Monday, March 4, 2024

MASSIE: I Did Trump a BIG Favor by Forcing Vote on Virus Relief

‘It is “HELL” dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the “big picture” done…’

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., was berated by both sides of the aisle last week after forcing the House of Representatives to return in order to pass a $2-trillion economic stimulus package, with even more funds flowing out of the Federal Reserve, in order to relieve the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Massie defended himself Tuesday, saying his effort to put the brakes on a hasty, pork-laden plan to add massive amounts of debt to the economy was to prevent President Donald Trump from compounding the already dire economic and health crises, the New York Post reported.

Massie said his biggest concern was not the price tag, though; rather, it was the way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had approached it, which risked setting a dangerous legislative precedent, he told the Disruption Zone podcast.

“I tried calling [Trump] up after the whole thing went down to smooth things over and to point out that, ‘Hey look, I got what I needed [and] I strengthened your hand, because now Pelosi doesn’t have a precedent where everybody stays home and she gets to pass bills in the House,” Massie said.

However, he said he had to leave a message and that the president did not return his call.

Trump tweeted his own take on Friday, the day the House passed the bill, accusing Massie of grandstanding for attention and later calling on him to be expelled from the Republican Party.

Massie’s threat of a roll-call vote required a quorum of at least half the House to return for the vote, even as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus had forced some into self-imposed quarantine and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced he had tested positive for the virus.

But the rush to pass the bill had many fiscal conservatives alarmed that the cost of such federal overreach would be far worse than the disease—or at the very least, would compound the problem substantially.

Four senators nearly derailed the upper-chamber’s passage, flagging fears that a drafting error would have incentivized essential workers on the front lines to quit their jobs by offering better pay through unemployment.

Others expressed alarm at the radical left-wing wish-list items that Pelosi had added into the bill, many of which had little to do with the crisis.

The bill was the third of its kind to clear the House in the wake of the pandemic.

“Pelosi’s plan is that this third virus bill was a down payment and that she has a fourth bill that’s practically already written that has all of the stuff she couldn’t get in this bill,” Massie said.

Already, the San Francisco liberal has signaled that if another stimulus bill is required, she will seek to retract Trump’s 2017 tax reforms, restoring blue-state-friendly loopholes that allow wealthy 1-percenters to deduct additional state and local taxes.

“If somebody stands and objects to the fourth bill if nobody had objected to the third bill, they would say, ‘You don’t have a leg to stand on. We’ve already done this. We set a precedent,” Massie continued. “We’ve already agreed that it’s okay for people to stay home and violate the Constitution and Nancy Pelosi can pass the bill without us here.’”

Massie was not the only congressman to consider blocking the rush job.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a frequent Trump ally, also relayed his reservations about it, telling the New York Post prior to its passage that he would like to see the House forced to return and debate it as well. (Massie’s motion for a roll call was ultimately overruled.)

“The bill the Senate is preparing has had very significant viewing, discussing and rewording, as it should when there is time to have groups of elected officials reviewing language and considering its effects,” Gohmert told the Post.

Although he did not, in principle, object to the idea of remote passage using the House’s unanimous consent rule, the concerns that Pelosi introduced into her version of the bill made it a nonstarter for that particular legislation, he added.

“If we have that opportunity, then it actually might be possible to U.C. a bill of this magnitude,” Gohmert said.

“However, the rather massive bill Speaker Pelosi is pushing has not been widely distributed, fiercely debated or amended repeatedly, with the actual effects fully contemplated,” he continued. “Therefore, it would need to be prevented from being voice voted or passed by Unanimous Consent.”

Despite his having incurred the wrath of the president, Massie expressed confidence that he could regain his favor once the dust had settled.

“I believe he was upset because he had a misunderstanding of the situation,” said the libertarian lawmaker.

Fortunately, Massie said, Trump’s recently appointed chief of staff, former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, was “one of my best friends.”

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