Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie One of 30 Republicans To Vote Against Bill Providing Compensation for 9/11 Victims

Toby Hazlewood

The bill passed anyway

On September 30, House Representatives voted on a bill - HR 8987 - to provide further financial compensation to the families of 9/11 victims, with the bill being approved by 400 votes in favor, 31 against. Of the votes against, 30 were from Republican representatives including Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The bill provides nearly $3 billion in additional payments to compensate widows and dependent children of 9/11 victims and the money will come from unspent funds from the 2020 COVID-19 relief law.

While the family of victims have received financial help and compensation previously, after the recent passing of the 21-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States it's a reminder that the impacts of the attacks are still being felt by many Americans on a daily basis.

Why did so many vote against it?

The lone Democrat who voted against the bill was Kurt Shrader of Oregon who has lost his seat already. Given that the bill is about helping Americans whose lives were changed permanently by the action of terrorists on that day, 21 years ago, it's hard to fathom why so many Republicans voted against the bill.

Thomas Massie of Kentucky was amongst those 30 Republicans who seem unwilling to help victims' families further, and in a tweet following the vote he explained his reasoning - that he didn't feel it was a worthwhile use of taxpayer dollars and that compensation should instead come from the government of Saudi Arabia for their links to some of the terrorists who carried out the attack.

It seems callous on Massie's part, to say the least, particularly given that the U.S. government have such close links and dependency on Saudi Arabia for oil, particularly at the moment due to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Currently around 8% of the petroleum needs in the U.S. and 9% of crude oil imports are from Persian Gulf countries, with Saudi Arabia being the biggest individual supplier.

Massie appears to have used the 9/11 victims' bill to make a political point, knowing that there is no way the federal government can or will pursue the Saudi government for the money, even if it wanted to.

Perhaps even more callous, was the message shared by Texas Republican Louie Gohmert whose defense for voting 'No' to the bill amounted to the victims' families having had enough help already.

Massie's history of voting against bills

Unfortunately this isn't the first time Massie has voted against bills that would have clearly helped out Americans in genuine need. Last week, he was one of 49 House Republicans including Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia who voted against a bill that was intended to help American Veterans to avoid food insecurity.

Earlier this year, Massie also voted against the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention & Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 which was intended to crack down on people trafficking and to help victims of the crime. Also voting against that bill were Taylor-Greene (again) as well as Florida's Matt Gaetz.

The 'No' vote from Gaetz was also controversial given that he has recently been the subject of a federal investigation for allegedly trafficking a 17-year-old girl across state lines. There is a suggestion that no charges will be filed against Gaetz however.

It's almost as if Massie, Gaetz, Taylor-Greene and others are more interested in voting in a way that gains them publicity, rather than in the genuine interests of the Americans who would be held by the bill.

What do you think of Republicans like Thomas Massie voting against bills that have a clear purpose to help Americans, just to prove a point and gain publicity? Do you think he is acting in citizens' best interests? Let me know our thoughts in the comments section below.

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