Several members of Congress from Massachusetts are driving down to Washington D.C. on Friday in order to vote on the $2.2 trillion stimulus package meant to alleviate the financial burden the coronaviurs outbreak has created for families and businesses across the country. WGBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with Rep. Joe Kennedy III on his drive down to the Capitol. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: Congressman, how far have you gotten?

Rep. Joe Kennedy: Joe, not the way I normally would do it. We are outside of Milford on the Merritt Parkway and I left at about 4:30 this morning. So making good time, but a long way to go.

Mathieu: Yeah, I know that ride, unfortunately, really well. I know exactly where you are. Congressman, normally you would be on an airplane right now. And by the way, I haven't talked to you in a long time. I hope you're doing okay. I hope your family, your wife and kids are alright, too.

Kennedy: Everybody's doing great, thank you.

Mathieu: Looks like they might have a recorded vote instead of a voice vote today. Is that why you're careening down to Washington?

Kennedy: Yes. The hope was that this was going to pass unanimously. It does appear that there's at least one Republican ... I know a number of colleagues that, given that dynamic, are trying to get back to Washington as quickly as possible. Again, that was not expected as of yesterday afternoon. But in my conversations with leadership last night, it does look like a potential reality. So, in the car we go.

Mathieu: So that also would suggest that members of Congress who are currently living under quarantine would not be counted, right?

Kennedy: So, Joe, this is a little bit of a tight spot here. Not everybody is headed back. There are folks that are under quarantine that cannot go. There are a number of individuals living in states that have issued either stay at home advisories or orders. We've got some folks that won't be able to get there on short notice — obviously, the West Coast, you're not going to be able to drive. [As well as] some folks that perhaps are in fragile health with underlying conditions that probably prevent them from getting on airplanes. So a bit of an overall challenge here.

Not to mention the fact that obviously CDC guidelines are suggesting, or essentially ordering, not to get in a large gathering, which, 430-plus members of Congress in one room would certainly qualify. And certainly we've been with colleagues that have now tested positive. So you've got an added procedural issue here about showing that you've got enough people in a chamber at the time in order to actually qualify for a recorded vote while also not trying to break the CDC guidelines or get other people sick. So we'll figure it out, but the good news is we've got a couple more hours now in the car to figure it out.

Mathieu: So what the heck are you supposed to do, Congressman? Walk onto the House floor with a mask and gloves on? And I'm being serious.

Kennedy: Joe, in all honesty, it's one vote. So [you] can walk up the steps, hold your breath, walk in, push a button and walk out. I mean, in all honesty. That's what's kind of absurd about this entire process. And I think some widespread frustration among folks across the political spectrum here. There is no doubt that this bill will pass. There's also no doubt that no matter who you are — again, across the political spectrum — you will find things in this bill that you would rather not have in it. Such is the nature of a compromise struck over the course of 10 days.

In a $2 trillion package, no one could to like everything in it, but you also understand the urgency to get this done, which is why you saw a unanimous vote out of the Senate — 96 to nothing. And certainly the desire to move this through as expeditiously as possible. The objection that anybody does offer — again, not certain that they will — but the objection will not stop this bill from passing. It will just force others to do what I'm doing, which is get into a car, drive down and perhaps put other people's health at risk just to be able to say that you did it. So there's a large level of frustration at the moment, given the circumstances and given some of the choices made by some colleagues.

Mathieu: Congressman, you've been calling for more stringent measures. Do you think it's time — and I believe you do — to have a full-blown shelter in place order. People should stay home, period?

Kennedy: I do. And I think that needs to happen nationwide. And I say that, Joe, because even if you've got a state like Massachusetts that's trying to adhere to the shelter in place guidelines, that's harder to be effective if you've got folks from neighboring states that are still going about business as usual that could lead to increased infection rates there. And then you've got a whole bunch of folks from neighboring states that work in Massachusetts. So as the virus spreads and keeps coming across state lines, it's awfully hard for one state and the actions of one state to be able to have a nationwide impact, which is what we need to have.

And yes, there's parts of the country that have been more heavily affected so far. There is no expert that I've talked to that does not expect the impact of the virus to cover the entire country. And indeed, obviously, there's reported cases from all 50 states. One of the challenges here is that you can spread the disease without being symptomatic, and so people might not know that they've got it. Or for some folks the circumstances are relatively mild, so you might not think it's much. But you can still spread it [and] people can get very, very sick because of it. So if we really want to get in front of this, you need to have the time to actually make sure that you're not continuing to spread it. And I think the only way to do that is, in fact, a nationwide shelter in place order.

Mathieu: President Trump says it's time to start reopening the country soon, he says, to save the economy. It sounds like there are two competing trains of thought, to say the least, in Washington.

Kennedy: There's, I think, a genuine desire that wishes the economy could get back up and running. Clearly, no one likes to see 3.3 million people file for unemployment insurance in a week. So, yes, I would love to do that. There is no way if you have had any contact with a public health expert, a doctor or talked to anybody that is in an emergency room at the moment, that anybody thinks that our country is going to be in front of this virus within two weeks. And I wish that was not the case, but that is the case and even the president's own top infectious disease experts have said so.

So I would hope that the president listens to them and understands that, as Dr. Fauci said, the virus sets the timeline, not our desire. Look, I'd love to go out for Sunday brunch, too. I don't think that's going to happen if people are concerned that with pancakes and French toast comes a trip to an emergency room on a ventilator.