Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has developed a reputation for being one of the biggest naysayers in Congress.
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Massie, like Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mi.), tends to vote in a way that is compatible with the Constitution and feasible in terms of the U.S. purse. To critics, this sometimes that comes off as contrarian, obstructionist or intentionally paralyzing.
Deirdre Shesgreen of USA Today wrote that “Massie has voted ‘no’ at least 324 times so far in the 113th Congress – opposing about one of every three measures that have come to the House floor since January 2013.”
She used the following instance of Massie’s dissent to provide a colorful example of where the Kentucky representative stands:
[T]he House was about to clear a bill by voice vote to award a gold medal to Ohio native and golf star Jack Nicklaus – a gesture by Congress to recognize his “service to the nation” for promoting good sportsmanship and philanthropy.
Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Northern Kentucky, was incensed. The Garrison Republican raced to the House floor and demanded a roll call vote, trying to persuade his GOP colleagues to oppose the measure. Despite Massie’s efforts, it passed easily – 371-to-10.
To the Kentucky Republican, that vote stands as a small symbol of what’s wrong with Congress – lawmakers rushing to approve feel-good bills without truly evaluating their costs or their merit.
“Giving a gold medal to a golf figure … is not a good use of our resources,” Massie said. “(Nicklaus) didn’t die on the golf course, and he’s got plenty of medals.”
Massie argued that if more people in Congress gave as much scrutiny to bills as he did, people would hardly call his tactics “gridlock.”
He also joked that “yea” and “nay” – should be relabeled “spend” and “don’t spend,” which is why he tries to vote “nay” as often as he can.
“When things die because of dysfunction, I think that’s bad. Now when things die because the process worked, I think that’s good,” Massie told Shesgreen.
Massie used the Nicklaus bill to — humorously — show his “burgeoning” support in the House.
In the last Congress, the Jack Nicklaus gold medal bill only got 4 votes before dying in the Senate while this time, the opposition in the House has swelled to 10.
“Things are improving,” he said. “We need more of me here.”
Shesgreen’s story features a list of bills on which Massie voted “no.” In each case, the bill featured exorbitant spending — domestic or foreign — vague legal language, or more unconstitutional surveillance power to the government.
See for yourself here.
Politico called Massie “Mr. No” last year, noting “The 42-year-old Republican with a deep libertarian streak says he’s here to be a ‘consistent conservative voice.’ And while that might mean more headaches for the Republican leadership, Massie says he’s just doing what his supporters want him to do.”