WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) will offer bipartisan legislation on the floor of the House today to expand and improve consumer food choices and to protect local farmers from federal interference. Their amendment to the Farm Bill is expected to receive a vote in the next 24 hours and would remove the FDA prohibition on interstate transportation of raw milk while still respecting state laws regarding raw milk.
“As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with some of the difficulties small farmers face when marketing fresh food directly to consumers. My amendment 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.”
Numerous citizens-including many peaceful Amish and Mennonite farmers—have been shut down by the Feds for selling unpasteurized milk to willing consumers (see, for example: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/13/feds-shut-down-amish-farm-selling-fresh-milk/ )
Congress has never passed a ban on raw milk. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did so in capitulation to a lawsuit:https://www.nytimes.com/1984/04/11/garden/ban-asked-on-the-sale-of-raw-milk.html
The FDA should not have the power to shut down peaceful farmers selling milk to willing consumers. It is Congress’s job to legislate. Federal agencies that are part of the executive branch (such as the FDA) do not and should not have this power.
This amendment simply says that if two States have legalized the sale of unpasteurized milk, then no federal department, agency, or court may take any action to prohibit or restrict the interstate traffic of milk between those two States. This amendment would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.
With a debt of over $21 trillion, the federal government also does not have the time, money, or resources to chase down and prosecute peaceful farmers. This is an issue of both personal freedom and smart government.
“It’s legal to drink raw milk in 50 states. It is legal to sell raw milk in 28 states. The Feds need to quit arresting farmers for taking raw milk from one raw milk state to another raw milk state,” said Rep. Massie.
Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) never intended to run for office or become a politician when he was majoring in electrical and mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “I look forward to returning to my prior life of inventing and working on my farm,” Massie told me via telephone in an extended interview that took place on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. “I look at this as my service.”
Inventors and others who believe in the importance of patents to the U.S. economy no doubt hope that Congressman Massie, himself an inventor with two dozen U.S. patents to his credit, is in no great rush to return to his entrepreneurial life – running his own company built on the inventions he made. There is no doubt that Congressman Massie is a steadfast ally in the never-ending battle over the future of the U.S. patent system. And make no mistake – it is a never-ending battle.
“I can tell you, every day Congress is in session there are lobbyists here trying to weaken the patent system,” Massie explained.
In Massie’s words, those companies that come to Capitol Hill and lobby to weaken the patent system want to get into new fields, but the problem is they didn’t invent in those fields, so they face problems. Patent problems. A lot of those companies want to become automobile manufacturers, or cell phone manufacturers, or they want to write software for operating systems, but they didn’t invent in those areas and they don’t own the patents that have historically been the touchstone of innovation ownership. “They’d love to just come in and start playing in those fields and start using their size and scale as an advantage, and to them, patents look like a hindrance,” Massie explained. “They are here in Congress looking to weaken patents and they are not just interested in weakening patents issued in the future, they are looking to weaken all patents.”
The distinction Massie draws about the interest in weakening all patents is an important one. So frequently those that lobby for rules and laws that weaken patents claim to be doing so simply as part of an effort to ensure greater quality. Massie sees reform efforts differently though.
“Reform is not about strengthening the patent granting system, but about making it harder for patent owners to assert patents to protect their rights,” Massie said emphatically. “They didn’t read the Constitution and come to say they have a better way more in line with what the Founding Fathers had in mind. They just want all the patents to be public domain today. It is very short sighted to attack the patent system in this way.”
Unfortunately, it is easy to understand, at least from a mechanical/process perspective, how it is that those companies who would prefer the demise of the patent system seem to continually get their way on Capitol Hill. “There is a certain critical size companies reach before they hire lobbyists, which means only the big companies are represented on Capitol Hill,” Massie said. “Patents help the little guy, whether you are a one person company or a company with 10,000 employees, you have the same rights. That is repulsive to the company with 10,000 employees.”
Inventors will Invent
One of the well-worn talking points used by those lobbying against a strong patent system relates in one way or another to be the belief that inventors will invent regardless of whether they can obtain a patent because that is what inventors do. Massie disagrees.
“I’m often amused at some of the academics that talk about intellectual property,” Massie said. “They talk about inventions happening in the same vigor even if inventors are not compensated with a patent, and that notion is ridiculous. You have to make a living somehow. People will go into the field of invention if it is a lucrative field and they won’t if it isn’t.”
Massie is, of course, correct. At some point in time people need to feed their families, put a roof over their head and pay bills in the real world. If inventing cannot be a means to that end it will never be anything more than a hobby.
“Don’t be surprised if people don’t want to go into [inventing] if the reward system or compensation mechanism are taken away,” Massie said emphatically.
Congressman Massie didn’t stop; he was on a roll. “We wring our hands at the notion we are falling behind in science, engineering, technology and math compared to other countries,” Massie said.” The answer is simple: make inventing a lucrative field of endeavor for children to aspire to be a part of the industry. More importantly, children need role models. “If you take away the compensation for their heroes – their role models – if you impoverish their role models, how are they role models any more?”
Of course, even if inventors would work for free, “who would invest in the idea,” Massie asked. “Ideas are expensive to reduce to practice. There are otherwise great ideas that will never be reduced to practice if the investors who might invest can’t see a way to recoup their investment.” Eventually people will lose the interest in creating anything new.
Next Generation Better Off?
Massie would tell me that America was founded on rugged individualism, where you own the fruits of your labor. “Some people believe you didn’t build that and your idea doesn’t belong to you, but that notion is contradicted by the Constitution, Massie explained. “The Constitution says ‘exclusive right’ which means that idea belongs to you, not to the community… Private ownership is what sets us apart from countries that have come before us. That whole system set up by our Founding Fathers a couple hundred years ago has served us well and is still not replicated over seas. So as long as we don’t screw it up I think we are going to be competitive overseas.”
But will the next generation be better off than the last generation? Will we see our children have reduced economic opportunity? Those are questions that Massie says he hears frequently when he speaks with concerned Americans.
“When I get that question I think it is ridiculous,” Massie explained. “Of course the next generation will be better off, but it won’t be because of Washington, DC, it will be because of the inventors who come up with life saving devices, labor saving devices, and we won’t forget those that were made 5 years ago, 10 years ago, we will build on those. So the next generation will be better off because of inventors as long as politicians don’t screw it up.”
Inventors are Not Trolls
“Something that I find really offensive is this notion that inventors who don’t manufacture their own inventions are trolls,” Massie told me.
It was at this point of our conversation that Congressman Massie really heated up and became exponentially more passionate (if that is possible for someone who is already thoroughly engaged in these issues). Massie explained:
Somehow inventors who don’t manufacture are on a lower moral footing than other careers. Inventors and engineers are just out to extract rent from other people if they don’t manufacture their ideas. That is ludicrous on several levels. Does an author have to have a printing press and a bookstore to have a legitimate career? No, that is ludicrous, but somehow lobbyists have been able to sell this idea that if you are an inventor and you don’t subsequently try and build a factory and distribution center to get your invention out there you are somehow not a legitimate member of society. That I find very offensive, and dangerous too, if our society is going to be an information society.
If we are creating this notion that ideas in and of themselves do not have value we are in trouble because our country has already decided to move from a manufacturing economy to an information society. Those two things are incongruous and are setting us up for failure.
Massie couldn’t be more correct. 70% of early U.S. inventors did not even graduate high school. Indeed, the founding fathers purposefully set up a system that had one particularly unique attribute: Unlike the British Patent System, the U.S. patent system was set up to be cheap enough for everyone to afford the fees, which meant that anyone could be an inventor. Clearly, the founding fathers knew that the patent system they were purposefully creating to be affordable enough to be used by average citizens would lead to individuals obtaining patents on their inventions. The Founding Fathers also would have known that those average citizen inventors would not have the means to be able to manufacture, but would instead license those patent rights to others. Therefore, the U.S. patent system was initially set up to purposefully create a licensing regime whereby inventors would invent and companies that manufacture and distribute would focus on what they did best. Fast-forward to today and suddenly patents are only pro-competitive if you are manufacturer. Massie is absolutely right to notice and call-out the incongruity.
What can inventors and supporters of the patent system do?
According to Congressman Massie, the best (and cheapest) way to communicate with your Member of Congress is to actually pick up a phone and call. “I would not write a letter and I would not send an e-mail,” Massie told me. “Fewer and fewer people think to pick up the phone and make a phone call, so it is a channel where there is not a lot of communication.”
Massie pointed out that bots can send thousands of e-mails with similar scripts, and letters are frequently nothing more than a form letter that gets printed and sent by hundreds or thousands of people to hundreds of Members Offices. “My Congressional Office receives ten phone calls a day,” Massie said. “A human has to respond when someone calls, so that makes it an excellent medium for contacting your Member of Congress.”
Increasingly, inventors and average citizens are taking time to get more involved and making the trek to Washington, DC. This, however, is not without substantial cost, and according to Congressman Massie is probably not the best return on your investment.
“If you really want to get the attention of the Congressman go to one of their fundraisers,” Massie said. “I don’t care whether you are ideologically aligned on social or fiscal issues, but if patents really matter to you do what high dollar lobbyists do, which is to go to one of their fundraisers. I watch people spend $5,000 to go on a trip to DC to meet with someone on the staff when they could have meet with the Congressman themselves back in the district for much less and received a much larger portion of their attention.”
Massie went on to explain that during the 113th Congress the Innovation Act passed in the House, which would have been a disaster. It was defeated in the Senate, but came back in the House during the 114th Congress, but this time it was defeated in the House. “They didn’t have the element of surprise in the last Congress, and we were able to enlist universities and VCs. They were able to mobilize and stop the weakening of our patent system,” Massie explained. “ I talked until I was blue in my face to my colleagues, but it was because I talked with people on the outside and they were able to talk to their Congressman. That is how these battles are won.”
So the fight is never over, but inventors and other supporters of a vibrant patent system have a strong and steadfast ally in Congressman Thomas Massie.
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
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.
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