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Former Secretary of State John Kerry blasted GOP Rep. Thomas Massie on Friday in colorful terms over his possible bid to delay a vote on the coronavirus stimulus package, saying he has “tested positive for being an a–hole.”
The House is expected to vote as early as Friday on the more than $2 trillion package, and it is widely expected to pass with bipartisan support despite Massie’s objections.
“Breaking news: Congressman Massie has tested positive for being an a–hole. He must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity,” Kerry tweeted. “He’s given new meaning to the term #M-sshole.”
Kerry added: “Finally, something the president and I can agree on!”
Kerry’s tweet came in response to President Trump likewise slamming Massie, R-Ky., saying he should be thrown out of the GOP.
“Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
The House initially planned to pass the coronavirus stimulus package by unanimous consent or voice vote with a skeleton crew of legislators present in order to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus among its members. The body, under its rules, can pass legislation by unanimous consent – with no representative in the chamber objecting – or a voice vote — an exercise in which those for and against a bill yell yea or nay, and the loudest side wins.
But either method can be shut down by a “point of order” from a member who could argue a lack of quorum, meaning less than half of the House’s total members are present in the chamber. At that point, it would need at least 216 total members present to hold a recorded vote.
Massie has indicated to House leaders, despite significant efforts from Republican leadership, that he may force a recorded vote by suggesting the lack of quorum. House leadership is also concerned a handful of other members –Republicans and Democrats – might be considering taking the same action.
Massie on Thursday night noted that the coronavirus bill, with about $2 trillion of new spending and $4 trillion of stimulus via monetary policy from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve, equated to “$60,000 per family of new national debt and dollar devaluation in this stimulus.”
He also said in an interview with 55 KRC radio Thursday morning that he was interested in following the letter of the Constitution rather than a workaround in the House’s rules.
“I’m having a really hard time with this. Because they’re saying, well it’s hard to travel, yadda yadda yadda,” Massie said. “Well, last night, 96 out of 100 Senators voted. All we would need is 218 out of 435 to vote,” he added, pointing to a section of Article I in the U.S. Constitution that states “a majority of each [body of the legislature] shall constitute a quorum to do business.”
Massie’s potential move has forced House members to return to D.C. in time for a Friday vote. The recorded vote may be put off until Saturday, though, if the House cannot reach a quorum and one is demanded.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Chad Pergram, Marisa Schultz and Gregg Re contributed to this report.