As the Denver Post’s Sam Tabachnik reports, it’s ugly deja vu all over again:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck said the massive federal coronavirus relief package that he voted against early Saturday morning is “a 110-page, multi-billion dollar boondoggle.”
He was Colorado’s only House member — and one of only 40 in the chamber — to vote against the measure, which would deliver $50 billion toward paid sick leave, free virus testing and enhanced unemployment benefits…
Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, called the relief measure “imperfect” but said in a statement that he voted in favor because there would be “much more severe consequences should Congress have failed to unite and act with great urgency tonight.”
The Colorado Independent:
[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi was engaged in intense negotiations over the bill with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and congressional Republicans ahead of the vote. Trump tweeted his support for the measure ahead of its passage.
“I fully support H.R. 6201: Families First CoronaVirus Response Act,” he wrote. “I encourage all Republicans and Democrats to come together and VOTE YES! … Look forward to signing the final Bill, ASAP!”
The president’s endorsement was not enough to sway Buck, who took to Twitter to call the package “a 110-page, multi-billion dollar boondoggle shoved on us at the stroke of midnight.”
A little less than two weeks ago, as readers know, Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley was one of only two votes against an initial coronavirus relief bill backed by President Donald Trump. This time, Buck was part of a small (but at least greater than two) faction of hard-right conservatives, for whom showing rock-ribbed “fiscal discipline” as their constituents grapple with a global pandemic is apparently good politics.
Given the relative safety of Buck’s strongly Republican-leaning rural and small-town district, it’s possible that these high-profile contrarian votes against bills addressing headline dominating issues aren’t career-enders for Buck even if they are totally inimical to the best interests of the people Buck represents. That’s the conventional wisdom which has allowed Buck to take progressively more extreme public stands that would seriously threaten politicians in most districts, but we have to wonder if this unprecedented situation could endanger even the most basic political presumptions.
Either way, as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, it’s surprising that Buck really seems to have no idea how these kinds of ideological lightning-rod grandstands affect the entire Republican brand–and can only further imperil fellow Republicans ahead of another very difficult election. If Buck can’t even think past his own antics long enough to consider the damage to the party he leads, he should not have the job.