A conservative member of the House of Representatives who delayed a major disaster spending bill earlier this week is calling out Speaker Nancy Pelosi for trying to pass a bill without even being present in Washington.
As I explained earlier this week, House conservatives Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., have taken criticism from Democrats for their role in delaying a major disaster spending bill so that the House would have to vote on it. On Thursday afternoon, the duo became a trio as Rep. John Rose, R-Tenn., also stood up on the House floor to delay the spending bill.
In an interview with Blaze Media on Thursday, one of those Republicans explained that this fight is not trying to keep people from getting federal disaster money, but rather trying to defend the both the Constitution and the integrity of the House of Representatives.
Speaking with me in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building, Rep. Thomas Massie explained that this effort to keep the disaster bill from going to President Trump’s desk while Congress is out of town is about making sure that Congress actually does its job the right way.
“Some people think that we’re objecting to a vote,” but “what we’re objecting to is not having a vote at all,” Massie explained. “There is no debate” in the process attempted by House leadership, he continued. “They say ‘this is the name of our bill and if nobody objects, we’re going to say that it passed.'”
“At least in the Senate they got to vote on this,” Massie said of the spending measure, which passed 85-8 in the upper chamber.
Massie also responded to criticisms from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who said earlier that delaying the bill to force the House to vote on it was “heartless.” Massie pointed out that Pelosi intentionally planned for the vote to happen when most members of Congress were already out of town and wasn’t even in town herself to try to get it across the finish line.
“Guess who’s not here today,” Massie said, referring to Thursday’s House session. “Guess who was not here the last time we objected, or the time before that: Speaker Pelosi.”
The congressman went on to accuse the speaker of “literally trying to phone in her righteous indignation” from outside D.C.
“‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe the bill didn’t pass!'” mocked the Kentucky Republican. “Well, where were you? You’re the speaker of the House; you weren’t even here to try to pass it.”
Massie also explained that his opposition to Pelosi’s legislative tactics “isn’t a partisan issue for me,” recalling a time in the past when he stood up against a similar procedural tactic being used for the Patriot Act. “This is about preserving our House of Representatives; people need to have representatives who are accountable and actually show up to work and vote.”
“I get the criticism that this is disaster relief and this is not the time to have this fight,” Massie said elsewhere, but “when is the right time to start talking about our debt and our deficit and the broken system we use to pass bills here in Congress? This is the right time.”
Oh, and just as a reminder, the United States is currently over $22 trillion in debt.
.@RepThomasMassie & co have gotten criticism for blocking Pelosi's efforts to pass a disaster spending bill during recess without a regular vote.
His response when I interviewed him about it? "[Pelosi's] literally trying to phone in her righteous indignation" while out of town. pic.twitter.com/J85oCI3Y3M
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) May 31, 2019