For a while last week, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) was the most hated man on Capitol Hill. His sin? He tried to prevent a “voice vote” whereby none of his colleagues would have gone on the record. He wanted his fellow members of Congress to have to formally cast their votes for or against the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill, which is the largest spending bill in history.
Politicians complained that his “stunt” would delay the bill and put the health of members of Congress in danger.
The bill wasn’t delayed by holding the vote. Massie had warned his colleagues a day before the vote so that enough congressmen had time to get back for the vote. There were enough members present for a quorum and a recorded vote. Votes typically take an entire 15 minutes.
By demanding a quorum, Massie forced more than half of the House of Representatives to be present for the vote. If members were really so concerned for their health, they could have practiced social distancing. It may have taken fifteen minutes longer, but votes could easily have been staggered. The Congressmen could also have worn gloves and facemasks and avoided touching their faces.
“These people need to do their jobs,” Massie told reporters after the bill passed by voice vote on Friday. “If they are telling people to drive a truck, if they are telling people to bag groceries, and grow their food, then by golly they can be there, and they can vote. . . . The truth, if you are willing to report it, is that they didn’t want a recorded vote.”
For four hours, hundreds of members of Congress made speeches about the bill from the House floor. But they apparently didn’t have time to vote. Either that or the politicians who loaded the bill with wasteful spending weren’t proud to vote for it.
If everyone was so concerned about getting this passed quickly, Democratic leaders sure had a strange way of showing it. There was no similar outcry against Speaker Nancy Pelosi for delaying the House vote until a day-and-a-half after passage in the Senate. Democrats had already slowed down the Senate bill by nearly a week, thanks to demanding items that would further their agenda on carbon emissions, abortion, and voter laws.
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