Thomas Massie

Rep. Thomas Massie: 'Anybody That Voted for the Omnibus Committed an Appalling Act'

The problem is in the procedure, says the libertarian-leaning Kentucky congressman. He thinks it could cost the GOP big in November.


Rep. Thomas Massie thinks the congressional leadership has turned America into a banana republic. In a long, aggrieved interview with Conservative Review, the libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican stresses the absurdity of requiring representatives to vote on something they had no chance of understanding.

Massie insists he learned more about the mess of a spending bill from reporters' tweets than from the party leadership. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), he notes, straight-up refused to answer specific questions from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) about elements of the omnibus.

This disempowerment is deliberate and explicit, Massie says:

before we vote on every bill in the House, there's an early procedural vote that precedes the vote on the bill. It's called "the rule vote." Now it's ironic they call it "the rule vote." What the rule vote does is it suspends our rights as members that are preserved in the rule book that we have—Jefferson's manual, if you will.

The rule vote says, "We're going to limit debate, we're going to limit amendments, we're going to do this to you, we're going to do that to you, we're going to suspend all points of order that you could otherwise make." And it just shocks me that most of my Republican colleagues will vote to subvert their own power by voting for that rule vote….

[A]s soon as you're sworn in to Congress, they take you over to the corner and say, "Listen. There's one rule here. Never vote against the rule that comes out of the Rules Committee."

And of course, they will try to take away [National Republican Congressional Committee] funding for your race, if you have a close race. In fact, after this rule vote happened, you could see our leadership with a print-out of the 25 Republican members who dared to vote to have some say in this bill. And they were scouring it, they were sitting over there at the leadership table just going through the list. I'm sure they have lots of nasty stuff planned for us.

Massie finds it interesting that many members felt free to vote for an omnibus that violates various GOP promises after the deadline for possible primary challenges has passed. He thinks the bill will likely function as, quoting an unnamed colleague, "the GOP voter suppression act of 2018."

"It's going to depress enthusiasm" of any small-government minded Republicans out there, Massie says, adding that "my enthusiasm is diminished for supporting my colleagues who come back and vote for this kind of crap." Massie notes with pride that he never voted for Ryan for leadership, and he says people should "start paying attention to how their congressmen voted on these procedural votes." He knew all along, Massie insists, that Ryan was lying when he promised to be more punctilious about letting congressmen understand what they had to vote on.

That doesn't mean you can fix the problem just by booting Ryan. "The speaker of the House does what he does, not just because people allow him to do it, the rank and file members, they literally vote every week to be abused by the rules," Massie laments. "It's like Stockholm syndrome. So, you could change the speaker, and he may not run again. But until you have congressmen who don't just blindly hand the leadership their voting card on every rule vote, you're not going to get any changes. It doesn't matter who the speaker is."

"Anybody that voted for the omnibus committed an appalling act," Massie says. And when it comes to a Republican-controlled federal government, "Absolutely nothing good will happen between now and the election. And the most that you can hope for is that nothing will happen."

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  1. That sort of thing us how party discipline is enforced in any representstive system. It may be even worse the more power the party has in determining which people get to hold seats (like, say, a proportional representative system).

    1. Except in this case it’s the party of smaller government and fiscal responsibility telling its elected members to shut the fuck up about smaller government and fiscal responsibility.

      It would be like the Democrats specifically targeting members who voted gun control and increased spending.

      1. Yes. I meant more about the tactics to enforce compliance that Massie mentioned.

  2. when it comes to a Republican-controlled federal government


  3. People need to stop kidding themselves. The GOP may lose in November but if they do it won’t be because they spent too much money. And the people who replace them are going to spend even more. That doesn’t mean it is right. It isn’t. But that is the way it is. And pretending otherwise does no good.

    1. What does the GOP stand for now? You’re Mr. GOP so you can tell us all.

      It certainly does not stand for small government.

      1. That doesn’t even make any sense.

    2. This is sickening but true.

      At least we can find Rs like Paul and Massie (and the rest of the RLC). Best I can tell, there is no one on the D side with the slightest interest in controlling spending (other than cutting defense to spend on other new social programs).

  4. Fuck standing up for the people who elected you. You do what the Party wants or you’re out.

    1. The party can mobilize primary opposition against you, but good luck to them if you’re the incumbent. That’s a pretty big hill to climb and easy to counter at the convention.

  5. “It’s going to depress enthusiasm” of any small-government minded Republicans out there, Massie says

    I’m very curious to know how many of these people Massie thinks exist.

    1. About the same number as in 2003-04 when the GOP went on their last Big Gov spending spree.

      1. And the country elected Democrats in 2008 and the government got smaller right? They didn’t run up more debt in 8 years than the entire history of the country combined, right?

        1. Actually, the spending increased the least of any POTUS 2009-2016.

          Gridlock is good, John.

          Or Mr. GOP TEAM RED!

          1. Actually dumb ass, Spending increased massively in 2009 reaching an all time high of 42% of GNP in 2009, thanks to the Porkulus and TARP, which were both passed by a Democratic Congress. It only decreased after 2010 when the Democrat lost control of Congress


            No go lie somewhere else.

            1. The Bushpigs own FY 2009, asswipe.

              1. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi would be surprised to hear she wasn’t Speaker in 2008.

                Who passes budgets and spending bills?

      2. Sad that we’re not considering all the GOP Congresses between ’04 and now as egregious over-spenders, too. They used finer-grit sandpaper on their cocks as they bent us over.

        1. The Democrats controlled Congress between 2007 and 2011, During that time spending increased from 35% of GNP to an all time high of 42%.

    2. Part of the omnibus bill appropriates $375 million to set aside a federal wildlife preserve for small-government minded Republicans. So far, no specimens have been caught.

  6. Why would you lie? On something that can be so easily checked?

    Massie said this–

    “Absolutely nothing good will happen between now and the election. And the most that you can hope for is that nothing will happen.”

    In response to this–

    So, now that we’ve gotten past this omnibus spending bill, what are we looking at in terms of what is next for Congress for the rest of the year?

    No line that could be interpreted like this–

    And when it comes to a Republican-controlled federal government

    was in the piece at all.

    And you linked it. Do you think we’re Vox readers? MSNBC viewers? WE check. We’re not like the savants that write for Reason.

    1. Have you fallen so far that you won’t even fix this?

      You’ll just let this lie sit here?


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