Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on House Democrats to sign onto a Republican petition that would force a vote on a handful of coronavirus relief measures.
“There’s no more time to delay. We must act now we are in session,” the California Republican said at a press conference Thursday. “I call on every member in this chamber, especially the Democrat moderates who complained about Nancy Pelosi’s failure in delivering the COVID deal to sign Jamie Herrera Beutler’s Paycheck Protection Program discharge petition.”
The petition, introduced back in September by Ms. Herrera Beutler of Washington, would force a vote on a targeted fix to fund the expired small-business Paycheck Protection Program with more than $130 billion in unspent money.
Mr. McCarthy specifically called out the Democrats that signed onto a letter in September addressed to him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, calling for Congress to stay in session until a more relief was passed.
During the early fall, many rank-and-file Democrats pushed their party leadership to add coronavirus relief to the agenda and some considered the discharge petition, which prompted Mrs. Pelosi to bring an updated version of their package — with a price tag lowered to $2.4 trillion — to a vote in September.
“I take them at their word and at their signature,” he said. “They’re in session today they can sign the discharge petition, and this could be done today. Help could be on the way.”
Discharge petitions are a long-shot procedural tool for the minority party that requires a majority of House members to sign on in order to essentially wrest control away from the majority party. As of Wednesday, Republicans have 186 signatures.