Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie punched back at critics who took issue with his attempts to force a quorum vote on the recently passed $2 trillion coronavirus package.
The Kentucky congressman was hit from all sides of the political spectrum for his stand Friday, from President Donald Trump, who called him a “third rate grandstander,” to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who joked that Massie was an “asshole” who “must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity.”
Massie appeared on Friday night’s “Fox News at Night” with anchor Shannon Bream to tell his side of the story.
“I guess I was able to force them to come to work but I couldn’t force them to work,” Massie told Bream. “Ultimately, they came to D.C., but they decided not to vote on it at all, and that’s unfortunate because I didn’t delay the vote at all. I think that is with the president was upset with. He didn’t understand the process that I was proposing. You know, Tuesday, the Senate was here and they were voting, and the House — the House leadership, Pelosi and McCarthy, said, ‘you know what, let’s just pass this on in unanimous consent and tell everybody to stay home, don’t bother coming to Congress.'”
Noting that this was the “third coronavirus bill,” the Kentucky lawmaker expressed concern that bill after bill could eventually be passed without anybody attaching their names to votes.
“That is really dangerous,” he said. “That’s paving the road for Pelosi.”
Bream jumped in to ask 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.”
He then responded to footage of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explaining that unanimous consent wasn’t used, but rather a combination of voice voting and allowing members to “put across their desk how they would stand on the bill.”
“Well, first of all, they had four hours of debate and they couldn’t find one minute to allow me to debate,” Massie said. “That’s because they don’t want to hear the truth. If the bill is such a great bill, why not have everybody vote on it. Now the vote he’s talking about, writing your name on a slip of paper, that’s not showing up and casting a vote that’s going to be recorded for all time in the Congressional record. It is not a real vote. He was trying to have a pretend to vote to placate everybody and say you could stay home.” (RELATED: Who Is Thomas Massie — The Republican Congressman Who Held Up The Coronavirus Relief Bill?)
Massie said McCarthy was “trying to be Santa Clause” by allowing everyone to stay home because he “wants to be the next speaker.”
“The problem with Kevin’s plan as it didn’t satisfy the Constitution,” he said. “I literally had to tweet the Constitution, and shame everybody, basically, into acknowledging that if you don’t have a quorum, you can’t pass a bill in Congress. Now to Mr. King’s point, only half of Congress had to show up today to pass this bill. And it didn’t delay the bill by even an hour, because I told everybody what my plan was a day ago. So that they had time to get here.”