Rep. Massie should be applauded, not denounced

By Brent Smith

A couple weeks ago Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., caused quite a stir in political circles when he had the unmitigated gall to suggest that maybe representatives should stay put and conduct House business from home, by doing it virtually.

Oh, the horror!

It was, of course, in response to the growing coronavirus threat.

But the original flap came over his insistence that members first return to Washington to conduct a physical “recorded” vote on the gazillion-dollar coronavirus relief package.

Speaker Pelosi wanted to pass the $2 trillion package by unanimous consent. This is the most absurd thing I’ve heard in quite some time.

First, unanimous consent does not require that all members even be present, and second, it’s basically just a silent agreement, where no member actually casts a vote.

In other words, the House wanted to spend half our annual budget without even casting a single vote. And as far as I can see, the silent agreement is made with whomever happens to be in the chamber when the speaker calls for consent. There appears to be no minimum required.

But Massie had the nerve to insist that House members return to Washington and cast a recorded vote.

What nerve this guy had to insist on a vote for a sum of money that would have been unfathomable just a couple of decades ago.

Massie was excoriated for even suggesting such thing, as it would have slowed down the aid package’s passage “by hours.” The president said Massie should be kicked out of the Republican Party for this.

Really, Mr. President? I’m a Trump supporter, but I can’t get behind that remark.

And it would be slowed by hours? In the grand scheme of things, we couldn’t wait for a few more hours to conduct the nation’s business properly and constitutionally? Please!

These slugs drag their collective feet for months to avoid passing an annual budget and they’re complaining about hours?

And second, unanimous consent is supposed to be reserved for routine and minor matters. This is decidedly neither.

But Massie wasn’t done being the outcast. He then suggested that current technology could handle such things as virtual public hearings and remote voting.

Simply put, stay in your district – there’s no need to come to Washington.

Well Shazam! Why didn’t anyone else think of that? The suggestion, however, was quickly “swatted down.”

“Let’s not waste too much time on something that’s not going to happen,” Pelosi said when asked about remote voting on a conference call with reporters.

I’ll tell you why very few would ever consider such a thing. There a several reasons, and none of them is good.

First, Washington hacks are big on precedent. It goes back to the old leftist progressive framework argument. After the framework or foundation is set, it’s much easier to just build on it than it is to start anew.

The last thing the deep state needs is a precedent that proves that politicians no longer need to reside and work in Washington, D.C.

Second, it would mark the end of K-Street lobbying payoffs, purchase of carve-outs and influence peddling. And what a shame that would be.

Third, how could the Democrats pack a bunch of leftist/communist activists into a “virtual” gallery to disrupt proceedings when a conservative begins speaking? What would the social justice warriors do?

Fourth, Nancy, Chuck and other leftists would lose the ability to grandstand to the cameras. I think Schumer might lose his will to live without it.

Fifth, how on Earth would “leadership” of both chambers and parties get together to make secret back-room deals the voters are completely unaware of?

And sixth, in Massie’s own words: “1) too hard to twist arms through the phone. 2) wouldn’t be able to justify unrecorded votes.”

Party leaders came up with lame excuses like the Iowa caucuses fiasco, but their excuses are not worth a damn.

Fact is, corporations all over the world utilize this technology for meetings and teleconferencing regarding a lot more important things than wasting the taxpayers’ money and lining political pockets.

It can be done safely and securely. It should be done for the good of the country, which is why it likely won’t be.

Rep. Massie has taken an incredible amount of heat and so far has withstood it. Let’s hope he doesn’t buckle under the pressure. We need more like him.

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