Libertarian-Republican Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) has officially announced that he will not support John Boehner (R-OH) in his bid to continue as Speaker of the House. Congressman Massie did not support Boehner two years ago either, instead choosing to vote for his close ally in Congress, Justin Amash (R-MI). Massie is instead currently trawling his Facebook friends and local constituents in an effort to learn who grassroots conservatives would like to see him support.
He also released a memo explicitly stating that he would not vote for John Boehner as Speaker of the House, before releasing a follow-up op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 27, 2014
Here is the press release from his website:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Massie issued these reasons to support a new candidate for Speaker of the House:
For years I watched Washington from afar and suspected that something was broken. Why is it that so many people approve of their congressman, yet they consistently disapprove of Congress? During my first two years as a congressman I discovered a significant source of the dysfunction. I watched the House Leadership:
• Schedule a fiscal crisis in a lame duck session on the last legislative day before Christmas to get maximum leverage over rank and file members,
• Mislead members into thinking that a vote on an unpopular bill was postponed, only to then conduct a rushed voice vote on the $10 billion unfunded spending measure with fewer than a dozen members present,
• Give members less than 72 hours to read bills over 1,000 pages long, and
• Remove members from committees simply because they voted for the principles upon which they campaigned.
With a process this broken, is it any wonder that Washington no longer works for the people? My constituents expect better and America deserves better. On January 6th, 2015, I will vote for a new Speaker who will consistently articulate a constitutional vision for America and facilitate an inclusive and orderly legislative process that allows Congress to truly reflect the will of the people.
Here is what he had to say in his op-ed, which I find a wholly convincing argument on the need for a new House Speaker. Maybe you’ll agree?
A New Speaker is a Step in the Right Direction
by Congressman Thomas Massie
This OpEd originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Washington is broken, and the public knows it. Many have attributed our government’s dysfunction to factors such as campaign financing, gerrymandering, lack of transparency, career politicians, disregard for the Constitution and hyper-partisanship.
I concede all of these contribute to the problem. But after coming to Washington, I discovered a bigger, less obvious source of congressional dysfunction. The House of Representatives has devolved into a theatrical stage for congressmen to perform for their constituents, while most legislative power is vested within the office of speaker.
To understand the power that today’s speaker wields requires understanding how the House works. All legislation ostensibly passes through committees. The chair of each committee should in theory have the authority to make decisions regarding which bills will pass through his committee and receive a vote on the House floor.
However, pursuant to current House rules and procedures, the speaker is the sole and final authority regarding who becomes the chair of each committee, and which bills are allowed to be voted on by the full House. If a chairman refuses to conform to the speaker’s wishes, the speaker has the power to bypass that committee completely.
Our country deserves an orderly legislative process. However, the 113th Congress frequently followed anything but an orderly process. Witness the recent CR/Omnibus: This 1603-page bill was written behind closed doors, introduced two days before the vote with little time for debate, and contained numerous legislative riders irrelevant to the funding of the government. It was the speaker’s decision to create a fiscal crisis on the last legislative day before Christmas vacation.
This irresponsible brinksmanship was designed to give congressmen a choice between spending their Christmas vacation in D.C. or rubber-stamping the legislation without reading it. Those members who voted for the bill have aptly defended their vote, but I know of none who will strain their credibility by defending the process the speaker employed to pass it.
Numerous but less publicized examples of legislative malpractice exist. For instance, on March 27, 2014, our leadership suspected it did not have support to pass an unfunded $10 billion Medicare spending bill. After delaying the scheduled vote twice that morning, they told members the House was in recess. Then, after members dispersed to their offices, in the course of less than 53 seconds, our leadership gaveled the House back in session and passed the bill on a voice vote with less than a dozen members present. Nearly every member of Congress resents this abuse of the speaker’s power and none will defend it.
So why would 434 members perpetuate this centralized autocratic rule when they have the constitutional power to choose a new speaker Tuesday? Because for many members, this choice is an illusion. Voting against the speaker means jeopardizing your committee assignments, your fundraising opportunities, and literally your political career. Critics may call my vote unwise for these reasons, but I challenge them instead to defend the undemocratic manner in which the speaker has moved legislation through the House of Representatives.
Rather than defend their own vote for the current speaker, some will choose to spread misinformation about my vote. It is untrue that a vote for anyone other than the current speaker will cause Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be elected. To become speaker of the House, one must receive a majority rather than a plurality of the votes cast for candidates.
I will vote for a speaker who can articulate a constitutional vision for America and facilitate an inclusive and orderly legislative process that allows Congress to truly reflect the will of the people.
This OpEd originally appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com