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FRANKFORT, Ky. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Kentucky congressman is fighting for Americans' right to travel despite a bump in the road.
An amendment authored by Rep. Thomas Massie designed to protect U.S. drivers from government overreach failed to pass the House on Tuesday. Two hundred twenty-nine of Massie's fellow congressmen voted against Amendment No. 60, and 201 voted for it.
Massie's amendment proposed nixing a government mandate to install a disabling device in all vehicles sold after 2026. The so-called kill switch will monitor driver performance and will be able to deactivate cars based on the information gathered. The mandate is embedded in section 24220 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021.
In his floor speech, the Kentuckian representative said:
It's so incredible that I have to offer this amendment. It almost sounds like the domain of science fiction, dystopian science fiction that the federal government would put a kill switch in a vehicle that would be the judge, the jury, and the executioner on such a fundamental right as the right to travel freely.
"It is federal law that this [kill switch] is mandated," he said, "and so I am offering this amendment."
The right to travel is fundamental, but the government has mandated a kill-switch in new vehicles sold after 2026. The kill-switch will monitor driver performance and disable cars based on the information gathered. We will vote on my amendment to defund this mandate tonight. pic.twitter.com/Uf0Z2yVNP1— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) November 8, 2023
Social media users agreed. One posted, "I believe that this goes against the 4th Amendment- American's freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. This needs to be addressed immediately. I refuse to have my biometrics given to the government so that they can let me know if I can drive my car or not."
Another sarcastically posited, "It's actually called the 'peasants won't drive beyond the predetermined limits of their 15-minute city' mandate."
The slippery slope the mandate can easily slide down was not lost on social media users either, with one posting, "Imagine when they expand the definition of impairment to include ideological impairment."
Massie revealed on X that prior to the vote, he regretted having to educate certain Democrats about the contents of the mandate: "During debate last night on my amendment to defund the 2026 kill-switch mandate for cars, some Democrats claimed the technology wouldn't monitor or disable cars. ... I had to read to them."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, spoke out against the amendment and framed the mandate as useful technology that would free up police for other matters. She categorized the kill switch as "passive drunk driving technology that would save our loved ones and other innocent people on the roads."
I believe that this goes against the 4th Amendment- American's freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. This needs to be addressed immediately. I refuse to have my biometrics given to the government so that they can let me know if I can drive my car or not.— Hippie4America (@breauxbot) November 8, 2023
Voting broke down according to party lines. One hundred ninety-nine Republicans voted for the amendment and 19 opposed it. The 19 GOP representatives opposing Massie's amendment include:
All Democrats voted against Massie's amendment, except Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington.
Massie's Washington communication office said the representative has not given up. It told Church Militant he would reintroduce the amendment on appropriate legislation before the mandate takes effect.