GOP congressman complains safety measures are 'wrecking our economy'


Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie is upset that governors are issuing stay-at-home orders to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) lashed out at the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic this week, accusing governors of doing economic harm with their social distancing and stay-at-home rules.

In a tweet on Sunday, Massie attacked both the leaders and members of Congress, who have been in recess since last week and are unlikely to return until later this month. As NPR noted, most lawmakers are back in their home states "as a result of the spreading coronavirus pandemic," and many of them "are adhering to stay-at-home orders in their districts."

Massie has urged adoption of remote voting in the meantime.

"So now they’ve defaulted to Congressional paralysis. They will try to tell us to stay home for the next vote as well," he tweeted Sunday. "Like the governors who are wrecking our economy, the top folks in Congress need replaced when this is over. Never again should they be called 'leaders.'"

Massie did not immediately respond to a request for comment on which safety measures he believed were "wrecking" the country.

Massie last month earned the ire of both parties, as well as Donald Trump, when he forced a majority of members of Congress to return to Washington, D.C., to vote for the bipartisan economic rescue package.

Massie used parliamentary rules to require a majority quorum present, rather than allowing a few members to approve it by voice vote. His maneuver did not change the results but did force people to travel during a pandemic and may have put other members at risk.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) was diagnosed with a "presumed coronavirus infection" days after participating in the floor debate.

Massie has subsequently tried to fundraise off of the stunt.

As of Friday, 42 states were under stay-at-home orders, requiring residents to remain in their homes except when doing essential activities. The surgeon general endorsed these policies as vital to reducing the virus's spread.

And as of Monday, the CDC was reporting more than 330,000 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the United States with more than 8,900 deaths.

Experts say social distancing will have to continue for some time to flatten the curve and avoid overwhelming the public health infrastructure — likely at least through May.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, noted last month, "You don’t make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline."

On Monday, Massie launched polls on Twitter and Facebook asking his followers to vote on which is "the bigger threat" — COVID-19 or the government's reaction to it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.