Congressman Thomas Massie

Politics
2:30 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie's Hemp Amendment Passes House (and Then the Farm Bill Fails)

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

UPDATE: The House just made Massie's amendment a moot point by rejecting the farm bill in a 234-195 bipartisan vote.

Earlier: Colleges and universities would be allowed to grow hemp for academic research under an amendment to the farm bill approved by a bipartisan vote in the House on Thursday.

The proposal was introduced by Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie along with Democrats Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado, and passed by a 225-to-200 vote. It applies only to states that have authorized the crops cultivation.

A majority of Kentucky’s congressional representatives have been vocal supporters for easing federal restrictions on hemp, which is illegal to grow in the U.S. due to its genetic relation to marijuana. Opponents against the language argued the amendment will hamper law enforcement efforts because the crop is difficult to distinguish between its cannabis cousin.

But Massie says hemp is not marijuana, adding the amendment will help move the research forward to one day allow farmers to grow the crop legally.

"People think it’s about drugs but when they get done laughing about the word hemp and realize industrial hemp is not marijuana they realize it’s a jobs bill and an opportunity for Kentucky farmers," he says. "What this amendment does is it carves out a very small exception for universities to do research without running afoul of the drug laws. And I hope it’s a precursor to allowing all of the farmers in Kentucky to grow industrial hemp."

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Politics
1:01 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie: U.S. Intelligence Agencies Exploiting Patriot Act

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Joining nearly two dozen other members of Congress, Republican Thomas Massie is asking intelligence agencies to clarify their position on the Patriot Act in light of the National Security Agency obtaining millions of U.S. citizen's phone records.

The 2-page letter signed by 22 lawmakers was drafted by fellow GOP Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, and it raises concerns that the NSA is using the law to "sweep up volumes of data about American's every day telephone calls."

It asks the NSA and FBI how long the agencies store the information and how many companies have been subjected to the order, among other questions.

Last week, the Republican lawmaker who authored the Patriot Act said the NSA went too far by collecting phone data on Americans, and has misinterpreted what the law was meant to do.

"I campaigned against the Patriot Act for this precise reason," Massie said in a statement. "It appears that the FBI and the NSA are exploiting the Patriot Act to authorize a dramatic and unconstitutional expansion of domestic surveillance."

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Politics
5:37 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Proposes Bipartisan Bill to Ease Federal Sentencing Laws

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Joining a Democratic colleague, Republican Congressman Thomas Massie Kentucky is introducing a bipartisan bill to give federal judges more flexibility when issuing mandatory minimum sentences.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Co-Sponsors Measure to Protect Conscience Rights

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie has co-sponsored a bill that would allow individuals to ignore portions of the Affordable Care Act that violate their religious beliefs.

The Health Care Conscience Rights Act seeks to protect those who argue expanding coverage for contraceptives and abortion comes into conflict with their faith. For religious and political conservatives, the health care mandate to employers encroaches upon their constitutional rights.

According to Massie's office, the bill also protects health care providers who refuse to perform certain procedures and give refuge to people with religious convictions.

"Obamacare is expensive, unconstitutional, and threatens our First Amendment right of conscience," Massie said in a news release. "This bill protects churches, religious organizations, and business owners from being forced to violate their beliefs."

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Politics
5:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Advises Tea Party Critics to Lay Off Senator Mitch McConnell

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie is advising Tea Party activists to think twice before waging a primary challenge to Senator Mitch McConnell next year.

The freshman lawmaker was heavily backed by the Tea Party in his race for the Fourth Congressional District seat last year. 

Massie is often mentioned as a potential 2014 Senate candidate, and has flexed a level of independence from the GOP establishment. He voted against Speaker John Boehner and recently opposed the Ryan budget plan because it wasn't conservative enough.

But Massie has repeatedly turned down offers to run and told reporters on multiple occasions he isn’t interested.

And in an interview with WFPL, he says Tea Party activists in Kentucky who want to continue to have an impact on national politics should reconsider their opposition to McConnell.

"My advice to people who are frustrated with Washington is that there’s probably a better way to spend your time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears than trying to have Senator McConnell unelected. I think there are a lot better chances and better use of your time in terms of changing Washington, D.C.," he says.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Congressman Thomas Massie Breaks from GOP, Votes Against Ryan Budget Plan

Congressman Thomas Massie
Credit U.S. Congress

Kentucky Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie bucked his Republican Party leaders and voted against the GOP-basked 2014 budget because it isn't conservative enough.

The GOP-controlled House narrowly approved the spending plan authored by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin by a 221-207 vote on Thursday.

Conservative supporters had highlighted the cuts to corporate tax rates and slashing $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade as reasons to support the idea.

However, Ryan's plan still raises federal spending by 3.4 percent annually. GOP leaders had said that would be offset by economic growth.

But for the Tea Party-backed Massie that amount was too much. He told WFPL in a telephone interview he came to Washington reduce spending—not increase it—adding Ryan's proposal is nearly twice the rate of inflation.

"The Democrat plan increases government spending by 5 percent per year, that’s ridiculous. That’s like three times the rate of inflation," he says. "The Ryan budget is better because it only increases government by 3.4 percent per year, but that’s still twice the rate of inflation. And when I campaigned, I campaigned saying that we needed to cut spending in Washington, D.C."

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Politics
9:55 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth: Ryan Budget Plan is the Enemy of Growth

Speaking at the House Budget Committee this week, Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth said government should be a partner with business and the Republican-crafted 2014 budget will hurt economic growth.

Among the highlights GOP lawmakers have touted are $6.4 trillion in deficit cuts and reducing the corporate tax by 10 percent.

But Yarmuth told his congressional colleagues on Wednesday the GOP proposal is an "enemy" to growth, adding cuts to education, infrastructure and child-care programs are not what business leaders in Louisville are asking for.

"They want Washington's help, not its avoidance," he says. "I think the Ryan-Republican budget is a dismal failure. All of the things that are businesses are crying out for the Ryan budget would emphasize or in fact dramatically reduce."

Watch:

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Politics
7:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Congressmen John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie Offer Differing Viewpoints on New Ryan Budget Plan

Congress John Yarmuth, D-Ky., calls the new Ryan budget plan 'cruel.'
Credit U.S. Congress

Led by former Republican vice presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan, the House GOP unveiled its 2014 budget proposal this week

Dubbed 'Path to Prosperity' the spending plan cuts $6.4 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years, slashes corporate taxes by 10 percent and simplifies the tax code by turning seven individual tax brackets into two.

Conservatives also highlight provisions such as authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an overhaul of Medicare for retirees and another attempt to fully repeal President Obama's health care law.

But liberal critics are slamming the budget for various reasons, including the fact that it cuts domestic services but not defense.

From The Washington Post:

He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts, but the military is spared, as is Social Security.

There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

(SNIP)

Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government.

Democratic Congressman Yarmuth is more blunt. He says the proposal is cruel and only plays to extreme elements in the GOP.

"It’s one that was repudiated by Mitt Romney last year during the presidential campaign and is one that’s become a liability for Republicans who embraced it. So I’m really hard pressed to understand why Congressman Ryan would double down on what was obviously something that was rejected decisively during the 2012 election," he says.

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Politics
2:22 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Hemp Bill Sails Through Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee

James Comer
Credit File photo

FRANKFORT — After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky  industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally.

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Politics
4:34 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Massie Having "A Lot of Reservations" With Debt Ceiling Proposal

Wikipedia

Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky says he isn’t sure he can support a plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling until May, even though his party’s leaders are backing the idea.

Massie was among a group of GOP lawmakers who participated in a press conference in Washington today called “Conversations With Conservatives.”

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