U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie Visits Florence Rotary

by Pat Moynahan on October 25, 2016

Congressman Thomas Massie and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore.

Congressman Thomas Massie and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore.

FLORENCE – U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky) believes elimination of omnibus funding bills would help break the frequent budget gridlocks in Congress.

To meet the September 30 deadline for funding the government, lawmakers in recent years have lumped proposed appropriations from 12 subcommittees into a single bill. Congress also has passed continuing resolutions that keep the government financially afloat for an extended period beyond the deadline.

“We need for Congress to do separate appropriations bills,” said, Massie, who represents the Fourth Congressional District, which includes Northern Kentucky. “If we do it in separate bills, we don’t run as much risk of shutting down the government.”

Massie spoke to the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, October 18. He discussed the budget gridlock and a transportation bill he co-sponsored, but declined to comment on the presidential race.

“If you’re waiting for me to talk about the presidential election, you can leave now” he joked.

Massie said omnibus bills are particularly problematic because lawmakers may get no more than three days to consider a 2,000-page document and partisan jockeying over specific appropriations snags the process.

If Congress considered each appropriation bill separately, “by the time we get to September 30, we would have six of 12 or 8 of 12 finished,” Massie said.

Massie sits on three House committees: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; Committee on Science, Space and Technology; and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

He calls the Oversight committee the “theatre committee” because lawmakers tend “to well up in righteous indignation and attack someone they’ve never met before.” He prefers the Transportation committee because of the importance of the issues to Kentuckians and the bipartisanship of committee members, he said.

Massie co-sponsored an airline ticket fee bill (H.R. 5563) earlier this year with two GOP colleagues from Florida, Rep. David Jolly and Rep. Gus Bilirakis. The measure would give more control to local airports in decisions on ticket fees and how to use the moneys raised to make improvements.

The legislation would shift financing of airport facilities away from government subsidies and other regulations that limit the types of improvements airports can make, Massie said. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a non-profit public policy agency that supports the measure, said the bill would promote airline competition and lower airfares.

“Money is a source of control over airports,” Massie said. The bill would reduce a federal ticket tax and let airports decide what to charge ticketholders for enplanement.