Thomas Massie

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Urges Courts to Protect Second Amendment

2015/12/18

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Thursday December 17, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representative Massie Urges Courts to Protect Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Thomas Massie and 14 members of the House of Representatives filed an amicus brief to Defense Distributed v. United States Department of State in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The attorney for the plaintiff is Alan Gura, who successfully argued  McDonald v. City of Chicago and Heller v. District of Columbia before the U. S. Supreme Court. The brief is intended to advise the appellate court and support the plaintiff’s case.

“We expect the Court to recognize that the State Department exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress and violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution,” said Rep. Massie. “If the State Department’s violations are allowed to stand, it could have dramatic implications for free speech on the Internet.”

In June 2013, Defense Distributed, a Texas non-profit committed to defending the right to bear arms, made technical information about 3D-printing of legal firearms available for free on the Internet.  The State Department forced the company to withdraw the posted information, citing the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a U.S. law which bans export of sensitive information.

Defense Distributed sought an injunction against the State Department in 2015, claiming the ban violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. A Texas district court denied the injunction, but the company has appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  The amicus brief was filed in support of the appeal.

Rep. Massie and the other co-signers of the brief argue that the State Department’s interpretation of export regulations exceeds the authority in the foreign commerce clause of the Constitution.  The foreign commerce clause allows regulation of trade with other countries, but it does not allow regulation of free speech within the United States.  The co-signers also assert that the State Department’s interpretation of the export regulations will stifle American innovation as well as free speech.

In addition to Rep. Massie, House co-signers include Duncan (R-SC), Gosar (R-AZ), Webster (R-FL), Labrador (R-ID), Conaway (R-TX), Rokita (R-IN), Farenthold (R-TX), Posey (R-FL), Miller (R-FL), Babin (R-TX), Jones (R-NC), King (R-IA), Fleming (R-LA), and Kelly (R-PA).

To read the amicus brief, click here.

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Jones and Massie Introduce Bill to Cut Ex-Speaker Office

2015/12/09

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Wednesday December 9, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representatives Jones and Massie Introduce Bill to Cut Ex-Speaker Office

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-4) introduced legislation to de-authorize the post-speaker office that retired speakers enjoy for up to five years after they leave office. The practice started in 1971 when former Speaker John McCormack retired. In the past 44 years, the perk has grown to include office allowances, franking privileges, and staff help for the former speaker. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert spent $1.9 million in taxpayer money running his post-speaker office. Meanwhile, he was making big money as a Washington, DC lobbyist and had the disposable income to pay $1.7 million to someone who was blackmailing him over allegedly molesting young boys.

“It is ridiculous that a former speaker needs 5 years and millions of taxpayer dollars to maintain an office in the Capitol building,” said Congressman Jones. “They are no longer a member of Congress. Upon leaving office, former speakers have access to many perks and opportunities, including government pensions, book deals, lobbying, speaking engagements, and consulting. If they want an office, they can pay for it themselves. We need to cut this unnecessary taxpayer-funded perk and deal with our $18 trillion debt.”

“I’m confident that when we get this legislation to the floor, every member of Congress will vote with us to eliminate this waste of taxpayer dollars,” Massie said.  “This week's omnibus presents an immediate opportunity to defund the ex-speaker's office, but the most probable vehicle is an amendment containing Mr. Jones' legislation, that we can offer next summer during the appropriations debate,” he added.

Congressman Jones also sent a letter to Speaker Ryan today about the need to de-authorize to the post-speaker office. Watch video of Congressman Jones’ remarks at the press conference here

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PRESS RELEASE: House Passes Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo Amendment to Bring Electric Car Charging Stations to Federal Facilities at No Cost to Taxpayer

2015/11/04

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Wednesday November 4, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

House Passes Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo Amendment to Bring Electric Car Charging Stations to Federal Facilities at No Cost to Taxpayer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Congressman Thomas Massie, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) that would allow the General Services Administration (GSA) to construct, install, and operate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for private vehicle use at federal facilities at no cost to the taxpayer. The amendment, which Congressman Massie modeled after a bill written by Congresswoman Lofgren, is part of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015, which authorizes funds for the Highway Trust Fund for six years.

"In 2012, Congress passed legislation to allow electric vehicle recharging at the U.S. Capitol for congressmen and their staff for a fee, but neglected to extend this authority to other federal agencies and employees. Our amendment would correct this disparity," said Rep. Massie, who serves on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. 

"I first learned of this issue after a constituent wrote me a letter last year," said Rep. Lofgren, who introduced the EV-COMUTE Act that served as template for this amendment. "In it, he said he was ‘surprised and dismayed’ that it is illegal for federal facilities to provide electric vehicle charging stations for the public or their employees, even at no cost to taxpayers. My family has an electric car and I know they are an important part of improving efficiency and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. As this amendment was adopted on the House floor today, it served as a powerful reminder of the role citizens play in generating new ideas and legislation.”

“The EV-COMUTE Act replicates a successful clean energy initiative in place at the U.S. Capitol and expands it to federal agencies nationwide, allowing commuters to plug in their electric vehicles at work for a small fee,” said Rep. Eshoo, who also introduced the original EV-COMUTE legislation. “As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should lead by example in offering workplace charging. Silicon Valley is home to thousands of electric vehicle owners, yet the more than 5,000 federal employees in my congressional district have no access to charging facilities at work because of a quirk in existing law. This legislation is a small but commonsense step in our global battle against climate change and will help keep the U.S. a leader in clean energy deployment.”

"In my personal and public life, I consistently support an all-of-the-above energy strategy for the United States,” concluded Rep. Massie, an MIT graduate who drives an electric car daily in Washington, D.C. “I'm proud to sponsor this amendment because it will expand transportation options for many Americans at no cost to taxpayers."

The Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo amendment is modeled after the EV-COMUTE Act (H.R. 3509), which was introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Thomas Massie, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, and Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA). This bill was written to provide federal workers with flexibility in their commute by enabling federal agencies to construct power charging stations for employees with electric vehicles. The cost of installing and operating the charging stations will be fully covered by fees paid by employees who use the stations.  The Massie-Lofgren-Eshoo amendment was adopted on November 3rd, 2015. 

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Reintroduce Milk Freedom Legislation

2015/09/18

For Immediate Release   Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov Friday, September 18, 2015   (202) 225-3465    

PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Reintroduce Milk Freedom Legislation

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie (R–KY), Chellie Pingree (D–ME), and a bipartisan coalition of 16 other lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to improve consumer food choices and to protect local farmers from federal interference. The two bills – the Milk Freedom of Act of 2015 (H.R. 3563) and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 (H.R. 3564) – are the newest in a series of “food and farm freedom” initiatives the lawmaking duo have championed this year, following the Industrial Hemp Act of 2015 (H.R. 525) and the PRIME Act (H.R. 3187).

“These bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Rep. Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers the foods they want, and states should be free to set their own laws regulating food safety.”

"A lot of people want to buy fresh, unpasteurized milk and regulations shouldn't get between them and a farmer who wants to sell it,” said Rep. Pingree. "It just doesn't make sense to spend money cracking down on small, local farmers who are producing natural, raw milk and I think the enforcement of raw milk regulations has been overzealous and needs to be reined in." 

"Raw milk is the only food banned in interstate commerce," said Pete Kennedy, President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. "Congratulations to Representatives Massie and Pingree for starting the process of repealing a regulation that thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens violate every week in this country." 

Raw milk is fresh milk that has not been pasteurized, and may contain beneficial nutrients that have not been eliminated by the pasteurization process.  Although Congress has never passed legislation banning raw milk, the federal Food and Drug Administration has used their regulatory authority to prosecute farmers for selling raw milk.

The “Milk Freedom Act of 2015” (H.R. 3563) would provide relief to local farmers, small producers, and others who have been harassed, fined, and in some cases even prosecuted for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk.  This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.

Likewise, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015” (H.R. 3564) would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized, natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal. 

No provision of either bill would preempt or otherwise interfere with any state law.

Massie concluded, “Today, many people are paying more attention to the food they eat, what it contains, and how it is processed.  Raw milk, which has been with us for thousands of years, is making a comeback among these discerning consumers.  Personal choices as basic as ‘what we feed our families’ should not be limited by the federal government.”

Original co-sponsors of the Milk Freedom Act of 2015 include Reps Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Richard Nugent (R-FL), and Justin Amash (R-MI). Original co-sponsors of the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2015 include Reps Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Richard Nugent (R-FL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Raúl Labrador (R-ID). 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Issues Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal

2015/09/11

For Immediate Release

 

Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov

Friday September 11, 2015

 

(202) 225-3465

 

 

U.S. Representative Massie Issues Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Massie explained his votes on four bills related to the Iran nuclear deal:

1. The “Corker-Cardin” bill that enabled the President’s deal with Iran, provided Congress had 60 days to review:

I was one of 25 congressmen who, on May 14, 2015, voted “no” on this bill. The Iran deal is a treaty, and pursuant to Article II, section 2 of our Constitution, treaties require the approval of 2/3 of the Senate. Corker-Cardin turns the constitutional approval process for treaties on its head.  Whereas the Constitution requires 2/3 of the Senate to actively approve the President’s treaty, Corker-Cardin effectively requires 2/3 of the Senate to disapprove the Iran deal.   In addition, the Constitution gives no power to the House of Representatives to either approve or disapprove of a treaty.

2. H. Res. 411, which expresses the sense of the House that, by withholding the “side deals” to the overall Iran agreement, the President was not complying with the “Corker-Cardin” bill’s framework:

I voted “yes” because, given the limited information I learned in classified briefings, the side deals are relevant to the overall agreement, yet the President has refused to disclose the side deals to Congress.

3. H.R. 3461, the bill to “approve” the Iran deal:

I voted “present.” Pursuant to the Constitution, treaties must be approved by a “2/3 concurrence” of the Senate. As a member of the House of Representatives, I have no authority to approve a treaty. Even assuming the legitimacy of the Corker-Cardin bill’s framework, H.R. 3461 is a “show-boat” vote at best, since if a majority of the House votes “no” on approving the Iran deal, H.R. 3461 fails, nothing goes to the Senate, nothing is sent to the President for his signature, and the Iran deal proceeds on schedule. 

4. H.R. 3460, a bill which prevents the President from lifting sanctions on Iran during the remainder of his presidential term:

I voted “yes.” The President should not be given authority to single-handedly lift sanctions that were implemented via legislation passed by Congress. The executive branch already has far too much authority and power. 

The Corker-Cardin bill passed the House 400-25 on May 14, 2015, and was signed into law. H. Res. 411 passed 245-186, H.R. 3461 failed 162-269-1, and H.R. 3460 passed 247-186. H. Res 411 and H. R. 3460 now go to the Senate.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Introduce Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing

2015/07/24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 23, 2015

CONTACT:

Rep. Massie: Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov (202-225-3465)

Rep. Pingree: Willy.Ritch@mail.house.gov (207-841-8400)

  

U.S. Representatives Massie and Pingree Introduce Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing

 

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced legislation to make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve consumers. The PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act 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.”

"More and more people want locally produced food, but because of the way the system is set up for processing meat, farmers and ranchers sometimes end up sending their animals hundreds or even thousands of miles to a giant slaughterhouse,” 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 is the first step to rebuilding local processing infrastructure, which can revive rural economies and enable communities to become more self-sufficient in meat production,” stated Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. “We applaud Representative Massie and Representative Pingree for taking on one of the bigger obstacles to a prosperous local food system.”

"Regulating sales of locally produced and sold meat at the state level has the potential to address a significant barrier to the growth of the local food system,” said Judith McGeary, Founder and Executive Director of Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance. "As an organization that represents both farmers and consumers, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance applauds this common-sense bill."

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.

The PRIME Act (H.R. 3187), which is supported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, is part of a series of “Food & Farm Freedom” initiatives championed by Massie, including The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 (H.R. 525), the Milk Freedom Act of 2014 (H.R. 4307 in the 113th Congress), and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 (H.R. 4308 in the 113th Congress). Rep. Pingree was the lead Democratic co-sponsor on both “Milk Freedom” bills. Rep. Massie has also been a staunch advocate for country-of-origin labeling of food.

Original co-sponsors of the PRIME Act include Reps Walter Jones (R-NC) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

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Bipartisan, bicameral group highlights broad opposition to sweeping anti-patent legislation moving through Congress

2015/07/14

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Curt Clawson (R-FL), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Paul Gosar (D-AZ) held a joint press conference today to highlight the broad opposition to sweeping anti-patent legislation moving through Congress.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, before the House concludes legislative business in July. The Senate may take up S. 1137, the PATENT Act, this month or in the fall. H.R. 9 is strongly opposed by inventors, small businesses, venture capitalists, startup communities, and manufacturing, technology, and life sciences companies.

Senator Coons is the author of targeted patent legislation, the STRONG Patents Act, which Senator Vitter has co-sponsored.

“Passing the extensive patent reform being proposed in the House could hurt the very communities patents are meant to protect – innovators, small businesses, and job creators,” Senator Vitter said. “The past three years has seen drastic changes to the patent system. We shouldn’t further overhaul the entire patent system because of a few bad actors. Rather than a blanket overhaul that would cause more uncertainty, we need to strike the right balance and take a targeted approach that minimizes litigation abuse, protects end users, and empowers innovators at the heart of our economy.”

“The fact of the matter is that these two bills would be destructive to our innovation economy, and we're working hard to ensure they won't be treated lightly in either the House or the Senate,” said Senator Chris Coons. “A strong patent system is one of the critical ways we distinguish ourselves from competing economies around the world, and we cannot afford to rush into passing a bill that would further weaken our innovation economy, which is exactly what the Innovation Act would do by making broad changes that fail to protect all patent holders. I will continue working hard with colleagues from both parties in both the House and the Senate to shine a light on the significant flaws in H.R. 9 and the PATENT Act in the Senate."

“Abusive patent litigation requires a targeted approach, H.R. 9, the so-called ‘Innovation Act,’ is far from that,” said Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich). “The overly broad legislation could potentially weaken every single patent in America. It favors big businesses over small inventors and start-ups by including harmful provisions like presumptive fee shifting, expanded joinder, heightened pleading standards, and discovery limitations, yet it fails to prevent fee diversion or address the use of deceptive demand letters – two of the most significant solutions to address abusive patent litigation. As I have stated before, H.R. 9 would have unintended consequences that will harm legitimate patent holders and stifle innovation in America.”

“As a small inventor with 29 U.S. patents, I oppose H.R. 9, the so-called Innovation Act, because it threatens American inventors, particularly individual inventors and those working at small businesses and startups,” said Rep. Massie. “The bill attempts to “fix” a few isolated abuses of the patent system, but instead it sets forth a comprehensive overhaul of the existing legal framework that compromises the rights of all legitimate inventors. If Congress recklessly weakens our patent system by passing this bill, inventors’ very livelihoods will be threatened. Inventors will stop inventing, and as the role models for young inventors quietly fade into history, fewer young students will pursue this rewarding career path. A decade from now, Congress will lament the lack of interest among our nation’s youth in subjects like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, arrogantly unaware that Congress itself destroyed it.”

“As a small business owner who started a company that supports hundreds of good manufacturing jobs, I have been on both sides of patent fights – asserting the patent rights of the company and defending patent claims brought against it,” said Rep. Foster. “So I understand the need for balance in our patent system. H.R. 9 would throw the system out of balance, making it almost impossible for garage inventors to even attempt to protect their intellectual property against established players with deep pockets. The so-called Innovation Act has the potential to stop small companies like ours before they can even get started.”

“What is clear is that the so-called ‘Innovation Act’ is the wrong approach and will undermine the entire patent system,” said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52). “Instead we should craft patent reform legislation that actually fixes the problem and allows for innovators to develop their ideas free from frivolous litigation, gives inventors a clear and reasonable route of recourse when they are wronged, and brings our patent system into the 21st century.”

 

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Press Release: U.S. Representative Massie Votes to Force Congressional Debate on the Troops in Iraq and Syria

2015/06/17

For Immediate Release   Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov Wednesday June 17, 2015   (202) 225-3465     U.S. Representative Massie Votes to Force Congressional Debate on the Troops in Iraq and Syria     WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie voted in support of a resolution to ensure that Congress debates and votes on an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by the end of the year. H. Con. Res. 55, which was introduced by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), requires that Congress either debate and vote on an AUMF for this war by the end of the year, or bring our troops home.   "Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power to declare war,” said Rep. Massie. “War requires congressional authorization, and the American people deserve open debate by their elected officials.”   U.S. airstrikes against ISIS began in August 2014 without the congressional debate and declaration of war required by the Constitution. Though President Obama claims the 2002 Iraq AUMF is sufficient, the new military action in Iraq constitutes a new war, with a new enemy, and thus requires a new congressional authorization of force.  The President cannot use the 2002 AUMF in Iraq to justify any new action.   “If we are to send our brave young men and women into harm’s way overseas, then Congress must honor the Constitution, declare war, and fight to win. Anything else is illegal, unconstitutional, and likely to lead to horrific unintended consequences,” added Massie.   Representative Massie's floor speech in support of the resolution can be watched here. H. Con. Res. 55 failed by a 139-288-1 vote.

 

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Press Release: U.S. House Votes for Additional Restrictions on Surveillance

2015/06/11

 

For Immediate Release   Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov Thursday June 11, 2015   (202) 225-3465     U.S. House Votes for Additional Restrictions on Surveillance   WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to defund two surveillance “backdoors” that currently allow intelligence agencies access to Americans’ private data and correspondence without a warrant. The amendment, which is part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2685), passed 255-174.   “The USA Freedom Act is not the last word on surveillance reform,” said Rep. Massie.  “Backdoor surveillance authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act is arguably worse than the bulk collection of records illegally collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. This amendment is a much needed next step as Congress continues to rein in the surveillance state and reassert the Fourth Amendment.”   “This amendment is the most meaningful step Congress can take to end warrantless bulk collection of US persons' communications and data,” said Rep. Lofgren. “We know that mass surveillance of Americans, as reported in the news, has taken place under the FISA Section 702 authority. This vote shows once again that the House is committed to upholding the Constitution and protecting Americans from warrantless invasions of their privacy. Enacting this amendment into law will benefit our economy, protect our competitiveness abroad, and make significant strides in rebuilding the public's trust.”   Under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, Americans' private data and communications – including emails, photos, and text messages – can be collected by intelligence agencies, provided that data or communication at some point crosses the border of the United States. Given the current fluid nature of electronic communications and data storage, in which corporate and private server farms store Americans’ data all over the world, this loophole could allow intelligence agencies access to a vast swath of communications and data without warrant protection. Intelligence officials have confirmed to Congress that law enforcement agencies actively search the content of this intercepted data without probable cause, and have used evidence gathered to assist in criminal prosecutions. Government agencies have also reportedly coerced individuals and organizations to build encryption “backdoors” into products or services for surveillance purposes, despite industry and cryptologist claims that this process is not technologically feasible without putting the data security of every individual using these services at risk. The Massie-Lofgren Amendment would prohibit funding for activities that exploit these “backdoors.”   An identical amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act last year passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 293-123 vote, but it was not included in the omnibus spending legislation that passed last December.   The amendment is supported by a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups as well as tech companies, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Campaign for Liberty, Constitutional Alliance, Council on American-Islamic Relations, CREDO Mobile, Defending Dissent Foundation, Demand Progress, DownsizeDC.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, FreedomWorks, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Generation Opportunity, Google, Liberty Coalition, Media Alliance, New America's Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia.org, OpenTheGovernment.org, Project On Government Oversight, Public Knowledge, Restore The Fourth, RootsAction.org, Student Net Alliance, Sunlight Foundation, TechFreedom, and X-Lab.   Other co-sponsors include Reps Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Conyers (D-MI), Poe (R-TX), Gabbard (D-HI), Jordan (R-OH), O'Rourke (D-TX), Amash (R-MI), Nadler (D-NY), Collins (R-GA), DelBene (D-WA), Labrador (R-ID), Pocan (D-WI), Farenthold (R-TX), Lieu (D-CA), and Sanford (R-SC).  

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Press Release: House Targets Executive Ammunition Bans in BATFE Spending Bill

2015/06/09

For Immediate Release   Lorenz.Isidro@mail.house.gov Monday June 8, 2015   (202) 225-3465     House Targets Executive Ammunition Bans in BATFE Spending Bill     WASHINGTON, DC – Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congressman Thomas Massie to block the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) from banning common rifle ammunition.  The amendment, which was part of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, passed 250-170.    “The administration has banned, and threatens to ban, common rifle ammunition using an overly broad interpretation of a law that was written for handgun ammunition,” said Rep. Massie. “My amendment uses the congressional power of the purse to defund ammunition bans from the executive branch.”   Massie's amendment was one of a trio of amendments last week that took aim at recent ammunition bans. Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced an amendment that would prevent any M855 or SS109 (.223 caliber / 5.56mm x 45mm) type rifle ammunition from being treated as "armor piercing" ammunition.  This comes after the BATFE backed off a controversial proposal in March to restrict the popular M855/SS109 ammunition.  Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced an amendment that would overturn a 2014 administrative ban on 7N6 type (5.45mm x 39mm) ammunition.  Both the Hudson amendment and the Gosar amendment passed by voice vote.   The Massie amendment addresses both the 7N6 ban and the proposed M855 ban, by clarifying that ammunition can not be retroactively treated as "armor piercing" simply because a handgun is later designed that can shoot the rifle ammunition.  It states, "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to treat ammunition as armor piercing for purposes of chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, except for ammunition designed and intended for use in a handgun (in accordance with 18 U.S.C. section  921(a)(17))."   The House passed H.R. 2578, the underlying CJS appropriations bill, 242-183.  All three amendments will require passage in the Senate before advancing to the President.

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Rep. Massie Discusses Rep. Paul Ryan and the Speaker Race with CNN 11/21/15

2015-10-21 16:51:15


Rep Massie (R-KY) & Rep Walters (R-CA) Discuss Speaker Race on CNN

2015-10-09 18:01:41


Rep. Massie Discusses Majority Leader McCarthy's Benghazi Comments with CNN

2015-10-01 20:17:56


Reps. Massie and Pingree Introduce the PRIME Act, Bill to Revive Local Meat Processing

2015-07-23 21:35:42


Rep. Massie: Patents are the Currency of Invention

2015-07-10 17:23:03


Rep. Massie: New Regulations Strike at the Hearth of America

2015-07-08 12:49:03


Massie Further Examines Circumstances Surrounding Lerner’s Hard Drive Failure

2015-06-25 16:54:13


Rep. Massie Talks Commercial Drones and Privacy Rights

2015-06-17 22:30:47


Rep. Massie Debates AUMF, Iraq & Syria Troop Withdrawal on House Floor

2015-06-17 19:32:53


Rep. Massie Speaks on Floor about Trade Promotion Authority

2015-06-12 20:23:11


Reps Massie and Lofgren Speak in Support of Amendment to Restrict "Backdoor" Surveillance

2015-06-11 17:05:36


Rep. Massie: Oppose H.R. 9, the so-called "Innovation Act"

2015-06-10 18:51:58


Rep. Massie: Support Country of Origin Labeling for Food

2015-06-10 15:26:57


Rep Thomas Massie talks Patriot Act on CNN

2015-06-03 20:52:30


Rep. Massie Talks Patriot Act with Trish Regan of Fox Business

2015-06-01 22:41:26


Rep. Massie on expired PATRIOT Act: Civil Liberties Restored

2015-06-01 19:06:41


Rep. Massie Talks to Joe Webb of Local 12 WKRC Cincinnati about the Patriot Act

2015-05-09 17:10:46


Rep Massie Congratulates Highlands High School Students for "We the People" Competition

2015-04-23 14:23:17


Rep. Massie and Glenn Beck Talk Patriot Act Repeal

2015-04-10 20:41:37


Rep Massie Delivers Speech Honoring Owenton Constituents

2015-03-19 13:32:07


Contact Information

1119 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3465
Fax 202-225-0003
massie.house.gov

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.


Serving With

Ed Whitfield

KENTUCKY's 1st DISTRICT

Brett Guthrie

KENTUCKY's 2nd DISTRICT

Hal Rogers

KENTUCKY's 5th DISTRICT

Andy Barr

KENTUCKY's 6th DISTRICT

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