In case you didn’t hate Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) already for making the House of Representatives risk their lives by voting in person for the coronavirus relief bill yesterday, his Republican Rehab visits to Fox News should do the trick.
In case you missed Massie’s stunt, Dana Milbank has a good rundown:
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), in purely symbolic opposition to the $2.2 trillion emergency coronavirus legislation, forced hundreds of his colleagues to risk their lives — literally — by flying back to Washington. So what if many of the lawmakers are elderly and at high risk?
To thwart Massie’s pointless protest, an attempt to force a roll-call vote instead of a simple voice vote, leaders had to summon 216 members to fill the chamber, eerily separated on the floor and in the gallery above to limit infection. This fruitless, immoral gesture by the 49-year-old legislator was in service of another: to thwart a nearly unanimous Congress from dispensing aid to the sick and suffering in the middle of a pandemic.
Milbank also noted that while Republicans clutched their pearls over Massie’s behavior, he is “a monster Republicans created” via their endless contempt and demonizing of government and its institutions.
Massie, a believer in the “deep state” conspiracy, is a product of the tea party, a protege of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a collaborator with outgoing Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who is becoming Trump’s chief of staff, when they tried to oust then-Speaker John Boehner. “I’m ready to be unpopular,” Massie said after his 2012 election, and he has opposed even anti-lynching and human rights legislation — and celebrated when he uses “the process” so that “things die.”
Naturally, Massie, who has a primary challenger, ran to Fox News last night and again today for Republican Rehab. He didn’t get much support from host Neil Cavuto today. But he didn’t get a lot of challenge, either.
Massie proved Milbank’s point when he began by saying, “If Pelosi just considered me a nuisance, I would be offended, but she called me a dangerous nuisance, so that gives me some credibility, I hope.” He claimed he represents “the planks of the Republican platform more faithfully than any other Republican, virtually any other Republican in Washington, DC.”
Massie went on to explain why he did what he did, saying, “it’s not constitutional to do any legislative business without at least half of the members of Congress present.” He added, “I also thought if we’re going to pass the biggest spending bill in the history of mankind, that people should go on record for this. … They’re all trying to dodge accountability.”
Cavuto noted that “two House members have already tested positive for the coronavirus” along with Senator Paul. He asked if Massie “risked their health to make this point?” As if there could be any question about that during this pandemic.
Massie didn’t care: “Congressmen have their health care paid for by the taxpayers and it’s a pretty good health care package,” he told Cavuto. He told Fox host Shannon Bream something similar last night: “These Congressmen make $174,000 a year. They’ve got the best health care that you can buy these days right now.”
Never mind that the coronavirus can be fatal, especially among older people. 147 House members are over 65 and at higher risk from COVID-19. And never mind that public health and local officials are desperately trying to flatten the curve in order to prevent our health systems from being overwhelmed. Cavuto didn’t bring up those pesky facts.
“These Congressmen expect the truckers to go to work, they expect the grocery store baggers to go to work, they expect the UPS guy to bring their Amazon packages, but they don’t think they should have to go to work,” Massie said contemptuously. “If this is truly a national emergency and you’re being paid $174,000 a year’s work, and you haven’t been to work in 10 days, I think you can go to work for this.” But the difference is that grocery store and Amazon can’t do their work remotely. Congress wasn’t trying to avoid working, it was trying to avoid risking exposure to themselves and others by working remotely.
By demanding that members work in person, Massie was suggesting that they should risk their health and those they come in contact with. His comments about their health care confirmed his disregard for lives.
Yet, Massie considers himself pro-life.
Cavuto didn’t note the contradiction. Instead, he chuckled when Massie said he “feels like a speed bump that’s been run over by 400 sets of tires.” Cavuto closed by saying, “Very good having you, sir. We’ll see what happens next but you stuck to your guns.”
You can watch “pro-life” Massie advocate his pro-death approach below, from the March 28, 2020 Cavuto Live.
(Massie image via screen grab)
Great health insurance isn’t a guarantee of survival of COVID-19 by the elderly in Congress. It just takes up a ventilator. Nor does unnecessary travel help Congressmen who may have the virus unknowingly spreading it to others. And for what purpose? Despite all of Massey’s self-congratulations he had no effect on the result.