“Even more alarming than the money is the idea that one senator can stand on the floor and pass legislation spending a half a trillion dollars and have no recorded vote and no debate,” added Paul, who said he came back to the chamber “so that history will record that not everyone gave in to the massive debt Congress is creating.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled it would be difficult to pass another major relief package by unanimous consent or voice vote.
“I will predict that we will not try to pass another rescue package by consent,” McConnell told reporters. “My view is we ought to bring everybody back, have full participation.”
The bipartisan legislation, which passed Tuesday after weeks of stalemate, will provide billions to the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of funds last week, as well as allocate new money to hospitals and testing for the coronavirus. The nearly $500 billion package comes weeks after Congress approved a $2 trillion rescue measure to address the pandemic’s devastation of the economy.
Lee criticized Senate leadership for not consulting with the majority of members on the package and said the deal was not a “true negotiation.” He added that being away from Washington allowed Democrats to “politicize” and “stifle legislation with impunity.”
“The American people need to know who is helping them and who is simply playing politics,” he said. “We can’t allow them to know that if we’re not in session.”
Meanwhile, Paul said the spending package would not save the country from the disease. Instead, he said, the economy needs to reopen — echoing a push from President Donald Trump.
“No amount of bailout dollars will stimulate an economy that is being strangled by quarantine,” Paul said. “It is not a lack of money that plagues us but a lack of commerce.”