With waterways bill, Massie makes his counterargument to 'anarchist' label

10/24/2013 12:59 AM

WASHINGTON — Usually when Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie of Lewis County is quoted about government spending bill it’s about his opposition to it. Not on Wednesday.

Massie was in an admittedly rare position of helping Republican U.S. House leaders to whip up votes for a waterways bill that includes funding for locks and dams and river dredging, including in Massie’s 4th Congressional District in Northern Kentucky. It worked. The bill passed 417-3 vote Wednesday.

“I think this is a good counterargument to the people who might say I’m an anarchist. I believe in legitimate roles of government. One of them is national defense another is transportation infrastructure,” Massie said (4:30). “There are three locks and dams in Kentucky’s 4th District and there’s 276 miles of the Ohio River that needs to be maintained and dredged and cleaned for snags, but it really is about inter-state commerce.”

Massie and three dozen other conservatives were labeled that by some, like Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who blamed them for the unsuccessful push to link defunding the Affordable Care Act to funding other parts of government.

“I don’t think it was a mistake to stand on principle. Let me tell you what the result has been — it brought into sharp focus that this health care law is not ready. The website is not ready,” Massie said (9:30)

Massie said he didn’t think the shutdown overshadowed those problems, as some pundits have said. Instead, he said the issues with the federal government’s health exchange website would have been “buried on page B-7.”

Massie was among the 144 Republicans who voted against the deal last week — brokered in part by Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell — to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. Massie said he couldn’t support a “deal” that didn’t include spending cuts now and long-term debt relief.

“Our leadership seemed to capitulate on both issues,” Massie said. “The American people want a solution and all Congress seems to come up with are these deals.” (6:30)

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