Mar 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

KY congressman draws bipartisan ire for reported stimulus delay tactic

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Politicians on both sides of the aisle lined up to condemn Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Friday for his reported attempt to delay the passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, which he opposes.

What's happening: Congress had wanted to approve the measure by voice vote on Friday to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus for members who had to travel back to D.C. But those plans changed late Thursday over concerns that Massie could force a roll-call vote, requiring at least 216 members present on the House floor, per NBC New York.

What they're saying:

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry, responded with a tweet of his own: "Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an asshole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity. He's given new meaning to the term #Masshole. (Finally, something the president and I can agree on!)"
  • Rep. Dean Philips (D-Minn.) tweeted: Dear @RepThomasMassie: If you intend to delay passage of the #coronavirus relief bill tomorrow morning, please advise your 428 colleagues RIGHT NOW so we can book flights and expend ~$200,000 in taxpayer money to counter your principled but terribly misguided stunt. #thankyou"
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) responded as he drove back to Washington, per NBC New York: "If that's the method used to get this to the American people, to get this passed, then I think lots of members are probably OK with that," Jordan added: "I know the plan is for it to be a voice vote, and that's what the leadership has said they're for, and I think that's fine."
  • Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) told CNN: “It’s an act of vanity and selfishness that goes beyond comprehension. .. But the fact that he would put people who are at risk .. in order to satisfy his vanity is a pretty pathetic reflection on his character.” Kildee added: “He should be ashamed of himself and the country should scorn him,”
  • Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) tweeted: "Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible."
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, tweeted: "Lots in bill ain't great, but this stupid stunt hurts ppl who he's supposed to represent. There's 535 members of Congress? Does Massie think he's smarter & better than the other 534? He can't stop bill; only delay & cost millions to have members return. Vote yes or just go home!"

Go deeper: Trump blasts GOP Rep. Thomas Massie for stimulus vote delay

Go deeper

House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting

Photo: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

20 House Republicans plan to file a lawsuit late Tuesday against Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an effort to block the chamber's new proxy voting system amid the coronavirus pandemic, three congressional sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The lawsuit, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, alleges the rules are unconstitutional because the Constitution requires a quorum, or a majority, of lawmakers to be physically present in order to conduct business. The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places. The measure is effective Friday and applies to places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from the novel coronavirus and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

Zipline's drone drops medical supplies via parachute. Image courtesy of Zipline.

Zipline, a California drone company, has made its U.S. debut by delivering medical supplies to hospitals in North Carolina under a pilot program honed in Africa.

Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.