The Congressman who tried to force expanded voting on the COVID-19 relief bill ahead of the House vote Friday said he was driven by respect for process and desire for congressional accountability, and explained his reasoning in a series of statements.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he insisted on a roll-call vote on the bill because he wanted a clear record of accountability for House members.
“It’s pretty clear now, with enough members here to pass the bill, that Pelosi and McCarthy are still working together to block a recorded vote just to insulate members of Congress from ACCOUNTABILITY,” Massie wrote.
“Biggest spending bill in the history of mankind, and no recorded vote? #SWAMP,” he added, in an apparent reference to critics of Washington politics who decry it as corrupt and lacking in transparency.
In remarks to C-SPAN, Massie said “there’s a big cover-up in there.”
“They’re trying to cover up their votes,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about what type of cover-up he had in mind.
“They had enough people there to pass the bill, but they still refused to have a recorded vote,” he added.
.@RepThomasMassie: “There’s a big cover up in there.” pic.twitter.com/tOmxjTCfLX
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 27, 2020
The House voted on Friday to adopt the $2.2 trillion CCP virus relief bill, which President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly praised the package, is expected to sign later in the day.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement let the virus spread throughout China and then across the world.
Massie’s call for a recorded vote failed because of insufficient support and a subsequent call for a quorum failed because a majority of lawmakers were already present after members flew in across the country following word of Massie’s attempt late Thursday.
The package was passed on a voice vote, with the ayes outnumbering the nays.
“Are they afraid of the truth? I’ve been told that they don’t even have 1 minute available for me to speak against this bill during the 4 hour debate,” Massie said in a tweet. “The fix is in. If this bill is so great for America, why not allow a vote on it? Why not have a real debate?”
Many Republicans opposed his attempts to force an expanded vote, including Trump, who called Massie a “third rate Grandstander” and said stalling the bill would be “dangerous and costly.”
The historic relief bill comes at a time of significant bipartisan action to marshal resources to protect the lives of Americans and prevent an economic crash amid the outbreak.
“Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive,” Trump said in a tweet. “Virus wasn’t their fault.”
The president later announced he would be signing the bill in the Oval Office.
“Will be signing the CARE Act in the Oval Office today at 4:00 P.M. Eastern!” Trump wrote.
Will be signing the CARE Act in the Oval Office today at 4:00 P.M. Eastern! https://t.co/0WnTNFZPZD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
‘I Take That Oath Seriously’
In a series of 11 tweets, Massie explained his rationale for more debate on the bill and a different adoption process.
“I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and I take that oath seriously,” Massie said.
“The Constitution requires that a quorum of members be present to conduct business in the House,” he continued. “Right now, millions of essential, working-class Americans are still required to go to work during this pandemic such as manufacturing line workers, healthcare professionals, pilots, grocery clerks, cooks/chefs, delivery drivers, auto mechanics, and janitors (to name just a few). Is it too much to ask that the House do its job, just like the Senate did?”
Because the vote wasn’t recorded, it wasn’t clear who voted which way, but the shout-outs sounded resoundingly in favor of the package. Lawmakers across the chamber applauded after the announcement.
The Congressman said his calls for more debate around the bill was “not delaying the bill like Nancy Pelosi did last week.”
“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 other measures that have no direct relation to the Coronavirus Pandemic,” Massie said.
“That $25 million, for example, should go directly to purchasing test kits. The number one priority of this bill should have been to expand testing availability and creation of tests so that every American, not just the wealthy and privileged, have access to testing,” he said.
He complained the bill amplified his earlier concerns around central bank transparency.
“This bill creates even more secrecy around a Federal Reserve that still refuses to be audited,” Massie said. “It allows the Federal Reserve to make decisions about who gets what, how much money we’ll print. With no transparency. 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?” he said.
“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.”
The unprecedented $2.2 trillion package that stretches across 880 pages includes one-time payments of $1,200 to any American making less than $75,000 a year and $2,400 to married couples making up to $150,000.
Parents would receive $500 per child.
Both Democratic and Republican leaders said they supported the bill, which originated in the House but underwent changes in the Senate before lawmakers there passed it unanimously on Wednesday night.
Trump on Thursday night told reporters that he was “profoundly grateful that both parties came together to provide relief for American workers and families in this hour of need.”