Pelosi Urges Bipartisanship Ahead of Vote on Coronavirus Aid

Date: 2020-04-23 22:31:59

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A nearly $500 billion measure helping businesses and hospitals cope with the coronavirus’ devastation edged toward House passage Thursday, as lawmakers’ face masks and bandannas added an eerie tone to Congress’ effort to aid a staggered nation.

“Millions of people out of work,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “This is really a very, very, very sad day. We come to the floor with nearly 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people impacted, and the uncertainty of it all.”

The day’s debate was almost overshadowed by social distancing steps that produced a stark image of how the pandemic is changing what used to be normal behavior in Washington.

As Pelosi spoke, she lowered a white scarf that had covered much of her face.

House Chaplain Patrick Conroy delivered the opening prayer wearing a yellow protective mask, and most lawmakers and aides on the chamber’s sparsely populated floor wore masks as well.

The public was banned from visitors’ galleries, which were being set aside for lawmakers in an effort to separate them.

The package was headed toward certain, overwhelming approval later Thursday, an action that would send the measure to President Donald Trump for his signature. The Senate approved the legislation Tuesday.

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