During tense debate this Friday over the latest Coronavirus relief package, one Democratic Congresswoman from Michigan refused to yield the House floor to the next speaker until she had gotten her point across about the urgency of the matter at hand. Rep. Haley Stevens, who’s currently in the midst of her first time in Congress, both praised health care workers and others on the front lines of the fight against the Coronavirus and demanded that her colleagues take the situation seriously. As of late Friday morning, the U.S. has more confirmed Coronavirus cases than any other single country in the world.
Stevens spoke while wearing pink latex gloves, and she wiped down the microphone with a disinfectant wipe before she delivered her remarks. (It’s a basic step, but even the president’s own Coronavirus response task force has repeatedly conducted press briefings in which they’ve intermingled closely and shared the same mic.) Stevens commented:
‘I rise before you today in this chamber during this critical time… where our country faces… the biggest battle we have faced as a nation together in generations. Amidst uncertainty, we work to keep Americans alive by stopping the spread of COVID-19. In these times, heroes will be made and not selected… Many Americans may perish unexpectedly and suddenly in unfair circumstances.’
Over 1,300 Americans have already lost their lives to the Coronavirus outbreak, and that figure may only climb sharply in coming weeks. Trump has consistently sought to dismiss the impact of the Coronavirus, even suggesting recently that the economy should be largely re-opened amidst the outbreak, no matter the carnage that may ensue when people intermingle and the virus spreads further.
‘Economic security must be guaranteed… Listen to the doctors and scientists who have spent a lifetime in this space.’
In the middle of her remarks, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), who was presiding over the proceedings, attempted to cut Stevens off. Leaders said that they’d give Stevens more time, but she kept up with her remarks right through their attempts to cut her off. She said:
‘I rise before you adorning these latex gloves not for personal attention, not for personal attention, but to encourage you to take this disease seriously. I rise for every American who is scared right now… To our doctors and our nurses, I wear these latex gloves to tell every American to not be afraid.’
— The Hill (@thehill) March 27, 2020
Republicans, who apparently had nothing better to do, began shouting “Order!” “Order!” amidst her remarks. Yes, good job guys, we see that Stevens has spoken beyond her allotted time; oh, what would we do without the wonderful help of the Republicans to point out the obvious in ignorance of the actual substance of what Rep. Stevens was saying.
The stimulus package is slated to deliver relief to corporations that have been hard hit by social distancing efforts meant to help stem the spread of the virus. Individual payments to Americans are also included.
House members filed back into the chamber on Friday as Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, threatened to hold up the bill’s planned passage via unanimous consent, which would have allowed members to stay away.