Citing Budget Deficit Concerns, Kentucky Republican Says He Could Delay House Vote on Coronavirus Bill

Tobias Hoonhout

A Kentucky Congressman said he would vote against the Senate’s phase-three economic relief package that passed 96-0 on Wednesday night, citing concerns that the $2-trillion-dollar bill would worsen the already-growing national debt.

Representative Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) told 55 KRC radio Thursday morning that the bill, although it includes direct payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, is less concerned with Americans.

“If it were just about helping people to get more unemployment (benefits) to get through this calamity . . . then I could be for it,” he explained. “But this is $2 trillion. Divide $2 trillion by 350 million people — it’s almost $6,000 for every man, woman and child. I’m talking about spending. This won’t go to the men, women and children. So if you have a family of five, this spending bill represents $30,000 of additional U.S. national debt because there is no plan to pay for it.”

Massie added that he could object to a potential voice vote in the House of Representatives, which could delay a prospective Friday morning vote by forcing members to return to Washington D.C.

“I’m having a really hard time with this. Because they’re saying, well it’s hard to travel, yadda yadda yadda,” he said. “Well, last night, 96 out of 100 Senators voted. All we would need is 218 out of 435 to vote.”

“I know there are people saying, ‘Oh you gotta vote for it. You can’t slow this down,'” he went further. “Meanwhile, they spent a week in the Senate arguing how much money should go to the Kennedy Center.”

The Congressional Budget Office’s annual report in January projected a 2020 deficit of $1.02 trillion and deficits that would exceed $1 trillion annually for at least the next decade, despite President Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to eliminate the U.S. deficit “over a period of eight years.”

Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in February that the issue was “extraordinarily disturbing.”

“My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party,” Mulvaney told the Oxford Union.

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