News & Politics

The Congressman from 'No' Threatens to Force a Vote on Small Business Stimulus Bill

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after he blocked a unanimous consent vote on a long-awaited $19 billion disaster aid bill in the chamber on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Thomas Massie says he will once again hold up passage of a vital stimulus measure in order to get individual members on record as supporting another budget-busting bill.

Massie is a lone voice of reason amidst the madness of a panicked Congress. Members have little clue about what they’re voting on and Massie wants them to stop and think before approving trillions more in federal spending.

But his is a lonely quest. It’s an election year and all members are running scared, shoveling money at their constituents in order to stave off electoral disaster. No one knows if the stimulus checks, the business loans, the corporate bailouts will accomplish much of anything. But Massie sees “boondoggle” written all over these relief bills and wants Congress to see it too.

The Hill:

“Once again, they’re recommending that just let [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi pass it on her own, that we could all stay home. And I’m saying that’s not going to fly, doesn’t fly with the Constitution, doesn’t fly for accountability to the taxpayers,” Massie said during an interview withNeil Cavuto on Fox Business.

“So what I’m recommending is that she enable remote voting for congressmen.”

Massie thinks the legislative sleight-of-hand being pulled by the leadership is unnecessary.

“Look, several state legislatures have already enabled this. Spain has already enabled it. We’re telling our kids to go to school online and Congress can’t even hold a hearing online or even vote remotely. We need to change this so that people don’t have an excuse for not being accountable,” Massie said.

Is Massie being unreasonable? He might argue that spending nearly $3 trillion dollars and counting is unreasonable.

“As long as the government gives away money, there’s going to be no lack of demand for that. What the government needs to do is allow people to go back to work. And so, anyways. I’m against the bill, but the main thing that I’m against is letting Nancy Pelosi do it in the House on her own without members being accountable,” Massie said. “So let’s enable remote voting. Don’t blame me.”

The problem with allowing people to go back to work is that it’s a crapshoot as to whether a worker will get sick or not. While younger, healthier workers have little chance of dying, there is no possible way to discern who will get very sick and who will have mild symptoms. It’s a certainty that many, many more people will get sick and spread the disease to more vulnerable populations where there would be a lot more dead Americans. Letting people go back to work before their chances of becoming ill are substantially reduced isn’t a good idea.

But Massie’s main concern is good governance and accountability. That he appears to be the only member of Congress from either party worried about those things is a tragedy more profound than the coronavirus.