COVID relief

GOP Sen. Johnson Delays COVID Relief Bill by Forcing All 628 Pages Be Read Out Loud

The clerks finished the reading early Friday, 10 hours, 43 minutes and 9 seconds after they began

FILE - Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) partakes in a joint briefing with Sens. Christopher Murphy and John Barrasso after their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Feb. 14, 2020.
Yevhen Kotenko/Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images (File)

A Republican senator severely delayed passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package Thursday by insisting that the entire 628-page bill be read out loud.

In protest of the bill, which had been expected to pass after a marathon round of votes overnight Thursday, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., objected to waiving the reading of the legislation.

Two Senate clerks — John Merlino and Mary Anne Clarkson — and other members of the secretary of the Senate's office took shifts reading the bill. The effort, which began at around 3:30 p.m., didn't wrap up until more than 10 hours later — 10 hours, 43 minutes and 9 seconds to be exact.

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