Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

The House passed a coronavirus relief package. Here’s how Florida voted.

The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Two Florida Republicans voted against it.
The U.S. Capitol dome is reflected in the body of an amulance in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Congress is shutting the Capitol and all House and Senate office buildings to the public until April in reaction to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
The U.S. Capitol dome is reflected in the body of an amulance in Washington, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Congress is shutting the Capitol and all House and Senate office buildings to the public until April in reaction to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. [ PATRICK SEMANSKY | AP ]
Published Mar. 14, 2020
Updated Mar. 14, 2020

Stories about the coronavirus pandemic are free to read as a public service at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Sign up for our DayStarter newsletter to receive updates weekday mornings. If this coverage is important to you, consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Tampa Bay Times at tampabay.com/subscribe.

• • •

The U.S. House of Representatives on early Saturday morning passed a coronavirus relief package that guarantees free virus testing and provides financial relief to families that may suffer during the worldwide pandemic.

The bill, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was sent to the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support — 363 voted for it while 40 House members, all Republican, voted against it. Twenty-six House members, including several Florida Republicans, didn’t vote at all.

Among those voting against the bill were two Florida Republicans: Reps. Greg Steube of Sarasota and Rep. Michael Waltz of St. Augustine. In a statement, Stebue said the bill was “rushed to the floor” with 30 minutes to review 100 pages and was “filled with policy positions I could not in good conscience support."

The relief package was negotiated over several days between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, according to reports. The bill assures free virus testing for those without insurance and includes emergency food assistance for low-income people, expanded unemployment benefits, a federal paid leave benefits program for employees who miss work due to the outbreak and increases Medicaid payments to states.

It also requires businesses provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees. The total price tag of the bill was not immediately clear and it follows the $8.3 billion already passed to fight the coronavirus.

House leaders hope these steps will stabilize the economy amid a volatile week on Wall Street and uncertainty ahead for Main Street. Airlines are laying off workers in response to new travel restrictions from foreigners, theme parks are closing, professional sports leagues have shut down and restaurants and small businesses are preparing for fewer customers as people stay home to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

President Donald Trump tweeted he “fully supported” the bill on Friday night, clearing the way for most Republicans to get behind it, too. “I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES!” he wrote.

The House package did not include a payroll tax cut through the rest of the year, which Trump had previously demanded.

Six Florida Republicans joined all 13 of the state’s Democrats in voting yes. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist called the bipartisan vote a “a forceful message to working Americans: We have your back.”

“Today, the U.S. House of Representatives displayed what is possible when we unite as leaders to confront a threat to the American people,” Rep. Ross Spano, a Republican Dover, said in a statement.

Three Florida Republicans didn’t vote at all, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, who recently self-quarantined after coming into contact with a coronavirus patient. The other two abstaining were Reps. Francis Rooney, R-Naples, and Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville.

Hours before the vote, Gaetz speaking from Florida, told Fox News that he was opposed to the House legislation including “poison pills" and "provisions that forever change entitlement programs.”

How they voted

Yes

Neal Dunn, R-Panama City

John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville

Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee

Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park

Bill Posey, R-Rockledge

Darren Soto, D-Orlando

Val Demings, D-Orlando

Daniel Webster, R-Clermont

Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor

Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg

Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

Ross Spano, R-Dover

Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota

Brian Mast, R-Palm City

Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar

Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach

Ted Deuth, D-Boca Raton

Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston

Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties

Donna Shalala, D-Coral Gables

No

Michael Waltz, R-St. Augustine

Greg Steube, R-Sarasota

Not voting

Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach

Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville

Francis Rooney, R-Naples

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

EVENT CANCELLATIONS: Get the latest updates on events planned in the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Florida Department of Health

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.