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SOUTH BEND, Ind.–The relief bill that was modified in the U.S. Senate may have trouble passing the House because some of the representatives don’t want to be in DC because of coronavirus. Former U.S. senator from Indiana Joe Donnelly, says that might require action from the House members who are in town.

He said one way to do it is called unanimous consent.

LISTEN: Former Sen. Joe Donnelly talks about procedure and what should happen with the relief bill

“The members don’t have to come back. If two members are on the floor and they call for unanimous consent and there’s no objection, then it passes. I don’t think that’s how this is going to work now,” he said.

Donnelly, who now teached National Security at the University of Notre Dame, said a voice vote is more likely.

“All the members don’t necessarily have to be there. Some of the members do. It’s called on a voice vote where you go, all the yays please signal, and they shout, then all the nays please signal.”

Donnelly said a recorded vote can be taken if there’s an objection, if someone doesn’t believe that the voice vote was accurate.

He said he believes that the relief bill could go further with some oversight for big companies like airlines, who tried to pad their stock value by buying back their stock with excess money, rather than saving it for lean times.

“They came to the government and said, in truth through no fault of their own, passenger tickets have dried up. There’s nobody flying and we need government assistance. What I wanted to make sure is that government assistance wasn’t taken by them and then used for more stock buy backs. I want it to be used to make sure that they’re giving their workers assistance, that they’re keeping their airline flying.

Donnelly said he hopes the situation is a lesson to large companies to save, rather than use excess money to prop up stock prices.

He supports the parts of the bill that help small businesses, which might otherwise fail.

“What they’re getting is primarily a loan to help them tide over through a very tough time,” he said. “What I wanted to make sure of is that most all of this is in loan form, that the terms are good terms, over ten years in most cases, low interest rates.”

Donnelly, a Democrat who was defeated by Republican Sen. Mike Braun, said he doesn’t keep in touch with Braun or Sen. Todd Young, but consults with other senators who are furthering legislation that he favored.