The outrages surrounding the coronavirus pandemic are too numerous to cover in a single article. My original plan was to write about several, (there is no shortage of material). As I wrote this I decided to cover just one. It is a doozy! Let’s explore.
Friday the House passed the $2 billion+ economic stabilization package that passed the Senate 96-0 the night before. The bill does a lot of needed good while it is simultaneously an outrage. The House passed it by voice vote but not without a bit of drama.
As soon as the compromise was struck and it was obvious that the Senate was going to pass the bill and the House’s approval became little more than a formality despite the fact that almost all members were back in their districts. In fact Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a pivotal role in crafting the final version of the bill. Many states and localities are in some form of lockdown, several members of the House are in some form of self-quarantine with a few having tested positive for the virus. By and large the members of the body are not youngsters with many over 60. In other words it was not in the public interest for the body to assemble as a whole in a relatively confined space.
The original plan was to call the House to order, conveniently ignore the absence of a quorum, approve the bill by voice vote and adjourn. That would have been the sensible and patriotic thing to do; it would have served the public’s interest on all levels. Keep in mind the final outcome was no longer in doubt; then along came Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district.
Massie announced that he would challenge the vote due to the absence of a quorum and call for a recorded vote. That caused many members of the House, from both parties, to change their plans and literally risk their lives and the lives of those they come into contact with by traveling to the Capital to cast a voice vote in a matter of grave importance but whose result was a forgone conclusion.
Massie still made his grandstand play challenging the presence of a quorum. His objection was greeted by at least one obscenity being hurled at him from a Representative seated in the gallery. (In the interest of national safety the members disbursed among the seats including those in the gallery which is currently closed to spectators.) The Chair ruled that a quorum was present and the bill passed.
Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district is solidly Republican. At this point the primary (which is effectively the election in that district) is scheduled for June 23rd. Todd McMurty – no jewel himself – is Massie’s opponent. If Manslaughter Mitch McConnell (I gave him that moniker because he is the principle cause of the tremendous delay in getting this bill passed which in turn has and will continue to cost lives) really cares about the Republican Party he will spend significant money between now and the primary to purge Massie from the House. Interestingly Massie first won his seat in a 2012 special election riding the Tea Party wave.
You are not going to see this site endorse many Republicans. This article is certainly not an endorsement of McMurty! The example I like to use is the late John McCain. I often disagreed with him on policy but I never questioned his character. Disagreeing on policy is American and that is fine. With Massie I am questioning his character; and that is a very different matter. Considering all the people he forced to put themselves and perhaps more importantly those they came into contact with in danger he will almost inevitably be responsible for deaths. Let’s see if the Republican Party will purge him.
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