Rep. Thomas Massie is threatening to make lawmakers return to Washington again for a possible vote Friday on coronavirus legislation — but he says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can prevent a high-risk situation by allowing a remote vote.
“Let’s enable remote voting. Don’t blame me,” the Kentucky Republican told Fox Business News, saying plans for a lightly attended below-quorum voice vote is “not going to fly.”
A senior House Democratic aide promptly shot down Massie’s suggestion as not practical, saying even that reform would require lawmakers to return to vote — meaning Massie may again force furious lawmakers to pack the House for a vote on $250 billion in additional small business loans.
“Setting aside the logistical and constitutional concerns on remote voting, the House would have to come back to vote on a rules change to make any alteration to voting procedures. So his point makes zero sense. House would have to come back,” the Democratic aide told The Post.
On Fox Business, Massie said of his colleagues, “I think they should travel.”
Massie infuriated colleagues two weeks ago when he forced them to appear in person for a vote on a more than $2 trillion coronavirus package. Part of that legislation offered $250 billion in loans to small businesses for payroll and overhead during the crisis. The loans will be forgiven if businesses maintain staff. The money is quickly running out and the White House hopes for it quickly to be replenished.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky plans to hold a Thursday voice vote on an additional $250 billion in small business loans. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday they wanted the supplement to total $500 billion, with an extra $100 billion for hospitals and $150 for state and local governments — potentially delaying passage.
“They are recommending that just let Nancy Pelosi pass it on her own, that we can all stay home,” Massie said Wednesday on Fox Business. “I’m saying that’s not going to fly, it doesn’t fly with the Constitution, doesn’t fly for accountability to the taxpayers.”
Last month, Massie’s refusal to allow a sub-quorum voice vote forced many disproportionately elderly politicians to scramble back to to Washington, some having layovers due to lack of direct flights. At least one lawmaker who shared a lectern during bill debate, Brooklyn Democratic Rep. Nydia Velazquez, was diagnosed days later with a presumed case of COVID-19.
“F–k you,” a colleague bellowed at Massie across the House floor in a rare breach of decorum. President Trump said Massie should be thrown out of the Republican Party.
Massie argued in a radio interview last week that he actually did Trump a favor by preventing a precedent where Pelosi passes bills without any lawmakers present.