[Ed. note: This article has been updated to reflect House passage of the relief bill Friday.]
Massie is selfish, not principled.
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, the Republican who represents Kentucky’s 4th District, is not my congressman, thankfully. He does not answer to me as a voter. But, today, he was playing political games with my dad’s life.
I cannot vote against Massie, but I had another idea for holding him accountable for his recklessness.
It was inevitable that Congress was going to pass the CARES Act, despite Massie’s objection. As a result, I, along with every other American will receive a $1,200 check. Perhaps the best use of that money would be to donate it all to his opponent in the upcoming election.
What did Massie do that was so unforgivable?
Congress was in the middle of passing the largest emergency relief funding package in history — $2.2 trillion. The health and economic support of the federal government is so dire, the U.S. Senate passed the CARES Act unanimously, 96-0.
Next, the bill had to pass the House, before going to the president to be signed into law.
To be clear, this bill was always going to pass and become law. Nothing Massie could do could stop it or even change it. He could only delay it, which he attempted to do — failing to receive even a single other member’s second to his procedural motion.
What he was doing was not principled, it was selfish.
What made this situation unique was that, unlike the Senate, there is no filibuster in the House — one member can’t usually stop a bill from passing. However, when the CARES Act came to the House from the Senate, most of Congress wasn’t in D.C. After passing the first COVID-19 relief bill two weeks ago, the House adjourned, and most members returned home where they, along with most Americans have been social distancing.
But Massie was in D.C. And he was taking advantage of most members’ absence to invoke a procedural rule, which could have derailed the bill if not enough members were present to overrule his procedural challenge.
Essentially, he took advantage of the crisis to make a political point. And, just the mere threat of his attempt to sabotage the bill forced several of his colleagues to travel back to the Capitol, which health experts advise increases their chance of exposure to the deadly disease — and increases the likelihood of community-spread whenever they return home.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus, as has Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. Nobody is safe from the disease.
Like so many Americans, I’m worried about my family. Massie wanted my dad to travel to D.C. and risk catching a virus that could kill him, so he could make his political point.
I recognize Massie has a different worldview than most and that he believes he is an ideologically pure libertarian (despite voting for the Trump-McConnell tax cuts that added $1 trillion to the deficit). But he was exploiting a unique moment in Congress, amid a health and economic crisis the likes of which this country has never experienced, for political grandstanding.
It’s not principled. It’s selfish.
Even President Trump, who once courted Massie among other libertarian-Republicans to support his deficit-exploding tax cuts, tweeted: “Looks like a third rate Grandstander named
@RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous……”
I hate that I agree with Trump, but he’s right.
So, now that the CARES Act has passed and been signed into law — an inevitable outcome regardless of any hurdles Massie threw at the process — I will receive a $1,200 check from the federal government.
I don’t make many political contributions — when billionaires can write $1,000,000 checks and won’t feel it any more than I would feel a $100, it doesn’t seem like a good use of even $100. Bu I might have to make an exception in this case.
Because what beautiful poetic justice it would if every dollar of the check that comes from the bill Massie tried to obstruct went to defeating him in the next election… So he can never play political games with so many lives again.