To the Editor:
I noticed that Joyce Bant has “peppered” various newspapers throughout the Northwoods with a letter to the editor defending Rep. Sean Duffy’s voting record, specifically as to supporting our troops.
In the letter, “Duffy supports our troops,” Ms. Bant challenges the TV ad stating Duffy voted against two “troop” bills and does not support our troops. But, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Politifact of Sept. 16 explains, “Duffy was for troop pay at the same time he was against it.”
While in the end Duffy did vote “aye,” he and his GOP house colleagues essentially played fiscal brinkmanship holding defense funding hostage and threatening to let the U.S. default on its obligations.
First of all, H.R. 1363 was not just a military funding bill, but an appropriations bill submitted to prevent a government shutdown. Structurally, this bill would have funded the Department of Defense for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, but would leave all other government agencies and programs enough funding for only one more week. Furthermore, this legislation would have cut all non-security discretionary spending by approximately $13 billion. It did pass the House and went to the Senate, but the Senate was compelled to append a number of key amendments to ensure fiscal sanity. It then went back to the House where the bluff was called; the bill passed.
Second, H.R. 1540 did increase pay for all members of the armed services by 1.6 percent. However, the Democrats asked for a motion to recommit that would have increased combat pay for soldiers by $100 per month. The Republican House rejected this motion because there were no off-sets. All 184 Democrats present and one Republican voted “yea,” 233 Republicans voted “nay.”
Democrats support our troops, Republicans use them (http://media.iava.org/iava_action/IAVA_Action_2010_Congressional_Report_Card.pdf).
Third, H.R. 3835, Duffy’s “aye” vote allows him to look good by freezing his $174,000 pay, but this bill was just a political ploy setting up a Hobson’s choice that required congressmen to vote against extending the freeze for themselves in order to lift the freeze on federal employees. But, then again, congressmen don’t worry because they have other funding sources, such as staff funding. Duffy paid his staff a total of $780,342 in 2011. I’m not saying, but I’d be willing to bet, that someway within that budget he will manage to make up his shortfall.
As for H.R. 1012, the 10 percent paycut for Congress. Get real. This was just a GOP public relations gimmick. This bill went back to committee for consideration where it’s destined to die a slow death.
According to OpenCongress, Duffy has voted with his party 93 percent of the time and has the lowest effectiveness ranking of “440” for his five sponsored bills (zero made into law) and his 126 co-sponsored bills (six made into law). In fact, Duffy’s on pace with Paul Ryan, who after 13 years in Congress has seen only two of his bills pass into law (renaming a post office and modifying an arrow excise tax).
In fact, this Republican Congress has sent only 54 bills to the president for signing so far this year, 14 to rename post offices, 9 to approve real estate transactions and six to renew existing laws.
That record puts this obstructionist Congress on track to be one of the least productive in recent history.
Yet, people vote for them. Remember Duffy’s promise for holding town hall meetings in every district so he can meet with his constituents? Does it count, if you give routine short notice of these public meetings, hold them during the day when people have to work, limit the meetings to as little as an hour and then send out preferential invitations so those invited can come and agree with you.
As constituents we are being short-changed.