Rep. Thomas Massie to force delay on $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill

Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said Friday he will force a roll call vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill — delaying passage by hours if not days.

Massie, a libertarian MIT-educated engineer, announced he would block a planned voice vote shortly after President Trump called for him to be thrown out of the Republican Party for considering the possibility.

“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Massie wrote on Twitter. “In a few moments I will request a vote on the CARES Act which means members of Congress will vote on it by pushing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘present.’”

Massie wrote that the Constitution requires a quorum — 50 percent attendance, or 215 members — for legislation to pass and that he will raise a point of order to enforce the rule.

It’s possible that there are enough lawmakers in Washington to pass the bill Friday afternoon. But if the threshold is not met, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could schedule a weekend vote.

Explaining his opposition to the package on Twitter, Massie noted the $2 trillion will be added on top of $4 trillion in stimulus already underway by the Federal Reserve.

“If getting us into $6 trillion more debt doesn’t matter, then why are we not getting $350 trillion more in debt so that we can give a check of $1 million to every person in the country?” Massie wrote.

He added: “This stimulus should go straight to the people rather than being funneled through banks and corporations like this bill is doing. … 2 trillion divided by 150 million workers is about $13,333.00 per person. That’s much more than the $1,200 per person check authorized by this bill.”

Massie also deflected blame on Pelosi, who unveiled a rival 1,400-page package this week that Republicans blamed Monday for upsetting an initial compromise, forcing more negotiations and changes.

“This bill should have been voted on much sooner in both the Senate and House and it shouldn’t be stuffed full of Nancy Pelosi’s pork- including $25 million for the Kennedy Center, grants for the National Endowment for the Humanities and Arts, and millions more,” Massie wrote.

Trump’s mounting fury at Massie boiled over in a pair of tweets as the House prepared to vote before noon on the stimulus bundle, which was approved unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday.

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump continued: “He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly. Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is ‘HELL’ dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”

Massie has been in office since 2012. His closest allies include Sen. Rand Paul, a close Republican ally of Trump and the first senator to contract coronavirus, and Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who became an independent last year and voted to impeach Trump.

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