America’s massive national debt is the most critical issue confronting the country Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R) asserted during an interview with Townhall.
This financial problem also loomed large back when he won his first election—the debt clock he placed in his office that once read $16 trillion now displays $21 trillion and he said there will be another trillion this year. He called it “a crying shame,” noting that Republicans hold the executive branch and both houses of Congress.
Rep. Massie said the government should spend less and explained that to achieve reductions Congress should return “to a regular appropriations process.”
Congress should vote on 12 individual appropriations bills instead of one massive omnibus bill, he explained.
“Congress is more broken than it’s ever been,” Rep. Massie declared.
While Congress should “have a budget” and should “be starting on appropriations bills,” Rep. Massie said Congress will spend the time leading up to the midterm elections “debating, amending and voting on pretend bills. They’ll call them messaging bills, but they’re really pretend bills because they’re going nowhere in the Senate,” he said. “And so that’s what Congress will do.”
But that is not what Rep. Massie wants them to do. “If Congress has one job it’s to allocate the tax dollars responsibly,” he said.
He wants Congress to pass the 12 individual bills, but he predicted that legislators in both parties will vote for a continuing resolution in the fall.
“They’ll take the 1.3 billion and they’ll cut, copy, paste on or about September 30th.” The congressman strongly criticized this prospect: “I think that’s despicable really.”
He previously viewed the Speaker of the House as the problem, but said that he thinks when Paul Ryan received the Speakership “he really tried to go back to regular order. I watched him at least make an effort and I watched my colleagues push back,” Rep. Massie said.
While they “ostensibly” wanted to constrain “their ability to participate in the debate and amendments because it limited the ability of the Democrats to participate in debate and amendments,” Rep. Massie said that in actuality they prefer to cast a just a single vote of great import each year.
“It absolves them of accountability and circumvents transparency,” he explained, noting that voting for legislation crammed into a single bill allows them to tell constituents that although they didn’t like certain aspects of the bill, they ultimately voted for it to prevent a government shutdown.
He stated that “leadership here has evolved to legislating in the rules committee and members here have been conditioned to give their voting cards to the leadership on quote, ‘procedural votes,’ unquote, but it’s those procedural votes that allow the malfeasance to happen on things like the omnibus.”
Rep. Massie said voters should either elect legislators dedicated to actually balancing the budget “or the constituents need to dig one level deeper and start paying attention to these procedural votes,” he said, adding, “and then holding their Congressmen accountable.
On the topic of President Trump, Congressman Massie said that the president’s “instinct” about leaving Syria “was right,” although he believes those around him “convinced him that maybe we should strike Syria.”
On tax reform he said, “I give the president credit for getting that tax bill across the finish line and for paying attention to the details of it.”