Rep. Thomas Massie doesn’t think Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, deserves a government paycheck.
Massie, a Republican from Garrison who represents Northern Kentucky, has co-sponsored the “Fire Fauci Act” introduced by Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene, a Georgian elected in November, has attracted controversy for past inflammatory remarks posted on social media that led to the Democratic-controlled House stripping her of all her committee assignments.
Massie has been a vocal critic of Fauci and, as of Tuesday, is the lone co-sponsor to the bill, which stands little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled House.
“The fact that Fauci was ever paid with tax-payer money is an embarrassment to the United States of America,” Massie wrote in a Facebook post April 2. “We should #FireFauci.”
The act would reduce the salary of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to $0 until Fauci resigns from the position and a new administrator is appointed.
Fauci has led the institute and the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, earning the ire of conservative politicians, many of whom opposed mask mandates and other measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
Fauci made $417,000 in 2019, the highest salary in the federal government, according to a report from OpenTheBooks.com, which describes itself as a nonprofit dedicated to monitoring government spending.
“Trump should have fired Dr. Fauci when Trump had the chance,” Massie said in an interview with The Enquirer on Tuesday. “I believe that Trump did a lot of great things for the country, but this is one of his mistakes, letting Dr. Fauci provide the imprimatur of science to all of the governors and encouraging all of them to kill our economy.”
Massie accused Fauci of ignoring other health issues, such as poverty, to focus solely on the virus and not giving a clear answer on the path for the federal government to fully re-open once herd immunity is reached. Fauci ran afoul of Massie a year ago during a conference call when Fauci couldn’t answer the criteria for removing the lockdown.
“I think that’s troubling and I decided at that point that the guy is in over his head and shouldn’t have the job,” Massie said. “And so when Marjorie Taylor Greene told me that she was going to introduce the Fire Fauci Act, I told her I wanted to be an original co-sponsor.”
Massie also slammed Fauci for changing his stance on mask-wearing and herd immunity. In Feb. 2020, prior to lockdowns and before experts knew how COVID-19 was transmitted, Fauci advised skipping masks unless you were contagious. By April, health authorities changed their guidance after studies showed mask-wearing reduced the spread.
It’s not clear whether such legislation targeting one person is allowed under the Constitution, Forbes reported.
Massie said he hopes the bill applies some public pressure.
“Anytime Congress gets to direct money, they can direct it,” Massie said. “People can argue against it if they want.”
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