or more of these 40 Republicans could object to the UC passage of the bill.
Speaker Pelosi would like to use the UC rule in order to prevent House members from across the country to return to DC. The House is in recess and has no scheduled return date. With air service greatly reduced it could take days for House members to get to DC. If the President and Republican leaders can’t deliver all the Republican Representatives and one or more object they will have to have a full session of the House. However, they are reportedly working on a plan B. If all but a few Members of the House support the bill they can take action with a majority of one. Hence all they need is 218 Representatives to be in town and they can vote. They would focus on Members who live on the East Coast and could drive to DC. Once they get a quorum they can vote and if it passes 217 to 1 it goes to the President for his signature. This would likely only slow the vote down by a day, two days at the most.