Massie’s parliamentary Masada*?

Washington Examiner, refering to Rep Thomas Massie (R) (Kentucky):


Like almost everyone, politicians, media figures, political junkies, regular Americans throughout the land, I was angry at Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky who was singlehandedly exercising his ‘power’ to delay the House approval of the badly needed Coronavirus legislation on which so many Americans are relying on in this time of dire crisis in our country.

As President Trump described Mr. Massie, I, too, had determined him to be a crass “grandstander”, finding an opportunity to get his 15 minutes of fame, no matter what the cost to the people of America.

Massie was blocking a vote on the bill that was certain to pass by demanding a roll call vote requiring a quorum of members to be present in the House chamber and voting on the record, instead of a voice vote of members physically present.

Here is how Massie’s objection is reported : “Massie’s objection to the relief package is understandable. He disagrees with the unnecessary, irrelevant pork that legislators managed to hide within it, such as the $25 million allocated to the Kennedy Center, grants for the National Endowment for the Humanities and Arts, and more (funds for PBS and Planned Parenthood as examples). 

“People should be rightly frustrated with this unnecessary spending. But forcing the House to reach a quorum is not the way to express that frustration, especially since the bill is going to pass anyway.”

And this is how the media describes the Kentucky congressman’s recalcitrance: “…defying  GOP leadership to request a roll-call vote on the relief package…means that if 216 lawmakers are not physically present in the House to vote on the measure, the relief package will remain at a standstill until a quorum is reached. ”

“This roll-call vote is irresponsible for several reasons, the most obvious being that it forces representatives to abandon isolation and group together in direct violation of health officials’ social distancing guidelines. Some representatives have tested positive for COVID-19, and others have remained self-quarantined out of respect for their other colleagues.

“Massie is now callously undermining the caution this pandemic demands. “

The congressman’s “side of the story”, as of noon Friday was nowhere to be found, it seemed.

However, Todd Herman was filling in for Rush on the Rush Limbaugh Show today. In the course of the popular 3 hour show, Herman had the Congressman, Thomas Massie, himself, on as a guest to explain his action and the reasons he resorted to them.

It is true that he had many objections to the hastily drawn legislation, and concerns shared by many that, while badly needed short term relief to many sectors of the nation would accrue from the bill, there are many provisions that may have a devastating effect in the future on the country’s entire Constitutional structure… concerns also shared by many.

The major concern Massie seemed to have, however, was with the latter, and the reality that, a), with a welcome end to the crisis there will be no pressure or will to correct the long term defects in the legislation, and, b)   as importantly, as the highly problematic issues become apparent to the American people, because there was no roll call vote, and thus no record, no member of Congress will be held responsible for the serious consequences likely to result.

Massie also noted that “forcing the House members to ‘abandon isolation’ to be present” seems not too drastic a price to pay, while ordinary Americans and first responders, truck drivers, doctors, nurses, workers in “essential” businesses, etc. are being asked to do the same. More than adequate safeguards against transmission of the virus among members of Congress can certainly be made.

He also properly notes that, for legislation as large as this bill, the Constitution requires a roll call vote.

To me, “libertarians’, which Massie claims to be, are generally thoughtful and have soundly conceived reasons for their views and actions. I also feel, though, that at times their views and actions go unnecessarily beyond what are shared by most reasonable, informed, and intelligent people of a different ideology…libertarians on those occasions, to me, are sometimes self-righteous and too convinced of the superiority of their views.

After hearing Congressman Massie, however, this was not such an occasion for him, and I believe this was a very difficult and courageous thing for him to do.

And I think he was right! I applaud the good this bill will do for deserving American people…I deplore the dangerous consequences of the provisions forced into the bill by the unconscionable and opportunistic Left in Congress.    dlh


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One Response to Massie’s parliamentary Masada*?

  1. dlh says:

    Among other things, Massie was charged with, a) delaying passage of the very important coronavirus relief bill. As he notes, his action did not ‘delay’ action…and certainly not to the extent that Pelosi’s effort to lard the bill with a radical left ‘wish list’ did; b) Massie was also criticized for “endangering the lives of members of congress by forcing them to come to the House chamber” His response to that is below:

    “…Asked about Republican Rep. Peter King’s insistence that “blood” would be on “Thomas Massie’s hands” if any lawmakers forced to return got infected.
    “That’s a pretty strong statement,” Massie responded. “Think about the arrogance of these congressmen. They are telling the truckers to keep driving so that their grocery stores will have groceries. They are telling the UPS drivers to keep bringing their Amazon packages. They are telling the bagger at the grocery store to keep bagging those groceries. But these congressmen make $174,000 a year. They’ve got the best health care that you can buy these days right now. And they are telling people that the congressmen need to stay home, but everybody else needs to work for them. I think that is the wrong message, but that really gives you a glimpse into how some of these people in Washington, D.C., think.”

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