Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tom Rooney-- The Worst Member Of Florida's Congressional Delegation


Rooney is well to the right of Czar Nicholas II

After Tim Mahoney, the corrupt Republican turned-quasi-Democrat who Rahm Emanuel had recruited 2 years earlier for Mark Foley's congressional seat was exposed as another sexual predator, reactionary Republican Tom Rooney took the seat (in 2008, an otherwise stellar year for Democrats). Since then Rooney has distinguished himself as the most extreme right-wing congressman in the state of Florida. His ProgressivePunch rating is a perfect zero-- more extremist than Adam "Howdy Doody" Putnam (0.81), Ander Crenshaw (0.97), John Mica (1.80), Jeff Miller (1.84) or crazy birther Bill Posey (2.38), Florida's 5 radical right fringe members.

Rooney beat Mahoney 60-40, but only because Mahoney got caught in flagrante delicto, politically speaking. McCain only managed 52% in the district (which has a PVI of R+4.56). One of Florida's poorer districts, with a median income of just $39,408 and over 85,000 home foreclosures projected over the next four years, the unemployment and health care situations are both abysmal. There are 172,000 uninsured people in Rooney's district. So is Rooney working his butt off to enable reform legislation? Are you joking? He's one of the worst obstructionists in the House.

This week, instead of working on his constituents' dire needs he was busy sending ridiculous mail to his constituents inspired by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, a piece Rooney called "How Many Czars Are Enough?" He questions the constitutionality of President Obama's appointments, in lockstep with the anti-America crowd around the Hate Talk Radio hosts who determine his every move.
Since taking office in January President Obama has appointed at least 32 czars to help implement his agenda and to oversee various government entities. The President has appointed czars ranging from a Tourism Czar to a Guantanamo Bay Closure Czar. What is troubling to me is these czars are not confirmed by the Senate nor does Congress have any oversight over them unlike traditional Cabinet members.

The President's czars have a salary of up to $172,000 and that doesn’t include staff members or office and travel budgets. We don’t know what the total cost of all of the czars will be, but it’s become clear that the growing number of czars is a waste of taxpayer dollars. How many additional czars will the President appoint to circumvent the Senate confirmation process? Recent town hall meetings across the nation have demonstrated how the federal government is accountable to the people.

I oppose adding new layers of government intervention to an already bloated federal bureaucracy, and this issue is certainly no exception. The President’s Constitutional authority to appoint these individuals is dubious, their presence diminishes the role of the traditional Cabinet, and their immunity from Congressional oversight defies our longstanding system of checks and balances. The interests of democracy are best served in a climate of greater accountability and more transparent decision-making.

I am a cosponsor of a bill, H.R. 3226, which would withhold funding to any czar not confirmed by the Senate. The President claimed he would run the most transparent administration in recent history, if this is true he needs to have these czars appear before the Senate and go through the proper vetting of a Senate confirmation.

Past administrations have had czars but the Obama administration has taken it to a whole new level. Reagan and George H.W. Bush each had one czar, Clinton had three, and George W. Bush had four. In less than a year this new administration already has 32. It is difficult to understand how the President can continue to appoint czars when he has yet to fill all of the key Senate -confirmed positions in his administration.

None of that is true. It's all Republican Party talking points meant to discredit President Obama and anger people at the government. This video didn't make it into Rooney's silly talking points:

Rooney is on the team of loony House Republicans-- Paul Broun (R-GA), John Shadegg (allegedly once caught by a fellow congressional wingnut in bed with the man's wife), Mike Pence, Jack Kingston, Darrell Issa, and li'l Patrick McHenry who, unlike the other nuts who worry that the "czars" are taking over the country, claims that they are "simply figureheads, at which point they're collecting a salary for doing no work for the taxpayers."

Now if Rooney and his wingnut cronies weren't out making up lies about "czars" maybe he would have some time and energy to work on the problems facing his constituents in the 16th district. If the health care reform bill he is fighting so hard to kill, HR 3200, were enacted here's how it would impact his own district:
• Help for small businesses. Under the legislation, small businesses with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $40,000 qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance. There are up to 18,500 small businesses in the district that could qualify for these credits.

• Help for seniors with drug costs in the Part D donut hole. Each year, 16,600 seniors in the district hit the donut hole and are forced to pay their full drug costs, despite having Part D drug coverage. The legislation would provide them with immediate relief, cutting brand name drug costs in the donut hole by 50%, and ultimately eliminate the donut hole.

• Health care and financial security. There were 1,100 health care-related bankruptcies in the district in 2008, caused primarily by the health care costs not covered by insurance. The bill provides health insurance for almost every American and caps annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, ensuring that no citizen will have to face financial ruin because of high health care costs.

• Relieving the burden of uncompensated care for hospitals and health care providers. In 2008, health care providers in the district provided $74 million worth of uncompensated care, care that was provided to individuals who lacked insurance coverage and were unable to pay their bills. Under the legislation, these costs of uncompensated care would be virtually eliminated.

• Coverage of the uninsured. There are 172,000 uninsured individuals in the district, 22% of the district. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationwide, 97% of all Americans will have insurance coverage when the bill takes effect. If this benchmark is reached in the district, 149,000 people who currently do not have health insurance will receive coverage.

• No deficit spending. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for: half through making the Medicare and Medicaid program more efficient and half through a surtax on the income of the wealthiest individuals. This surtax would affect only 5,750 households in the district. The surtax would not affect 98.3% of taxpayers in the district.

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At 3:22 PM, Anonymous me said...

allegedly once caught by a fellow congressional wingnut in bed with the man's wife

Where are the photos? I want photos!


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