Illinois lawmakers head back to Capitol for COVID-19 funding vote

Illinois lawmakers head back to Capitol for COVID-19 funding vote

House members will vote on the fourth round of COVID-19 emergency funding in small groups to avoid contact through social distancing. | Getty

House members will vote in staggered groups, in alphabetical order, to avoid contact through social distancing.

The House is poised to vote Thursday afternoon for a $483 billion coronavirus relief measure and send it to President Donald Trump to sign, with lawmakers entering the chamber in staggered groups — in alphabetical order — to avoid contact through social distancing.

The bill includes $310 billion for the wildly popular Paycheck Protection Program and $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers. There is also $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

Among those returning to the Capitol are Democratic Reps. Robin Kelly, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Lauren Underwood, Cheri Bustos and Brad Schneider.

Members were told by House leadership:

“For the health of all Members and staff and to limit the number of people on the House Floor, Members are asked to stay in their offices except for during their confirmed speaking time during debate. Additionally, Members are asked to come to the Floor only during their voting group’s window and to return to their offices until their voting group is called for the next vote. Members are encouraged to use the voting machines while voting and not vote by card in the House well. During the vote series, the Majority Whip’s office will notify Members when each group should proceed to the Floor to vote.”

The Senate passed the emergency fourth round of COVID-19 relief legislation via the unanimous consent procedure Tuesday. That meant senators did not have to vote in person.

Schakowsky was back in Washington on Wednesday night, appearing on the MSNBC “Rachel Maddow Show” from the Capitol about the need for more data on COVID-19 nursing home infections and deaths.

Earlier this month, Schakowsky led a group of 78 House Democrats in asking the Trump administration to “immediately collect and publicly report facility-level data” nationally on cases and deaths.

Nursing home residents, most often senior citizens with underlying medical conditions, are at the “highest risk” of coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Illinois, about one-quarter of COVID-19 deaths were among nursing home residents.

“We don’t know the scope of this problem, and we need a picture of it,” Schakowsky told Maddow.

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