'A bad time to have a computer glitch': COVID-19 stimulus bill text delayed by printer errors and internet issues

Jake Lahut
·2 min read
congress stimulus bill text.JPG
Printer and internet snafus held up the release of the text of Congress' latest stimulus bill at the US Capitol on Monday. Tom Brenner/Reuters
  • A confluence of tech snafus delayed Monday's release of the text of the latest COVID-19 stimulus bill in Congress.

  • Printer issues and a glitch in uploading the bill text on congressional computers were significant factors in the delay, according to lawmakers and reporters on Capitol Hill.

  • "Unfortunately, it's a bad time to have a computer glitch," Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told reporters.

  • The 5,500-page bill was finally uploaded and carted through the Capitol just before 2 p.m., leaving lawmakers with little time to read through it ahead of votes scheduled for later in the afternoon.

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Lawmakers spent hours on Monday awaiting the text of the roughly $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package coupled with provisions to avoid a government shutdown.

The main issues holding up the process were printer malfunctions and a corrupted file that led to a computer glitch, according to Jake Sherman of Politico and Erik Wasson of Bloomberg News.

"Unfortunately, it's a bad time to have a computer glitch," Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told reporters on Capitol Hill.

The 5,500-page bill was eventually uploaded just before 2 p.m., leaving lawmakers with little time to comb through it before votes scheduled for later in the afternoon.

Democratic and Republican leaders sent advisories to members recommending a yes vote and listing key provisions of the package in bullet points.

Physical copies of the bill were shuttled through the Capitol once the printer issues were resolved.

The bill ended up being so large mainly because the stimulus package was merged with what's known as an omnibus bill to fund the government. Lawmakers have passed stopgap measures to avoid a shutdown.

The overall bill is called the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

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