Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dick Day for Congress Campaign theme :
“Smile and Wave While We Ignore the Real Problems”

Dick Day has penned an interesting commentary in the Mankato Free Press : “I’d like nothing better than for voters to speak up, to voice their toughest criticisms and their most honest frustrations without fear that they’ll be judged, silenced or ignored.

Great … here’s my criticism … you are hiding from the REAL ISSUES by focusing on illegal immigration.

I thought you knew what the REAL ISSUES are based on the Day’s campaign website , “I want to hear what you really think about the war in Iraq and the troop surge. I want to know if you support traditional Social Security or are intrigued by new options. Where should our tax dollars be targeted? How are health care plans and school systems meeting your needs?

Please explain why you focus on illegal immigration when the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll (released the same day your commentary was published) stated that the top priorities that Congress needs to address are :
#1, The war in Iraq;
#2, Health care; and
#3. Job creation and economic growth.

Your assertion that "I understand why Congress is nervous about the illegal immigration debate — they’ve chosen not to address the problem" … is not completely factual.
It has been addressed --but not resolved -- due to the obstructionist control provided by the Senate’s filibuster procedure.
Comprehensive immigration reform was debated as part of S 1639 but when a number of Senators including Minnesota’s Norm Coleman voted NOT to allow the bill to go forward, it stopped. So blaming “Congress” is too broad of a statement … blame the Senate … and if you feel so strongly, then as I outlined previously, run for the US Senate. Further, the border fence is being built and additional border patrol agents are being hired. (Read about it here.) Lastly, President Bush has spoken passionately about this issue and made it a top priority link . Bush has promoted this issue throughout his presidency, and while the Democrats are currently being blamed, the fault lies with the obstructionists.

Your obsession with the immigration issue has successfully produced campaign publicity, however, it has more importantly been a diversion for you not to discuss the REAL ISSUES.

Voters know how current First District Congressman Tim Walz voted on every roll call vote taken, but can you tell the voters how you would have voted ?

Let’s just look at some of the BIG ISSUES.

HR 6 - Energy Independence and Security Act was signed by the President with Congressman Walz affirmative votes. Do you side with Republicans Bachmann and Kline who voted against the bill (in preliminary form Roll Call 40 and in final form Roll Call 1177 ?)

HR 2419 - Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 (aka Farm Bill) which has been passed by the Senate and the House. 35 Republican Senators (including Coleman) voted in favor of this legislation. Does this legislation coincide with your question of "subsidies for millionaire corporate farmers".

HR 3963 - Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (aka SCHIP) 12 Republican Senators (including Coleman) voted in favor of this legislation while House members Bachmann and Kline voted against the bill. Bush vetoed the legislation. The underlying question is at what level of poverty should this program be capped? Bush limits it to 200 % above the poverty line, but some states – which may have more poverty than the national average – want it higher. For example, the Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio approved legislation for a 300% cap.
It is important for voters to know your opinion and not just assume that you would be against this based on your vote in the Minnesota legislature this past session [SF2171] and against expansion of Minnesota Care in 2005 [SF2278].

HR 3648 - Mortgage Debt Relief Forgiveness Act of 2007 was signed by the President. Do you side with Republican Bachmann who voted against the legislation or the 165 other Republicans who supported this bill ?
In some ways, this legislation is a death knell for the FAIR Tax (or FLAT Tax) agenda as it raises the value of the home mortgage deduction thus eliminating any chance of Income Tax Reform.

HR 3996 - Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2007 (known largely for side-stepping the Alternative Minimum Tax [ATM] question). Initially, the legislation provided for fair tax assessment for Hedge Fund Managers and Corporate Executive Deferred Compensation which was opposed by the Republicans (Bachmann, Kline, Ramstad, and Coleman) but once that provision was withdrawn it was approved over the exception of Democrats McCollum, Peterson and Walz.
If you are concerned about Social Security funding implications, the ATM question is more pressing as the Republicans in Congress for the past six years have extend the problem out one year at a time without addressing the long term impacts. And it will have to be addressed again as the president's five-year budget plan would permit the number of AMT taxpayers to explode again in 2008. This problem is a true example of your comment - “We deserve better than status quo politics — today’s “Smile and Wave While We Ignore the Real Problems” brand of government that ignores any issue that can’t be solved in a sound bite.” Since McCollum, Peterson and Walz wanted to balance the ATM tax cuts with equitable tax revenue generation, I would state that they are not ignoring the problem.

HR 3074 - Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations for FY 2008 which Coleman and Ramstad approved but Bachmann and Kline voted against . This bill will approve projects that directly impact the First District (which may meet your question of pork barrel projects), but also prohibits the use of federal funds to implement the Administration's cross-border pilot program to allow Mexican-domiciled trucks into the U.S.

Obviously, the first session of the 110th Congress addressed many other issues, but these are just some of the key issues that relate to the questions that your website implied that you wanted to discuss - how tax dollars should be spent.

The voters in the First District need to know if Dick Day is a Michelle Bachmann, Norm Coleman, John Kline or Jim Ramstad –type Republican. Since you are concerned about “massive social service programs, subsidies for millionaire corporate farmers, pork barrel projects, and schooling, health care”, these pieces of legislation should tell us how you really feel.

From these issues, voters can decide … Will Dick Day be part of the Solution or part of the Obstruction ?

After all, we certainly don’t want a “Smile and Wave While We Ignore the Real Problems” Congressman.

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