Up close with Ky. 4th District Congressman Thomas Massie, 'Mister No'


by Joe Arnold


Posted on February 4, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 12:43 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- "Dr. No" was a James Bond villain armed with a radio beam.  "Mr. No" is a Kentucky Congressman with a laser beam focus on consistent conservatism.

"I voted against the fiscal cliff deal.  I voted against raising the debt ceiling and I did vote against the current leadership," said U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) 4th Congressional District.

Since taking office three months ago, the former Lewis County Judge Executive and tea party favorite has already earned the "Mr. No" nickname on Capitol Hill from the website, Politico.

"I wouldn't say I'm 'Mr. No,'" Massie told WHAS11.  "I always try to get to 'yes.'  But it's hard to get to yes.  Congress has a nine percent approval rating and that's for the times they've said yes."

Explaining his vote against fellow Republican John Boehner's reelection as Speaker of the House, Massie said he questions whether real change can happen with the same people in charge.

"It's the worst run organization I've been a part of in my life," Massie said.  "Everything is disorganized.  Everything's at the last minute and very little is planned."

In January, Massie voted against a $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

"There was some pork in there.  There was some bailout for some government programs that don't work," Massie said.  "There were a lot of reasons not to vote for it, but the biggest reason not to vote for it was an additional $60 billion.  We don't have a budget right now."  

"That's what we wanted as conservatives were offsets to that," Massie continued.  "but since I've been in Congress, we've spent another $60 billion on that Sandy aid that wasn't even in the budget.  Congress won't act until they're forced to act.  And this was one of those opportunities with the debt limit."

Massie wants Republicans to demand the original debt ceiling deal with the White House which includes the offsets.  Yet House Republicans didn't demand spending cuts when they agreed to suspend the debt ceiling until March.

"I feel like we punted on the first down to gain field position," Massie said.  "This was the first play of the game. We had the ball, the Republicans in Congress, and we took it and we punted."

"I thought that we should have held our ground," Massie continued.  "We should have really stuck to our principles.  We should have insisted on some kind of spending cuts.  We didn't get one penny of spending cuts in exchange for suspending the debt limit."

Massie suggested that Republicans may find it difficult to stand on principle in the next debt ceiling negotiations after suspending the debt limit without "any implications or obligations for three months."

"That can that got kicked down the road to March 1, leadership has promised us, the conservative Republicans in Congress, that they're going to hold the line on March 1," Massie said.

Yet after he was disappointed by the last negotiations, Massie said he is "taking a wait and see attitude."

"Paul Ryan stood up in front of our conference and said, 'I will introduce a ten year balanced budget plan.'" Massie said.  "That's a pretty big step for our leadership.  I think we are already succeeding in moving the leadership back to the fiscal conservative right."

Another Massie "no" vote was against a resolution that called for a comprehensive strategy with U.S. allies regarding the "hostile threat" presented by Iran.

"I think we should think long and hard before we get involved in anything in the middle east," Massie said.

The MIT graduate said fellow members of Congress approached him on the House floor after they learned he would vote against the National Defense Authorization Act.

"And, I'm like, 'Yeah,'" Massie recalled.  "I've read it. Have you read it?  'No, but you need to vote for this.'"

"The no votes that I've made have been for my constituents in Kentucky and on principle.  Politics don't play into it," Massie said.