When Republican lawmakers came under fire during a June 14 baseball practice in Virginia, they were trapped by a tall fence with one exit. Thanks to armed officers guarding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, only five people were wounded.
But although members of the congressional leadership are provided security details, the rest of us have to count on luck. “When congressmen and senators are off the Capitol Hill campus, we are still high-profile targets, but we have zero protection,” Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama told John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Mr. Lott, who worked with me on this article, and I have talked to some of the congressmen and staffers who were there during the attack. They uniformly want to change the District of Columbia’s gun-control laws.
Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico described to me how a security officer’s shots put the attacker into a defensive position, causing him to come out from behind a wall to fire before taking cover again. Had the attacker “taken even six steps forward,” Mr. Pearce said, he would have seen several exposed people concealed from his line of sight.
At least five congressmen at the baseball practice have concealed handgun permits in their home states. At least one aide also has a permit. Others may be reluctant to announce publicly that they do, since part of the benefit of carrying a concealed weapon is that potential attackers do not know who is armed. That’s why uniformed police have an almost impossible job stopping terrorist attacks. A uniform is like a neon sign flashing: “I have a gun. Shoot me first.”
In 2015 the Daily Caller surveyed 38 conservative members of Congress, asking whether they held a concealed-carry permit. Thirty declined to answer. Of the eight who did respond, six had permits. Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, says that as of last year nine of the 10 Republican congressmen from his state had a concealed-carry permit.
An aide says that when Rep. Barry Loudermilk is speaking at public events in his district, “they always have someone with the congressman who is carrying.” Likewise, when I’m home in Kentucky, my staff and I carry weapons.
But the District of Columbia’s gun regulations meant no one had a permitted, concealed handgun at the congressional baseball practice. Virginia, where the attack occurred, honors permits from any other state. But as Mr. Brooks explained: “My residence is in the District of Columbia, which means that it would have been illegal for me to take my weapon with me to the ballpark—about a 9-mile bike ride—and it would have also been illegal for me to come from Virginia back into D.C. with my weapon.”
Both Rep. Brooks and the Loudermilk aide say they believe the attack could have been ended much earlier. The aide, who asked to be unnamed, has received active-shooter training and remained behind a car 15 to 20 yards from the attacker. He believes he could have shot the attacker from his position and ended the attack “probably four minutes earlier.”
Mr. Brooks believes he was much better-positioned than the two officers guarding Mr. Scalise, who were on the opposite side of the field: “If I had a weapon in my backpack in the dugout, I would have had an opportunity to stop him.”
That’s why I have introduced legislation to allow people with concealed handgun permits from any state to carry their permitted firearms into the District of Columbia. It’s a miracle that only five were wounded at the Republicans’ baseball practice. Next time the results might be even more devastating.
Mr. Massie, a Republican, represents Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District and is chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus.Read More
Washington, D.C - Today, Congressman Thomas Massie, Chairman of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, introduced H.R 2909, the D.C Personal Protection Reciprocity Act. This legislation would allow individuals with a valid concealed carry permit issued from their home state to carry their firearms in the District of Columbia.
“After the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional Baseball practice, there will likely be calls for special privileges to protect politicians,” Congressman Massie explained. “Our reaction should instead be to protect the right of all citizens guaranteed in the Constitution: the right to self-defense. I do not want to extend a special privilege to politicians, because the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege, it is a God-given right protected by our Constitution.”
“If not for the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police at the ball field yesterday, things could have been much worse. What’s always evident in these situations is this: the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
“To ensure public safety, we need to repeal laws that keep good guys from carrying guns, since not everyone has a personal police detail,” stated Congressman Massie. “The right to keep and bear arms is the common person's first line of defense in these situations, and it should never be denied.”
Congress has the authority to legislate in this area pursuant to Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to “exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such District as may become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”
Although Virginia extends reciprocity to concealed carry permit holders in many states, the members of Congress and accompanying staff traveled directly from D.C., and were traveling back to D.C after the practice was over. It was D.C.’s harsh gun control laws that prevented these law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to bear arms.
Original Cosponsors include Reps Trent Franks (R-AZ), Scott Perry (R-PA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jody Hice (R-GA), Justin Amash (R-MI), Mo Brooks (R- AL), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Rod Blum (R-IA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Keith Rothfus (R-PA) David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rick Allen (R-GA), Tedd Yoho (R-FL), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Bill Posey (R-FL).
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Thomas Massie released the following statement regarding President Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw from the Paris Accord:
"There is no way to meet the level of CO2 emissions that President Obama signed up for in the Paris Climate Accord without drastically raising the price of energy on every consumer in the United States and hurting our economy. Pulling out of this agreement was the smart thing to do and I applaud President Trump on his decision."Read More
(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
On May 19, I re-introduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 2552). This bill would assist our struggling middle class by eliminating an unnecessary and unjust double-tax on seniors.
Social Security itself is financed by tax dollars, so forcing senior Americans to list these benefits as taxable income on their tax returns is absurd. This sneaky technique allows Congress to obtain more revenue for the federal government by taxing benefits owed to citizens who have paid into Social Security most of their lives. When Social Security benefits are taxed, they are, of course, reduced for the person who receives the benefit.
As the Congressional Research Service reports, "Until 1984, Social Security benefits were exempt from the federal income tax. The exclusion was based on rulings made in 1938 and 1941 by the Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue (the predecessor of the Internal Revenue Service). The 1941 Bureau ruling viewed benefits as being for general welfare and reasoned that subjecting the payments to income taxation would be contrary to the purposes of Social Security."
In other words, the 1941 equivalent of the IRS viewed the taxation of Social Security benefits as being unjust and contrary to the purpose for which Social Security was created.
For over 40 years, then, Social Security benefits remained untouched by tax-happy congressmen. What made Congress change its mind? Well, perhaps the opportunity to obtain more revenue for the federal government was simply too enticing for most lawmakers, who didn't see anything wrong with taxing Social Security benefits to get more money for the government's coffers.
When Congress first implemented the tax in 1984, it set politically palatable levels so as not to affect middle-class retirees. However, because the thresholds for taxing Social Security have not been adjusted for inflation, more and more retirees are now subject to the tax. What was considered a generous retirement income in 1984 is no longer comfortable, so eliminating this tax will benefit increasingly large numbers of Americans.
As the number of retirees forced to pay this tax increases, public awareness of the tax on Social Security benefits will likewise increase. If congressmen are inundated with complaints from their constituents regarding this unfair and unjust tax, surely Congress could find the will to reduce or eliminate it altogether.
As my colleague and fellow co-sponsor Rep. Alex Mooney says, “Seniors have worked hard to earn their Social Security benefits and have already been taxed on their contributions to Social Security. The federal government tax on Social Security is a double-tax and its repeal would provide an immediate increase in benefits for our seniors.”
HR 2552 was originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul in 2003. Original co-sponsors of the version I introduced this month include Reps. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Rod Blum of Iowa, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Alexander Mooney of West Virginia, Dave Brat of Virginia, Steve Knight of California, Daniel Webster of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona.
The Association of Mature American Citizens supports HR 2552, and says that “To tax the very benefit an individual has been taxed all their life to receive, is not only nonsensical, but it reduces the Social Security benefit millions of seniors rely on in their retirement. This important bill rightly eliminates the income tax levied on Social Security benefits in an effort to stop excessive and unnecessary taxation. AMAC is pleased to offer our organization’s full support to the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act.”
It is time for Congress to end this tax.
Rep. Thomas Massie is a Republican representing Kentucky's 4th District.Read More
U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Introduce Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing. Senators Angus King and Rand Paul Introduce Companion Legislation in the Senate.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) re-introduced legislation to make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve consumers. The PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act (H.R. 2657/S. 1232) would give individual states freedom to permit intrastate distribution of custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork, or lamb, to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores.
“As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with the difficulties small producers face when marketing directly to consumers,” said Rep. Massie, who owns 50 head of cattle. “Despite consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from, federal inspection requirements make it difficult for them to purchase food from local farmers they know and trust. These onerous federal rules also make it more difficult for small farms and ranches to succeed financially. It is time to open our markets to small farms and producers and give consumers the freedom to choose.”
"A lack of available processors is something I hear about from farmers in my District constantly. The meat they raise is in high demand by local customers who are willing to pay a premium for it, but the nearest state- or USDA-inspected processing facility could be hours away and the wait list could be months along.” said Rep. Pingree, who raises grass-fed beef at her island farm in Maine and is the lead Democratic sponsor for the legislation. "That is just crazy and defeats the whole point of locally produced food. If we can change the federal regulations a little to make it easier to process meat locally, it's going to help farmers scale up and give local consumers what they want.”
"The PRIME Act will help to alleviate the burden imposed on small farmers who currently don't have access to USDA-inspected meat processors,” stated Elizabeth Rich, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. “It's a good step toward support for local, sustainable food production."
Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, but only if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee use (21 U.S.C. § 623(a)). This means that in order to sell individual cuts of locally-raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses. These slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away, which adds substantial transportation cost, and also increases the chance that meat raised locally will be co-mingled with industrially-produced meat. The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive.
Original co-sponsors of the PRIME Act include Reps Walter Jones (R-NC), Mark Meadows (NC-11), Justin Amash (R-MI), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mark Sanford (R-SC), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dave Brat (R-VA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie re-introduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 2552), which would eliminate income taxes on Social Security benefits. The bill would boost the retirement income of millions of older Americans.
Original co-sponsors include Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA), Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV), Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA), Congressman Daniel Webster (R-FL), and Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
“Social Security is financed with Americans’ tax dollars, so taxing Social Security is double-taxing by the Federal Government,” said Congressman Massie. “Taxing Social Security reduces benefits to seniors.”
“I am proud to again co-sponsor Congressman Massie’s bill to protect our seniors,” said Congressman Rod Blum. “This is a common sense bill that will end the double-taxation of our seniors. Our seniors pay enough Social Security taxes on the front end, and it is irresponsible for the government to tax them again on their earned benefits.”
“Income taxes on Social Security benefits is a double-tax on seniors when many are already being squeezed financially,” said Congressman Daniel Webster. “This is wrong and I’m pleased to co-sponsor this legislation to repeal this tax.”
Congressman Jim Bridenstine said, “The government taxes, redistributes, then taxes the redistribution. Thomas Massie’s bill is a step in the right direction.”
"West Virginia seniors need relief from higher costs of living,” said Congressman Alex Mooney. “Seniors have worked hard to earn their Social Security benefits and have already been taxed on their contributions to Social Security. The Federal Government tax on Social Security is a double-tax and its repeal would provide an immediate increase in benefits for our seniors.”
Dan Weber, President of AMAC, the Association of Mature American Citizens, expressed his strong support stating, “To tax the very benefit an individual has been taxed all their life to receive, is not only nonsensical, but it reduces the Social Security benefit millions of seniors rely on in their retirement. This important bill rightly eliminates the income tax levied on Social Security benefits in an effort to stop excessive and unnecessary taxation. AMAC is pleased to offer our organization’s full support to the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act.”
The purpose of Social Security is to provide people with financial support during retirement, not to be another source of tax revenue for the Federal Government. Under this legislation, Social Security benefits would neither be taxable nor reportable on individual tax returns, thus restoring the integrity of the program.
“Taxing these benefits is an accounting sleight of hand that redistributes portions of the Social Security trust fund to other areas of government,” Congressman Massie concluded.
As recently as a year ago, Republicans argued that mandates were unconstitutional, bailouts were immoral, and subsidies would bankrupt our country. Today, however, the House voted for a healthcare bill that makes these objectionable measures permanent.
The former Democrat Speaker of the House was rightfully derided for imploring Members to vote for a healthcare bill to “find out what was in it.” Yet today, we voted on a healthcare bill for which the text was available only a few hours before the vote. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office had no time to even provide Congress with a preliminary estimate of the full cost of this bill.
By repealing a small number of Obamacare mandates, while leaving others in place, this bill runs the risk of destroying what remains of the individual health insurance market. The option in this bill that allows States to apply for waivers from some Obamacare mandates is well-intentioned. However, it falls far short of our promise to repeal Obamacare. There also remains the risk that State legislatures, like our federal legislature, are unable to withstand the political pressure from lobbyists who defend Obamacare, and the pressure from those who receive Obamacare’s welfare handouts.
This bill should have included measures that allow Americans to take charge of their own healthcare and get the government out of the way. These measures include allowing the deduction of health insurance costs from income taxes, giving everyone the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, and allowing individuals to band together through any organization to purchase insurance.
In weighing my vote, I heeded the wise advice that “one should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” If this bill becomes law, it could result in worse outcomes, fewer options, and higher prices for Kentuckians who seek health care. In summary, I voted against this bill not because it’s imperfect, but because it’s not good.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C- America’s national debt is nearing $20 trillion, yet today Congress passed a $1.163 trillion omnibus spending bill (H.R. 244). This legislation exceeds congressional spending caps by over $90 billion and contains full funding for the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood.
Congressman Massie voted against H.R 244- the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2017
“House Leadership and the media have led the public to believe that passing one giant omnibus every year, at the last minute, is a legitimate way to fund the government and that anything else will result in a total government shutdown. Both are false,” Congressman Massie explained. “We should write, debate, amend, and pass 12 separate appropriations bills as the law prescribes, so that if any one bill fails to pass, only 1/12th of the Federal government shuts down.”
H.R 244 passed the House of Representatives 309-118, with 178 Democrats and 131 Republicans voting in favor.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Representative Thomas Massie voted against H.J. Res. 99, the Continuing Resolution (CR) that kicked the can down the road and only funded the Federal Government until next Friday.
"Since entering Congress, I have championed funding the government through regular order. This means 12 separate appropriations bills considered in an open process. Today's Continuing Resolution, extending government funding for a week, is an embarrassment. Congress's main responsibility is to allocate federal funds, yet House Leadership acts surprised by the funding deadline they created.
When the federal government wants to get rid of properties, it can often take a while, leaving old government buildings vacant and rotting.
In Northern Kentucky, for example, no one's lived in the once regal, weather-beaten officers' homes in Fort Thomas Tower Park for 15 years as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has tried to figure out a way to sell them to the city of Fort Thomas.
Local leaders want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to the massive Internal Revenue Service building in the heart of Covington's business district. Northern Kentucky's congressman, Thomas Massie, said he's confident the federal government will sell the property once it vacates.
"I'm more than hopeful, I'm adamant," Massie said. "I don't think there's a better case than the IRS facility right in the heart of Covington for turning back that government property to private individuals to make a better, higher use than being vacant."
The IRS wasn't available for immediate comment.
Massie is in a position to have an influence on this. He sits on two committees that have jurisdiction over federal properties, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure committee.
Massie toured the IRS processing facility last week with Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. In response to a decrease in paper tax returns as more file taxes online, IRS announced it will close the processing operations in downtown Covington by 2019. That will eliminate 1,800 jobs and leave a 450,000-square-foot, Cold War-era building vacant. The IRS will still maintain some administrative jobs in Covington.
At a recent meeting of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Massie said he has brought the IRS building to the attention of powerful leaders in Washington. He's talked to both chairmen of the committees in charge of federal properties.
"We've got this property here," Massie said. "If the IRS does not continue to use it, we don't want it to become one of these poster children that we always bring up in our committee hearings where you have all these campuses with vines growing on them and deer leaping through something that could be put to good use."
The Lewis County Republican said he's confident the IRS will move quickly to sell the building after 2019.
"I want to assure you that's a high priority of mine," Massie said.
The Covington mayor didn't return a message seeking comment.Read More
1119 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
U.S. Representative Thomas Massie entered Congress in November 2012 after serving as Lewis County Judge Executive. He represents Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District which stretches across Northern Kentucky and 280 miles of the Ohio River.
U.S. Representative Massie attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. During school, he invented a technology that enabled people to interact with computers using their sense of touch, and leveraged that technology to found SensAble Technologies, Inc., which raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents. The hardware and software he developed is now used to design automobiles, jewelry, shoes, dental prosthetics, and even reconstructive implants for wounded soldiers.
In Congress, Thomas serves on three committees: the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure has jurisdiction over roads, bridges, mass transit, railroads, aviation, maritime and waterborne transit. Thomas’s selection to the Oversight and Government Reform Committee puts him in a position to hold the federal government accountable to taxpayers. Further, Rep. Massie’s background from MIT and the high-tech business world makes him uniquely qualified to serve his state and country on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Thomas lives on a cattle farm in Kentucky with his wife and high school sweetheart, Rhonda, and their four children.
He’s honored to be able to serve the citizens of Kentucky’s 4th District.
My bill would allow anyone with a state issued concealed carry permit to carry in D.C. https://t.co/xlesSbYvkB
@ReneBruer Agree. That's why my bill applies to everyone with a state issued permit, not just politicians.
In 2014, a constituent contacted my office to alert me that he could not receive a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) physical at the Lexington
In response to the horrific shooting at the Republican Congressional baseball practice, I authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal regarding
The budget debate is heating up this summer. The hand wringing has commenced over how to fund our nation's infrastructure, the military, improved
President Obama's Syria policy was "Assad must go." It's time to rethink that policy. Regardless, it's unconstitutional to fight the government
Last month, the House passed #Obamacare 2.0. Yesterday, the Senate introduced #Obamacare 1.1. SAD! #sassywithmassie #HealthCareBill