Trump says GOP should eject Rep. Thomas Massie for stalling coronavirus bill
President Trump tore into Rep. Thomas Massie ahead of his possible action to stall a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, saying Massie should be ejected from the Republican Party.
Massie, a libertarian from Kentucky, has not said if he will stall the package by forcing a roll call vote, but raised strong objections this week on Twitter, saying it was “not a good deal.”
Trump’s mounting fury boiled over in a pair of tweets as the House prepared to vote before noon on the stimulus bundle, which was approved unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday.
“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 on Twitter.
Trump continued: “He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly. Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is ‘HELL’ dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!”
Massie was glued to his cellphone after the Trump tweet. The 49-year-old MIT-educated engineer, in office since 2012, looked around at the three dozen or so colleagues also sitting on the House floor, many there in case he forces a roll call vote.
Massie’s office has not responded to requests for comment from The Post. He did not respond to a text message asking if he had decided what he will do.
The massive stimulus bill would be the third to pass Congress. A second package was stalled by Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), who also sat on the House floor Friday morning.
It’s possible Gohmert may also object, forcing the House to scramble for a roll call, possibly delaying a vote until this weekend if 50 percent of lawmakers aren’t present.
Shortly after the Trump tweet, Massie and Gohmert, sitting about 10 feet apart on the House floor, leaned toward one another and engaged in a quiet conversation, with Massie gesticulating with his hands and rolling his eyes.
In a statement to The Post this week, Gohmert said: “I would like to see all those who can and are healthy to come back, review the bill, allow amendments, and vote on the amendments and the bill. That is what I would LIKE to see happen.”
Gohmert continued: “The bill the Senate is preparing has had very significant viewing, discussing and rewording, as it should when there is time to have groups of elected officials reviewing language and considering its effects. If we have that opportunity, then it actually might be possible to U.C. a bill of this magnitude. However, the rather massive bill Speaker Pelosi is pushing has not been widely distributed, fiercely debated or amended repeatedly, with the actual effects fully contemplated. Therefore, it would need to be prevented from being voice voted or passed by Unanimous Consent.”
In a tweet Thursday, Massie outlined his objections to the bill, writing that the measure, with $4 trillion in Federal Reserve stimulus, would create $17,000 per citizen in “new national debt and dollar devaluation.”
Trump complained in a Thursday interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News that dealing with Democrats was “hell,” citing their push to include various policy provisions in the bill. On Monday, an apparent deal on the package fell apart, despite concessions to Democrats. Republicans said Democrats introduced an unrelated wishlist of priorities, scuttling speedy passage and forcing more negotiation.
The aid package creates a $500 billion loan program run by the Treasury Department to assist businesses struggling to stay afloat. A separate $350 billion loan program in the bill allows small businesses to receive forgivable loans if they don’t lay off workers.
A generous boost of $600 per week in unemployment pay actually could result in jobless workers getting more than 100 percent of their pay in some states. The package also authorizes $1,200 checks for all adults who earn up to $75,000, with $500 more per child. For a family of four, that’s up to $3,400.
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