President Trump lashed out at Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) as a “third rate Grandstander” who “wants the publicity” and called for him to be kicked out of the Republican Party after the Kentucky lawmaker threatened to delay $2 trillion coronavirus relief package to pass in the House by unanimous consent.
“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 in a pair of tweets Friday morning.
“He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous … & costly.”
Trump added it was “HELL” negotiations with Democrats and had to give them “stupid things” to get a deal, but the legislation is “90% GREAT.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
The Senate unanimously passed late Wednesday evening on a massive $2-trillion relief package aimed at jolting the economy from the detrimental impact amid the coronavirus outbreak crisis. After five days of intense negotiations between senators and the White House to help American workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus, it produced the most expensive and far-reaching bipartisan measures in the history of Congress.
The 880 page wide-reaching bill includes a $1,200 one-time check for individuals who make up to $75,000. That amount would scale down until it reached an annual income threshold of $99,000, where it would phase out altogether. It also includes $250 billion for direct payments to individuals and families, $387 billions in small business loans, $100 billion for hospitals, $200 billion for other “domestic priorities,” including child care and assistance for seniors, $250 billions in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
Massie, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, objected to the bill in a tweet Thursday, calling it “not a good deal” due to the amount of money it would add to the national debt.
$2 trillion (Congress)
+$4 trillion (Fed & Treasury)
$6 trillion stimulus
$6 trillion divided by 350 million citizens = $17,000 per citizen
times a family of 4
=$68,000 per family of new national debt and dollar devaluation in this stimulus.
not a good deal
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 26, 2020
In addition to the tweet, Massie also told a local radio station that he’s “having a really hard time” with the bill, while dismissing concerns about lawmakers’ well-being and their difficulties in getting back to Washington.
“If congressmen are complaining that it’s hard to travel, well, what about the truckers that I saw on the road when I drove to DC? Hitch a ride with the trucker. … If you’re a congressman making $87 an hour and find it hard to get to DC, well, hitch a ride with the trucker,” Massie said on 55KRC talk radio.
On a GOP call Thursday afternoon, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), informed Republicans that a GOP member was threatening to request a recorded vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), distributed a floor schedule late Thursday saying the House will convene at 9 a.m. ET Friday, and there will be two hours of debate.
“Members are advised that it is possible this measure will not pass by voice vote,” the schedule reads. “Members are encouraged to follow the guidance of their local and state health officials, however if they are able and willing to be in Washington D.C. by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Members are encouraged to do so with caution.”
If Massie threats are met and a roll call occurs, lawmakers could push to delay the vote for hours or even until Saturday to give members time to travel back to D.C. According to an internal security memo, members would be divided into 16 groups of 30 apiece to file into the chamber “to minimize the risks posed by placing too many individuals in one location” due to the coronavirus.
Most of the House’s 430 current members are in their home districts due to the coronavirus outbreak. Two House members have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than two dozen are self-quarantined. The House needs 216 members in chambers for a quorum to pass the legislation.
Lawmakers across the nation scrambled to return to Washington, D.C early Friday morning for the fear Massie threat to force a roll call vote would occur and want to avoid any more delays in passing the emergency relief package. This has angered many members on both sides of the aisle who are nervous about traveling and potentially risking their personal well-being with many over the age of 50 due to Massie “stunt.”
Dear @RepThomasMassie: If you intend to delay passage of the #coronavirus relief bill tomorrow morning, please advise your 428 colleagues RIGHT NOW so we can book flights and expend ~$200,000 in taxpayer money to counter your principled but terribly misguided stunt. #thankyou
— Rep. Dean Phillips (@RepDeanPhillips) March 26, 2020
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) wrote on Twitter that he is returning to Washington “because it is my F%&king job. But I get a comfortable salary, our essential workers should get same.”
Heading to the airport now to vote in DC. am going just like every person that picks our food, works at a hospital, picks up the garbage. I am doing it because it is my fucking job. But I get a comfortable salary, our essential workers should get same. #coronavirus
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) March 27, 2020
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) shared a photo of a deserted LAX airport, saying he is “flying back to DC” to vote for his constituents and other members who can’t “go back for health reason.”
Flying back to DC to vote for the stimulus bill. It could pass on a voice vote but some members want to make a statement by potentially asking for an in-person vote. Not all my colleagues can go back for health reasons. So, I’m doing it for them & for my constituents. pic.twitter.com/FytRLD2laZ
— Jimmy Gomez (@JimmyGomezCA) March 27, 2020
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) also shared a photo of himself and three other Minnesota lawmakers who are flying to D.C and it showed that the four members appeared to be the only passengers on the flight.
— Rep. Dusty Johnson (@RepDustyJohnson) March 27, 2020
Multiple New York Congressional delegates have to defy White House officials recommendations urging anyone who have recently left the New York City metropolitan area to self-quarantine for 14 days as they traveled to Washington for the possibility of a roll call vote.
“Because of one member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House,” Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, fumed on Twitter. “Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.”
Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) March 27, 2020
Democratic Rep. Max Rose from New York had even harsher words for Massie.
“Thomas Massie, this is disgusting. This is inhumane. You aren’t a libertarian, you’re un-American,” the freshman representative said on Fox News Friday morning. “If we push this back 24 hours, there will be blood on Thomas Massie’s hands — anyone else who steps in the way of this, blood on their hands.”
As some members boarded red-eyes or early flights, others were making long drives.
The CARES Act is historic legislation, which is why I’m driving back to DC to help get this thing over the finish line. This is a challenging time for families as we combat the coronavirus crisis & the CARES Act gets folks the help they need. #MI06 #InItTogether pic.twitter.com/Egp1FA03SZ
— Fred Upton (@RepFredUpton) March 26, 2020
The president warned on Thursday Coronavirus Task Force press briefing that “you might have one grandstander” without naming the lawmaker, that would delay Fridays’s House vote. He reiterated that the deal “will pass. It will just take a little longer” and he would sign it immediately.
Due to Massie stunt, stocks fell sharply as of Friday morning with the Dow tumbling more than 700 points, giving back some of the massive three day strong gains to cap off another volatile week.