Wanna bet that there are some folks living in Minnesota’s Eighth District that this morning said to their kids, “Please turn the furnace off … it’s ran long enough for today …. we can’t afford it” ?
Yep … let’s hearken back to the days of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty State of the State Address of January 15, 2009 : “Imagine a typical Minnesota kitchen table. A mom and dad have just tucked the kids into bed with a kiss and a prayer, and they come back to the table to confront economic reality.
On the table are bills, notices and a notepad with a budget that’s tighter than it’s ever been. Hope and fear are also at the table.
How do we pay these bills? How do we fix the car? How do we pay this mortgage? How are we going to afford college or even retire someday?
The couple at the kitchen table begin by setting priorities.
What’s most important?
What can we afford?
What do we give up?
How can we do things different? ”
Wanna bet a lot of Minnesota taxpayers would say “Our priority is NOT TV Eyes” ?
Well … today is 2009 all over again with House congressional Republicans calling for spending cuts. Yep, some are even echoing Governor Pawlenty’s words from his January 16, 2011 appearance on Fox News when he called on congressional Republicans to block an increase in the limit on federal borrowing.
The reality is that the budget and debt ceiling crisis will be resolved when GOP leadership allows a vote regardless of what the individual Representatives want.
While Members may talk about programs they want to cut, if you really want to know what their priorities are, look at what they spend the congressional office funds on.
Case in point — TV Eyes. TVEyes Media Monitoring Suite is a subscription-based product used by anyone who needs to know what is being broadcast on TV and radio in real-time — no waiting for it to appear on YOU-Tube !
Long time readers of the MN Political Roundtable may remember that Michele Bachmann had TV Eyes … and so did Jason Lewis … and now the latest House Statement of Disbursement report indicates that Pete Stauber has it. For “Representative” Stauber, a $2,400 subscription to TV Eyes is a priority.
Pete Stauber is not the only Member who wants to see himself on television … as there are many other “representatives” who authorized taxpayer monies during the October-December reporting period for this service : Robert Aderhold (AL04), Rick Allen (GA12), Jim Banks (IN03), Randy Feenstra (IA04), Virginia Foxx (NC05), Morgan Griffith (VA09), Bill Huizenga (MI05), Ronny Jackson (TX13), Bob Latta (OH05), Carol Miller (WV01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA01), Ralph Norman (SC05), Steve Scalise (LA01) Mike Turner (OH10), Roger Williams (TX25) and more.
Not only does Pete Stauber must want to see what is being said about him on television, he also wants to know what is being expressed in other media.
Yep, Pete “Our Way of Life” Stauber authorized a $4500 payment for a subscription to Politico … after all, if you want to know about “the issues, ideas and personalities behind politics” ya gotta subscribe to Politico.
Turns out that Politico is also a priority for other Members of Congress as Pete Stauber is not the only Member who wants to read about himself … as there are many other “representatives” who authorized taxpayer monies during the October-December reporting period for this service : Robert Aderhold (AL04), Jim Baird (IN04), Jim Banks (IN03), Andy Barr (KY06), Dan Bishop (NC04), Vern Buchanan (FL16), Larry Bucshon (IN08), Tom Cole (OK04), Jeff Duncan (SC03), Randy Feenstra (IA04), Virginia Foxx (NC05), Glenn Grothman (WI06), David Joyce (OH14), Darren LaHood (IL16), Bob Latta (OH05), Debbie Lesko (AZ08), Frank Lucas (OK03), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO03), Patrick McHenry (NC10), John Moolehaar (MI02), Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (WA05), John Rose (TN06), Chip Roy (TX21), Steve Scalise (LA01), Austin Scott (GA08), Mike Simpson (ID02), Victoria Spartz (IN05), William Timmons (SC04), David Valadao (CA22), Tim Walberg (MI05) — Yep 30 Republicans in just one quarter considered a subscription to Politico to be a priority.
And it isn’t just the members individually … while Pete Stauber may want to promote to his constituents that he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the Natural Resources Committee, he probably doesn’t want to tell them that the Natural Resources Committee also has a subscription to Politico. While Tim Pawlenty may have asked “How can we do things different?“, Pete “Our Way of Life” Stauber would never consider reading the committee’s copy.
Of course, Politico isn’t the only subscription service that Members may consider to be a priority … there is the newbie Punchbowl News which is an online political news daily that debuted January 3, 2021 as “a membership-based news community”. And who are those members ? Well, Minnesota’s Seventh District Congresswoman, Michele Fischbach authorized a $1800 subscription during the last quarter of 2022. And “Representative” Fischbach wasn’t the only Republican who considered that a priority … other subscribers include : Jim Banks (IN03), Dan Bishop (NC04), Dan Crenshaw (TX02), Scott DesJarlais (TN04), Bryon Daniels (FL19), Jake Ellzey (TX06), Ron Estes (KS04), Chuck Fleischmann (TN03), Mike Flood (NE01), Brett Guthrie (KY02), Bill Johnson (OH06), Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large), Darren LaHood (IL16), Patrick McHenry (NC10), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA01), Alexander Mooney (WV02), August Pfluger (TX11), John Rutherford (FL05), Steve Scalise (LA01), David Valadao (CA22), Tim Walberg (MI05) and others.
And just like Stauber’s Natural Resources Committee having a subscription to Politico, Fischbach’s Rules Committee also has a subscription to Punchbowl News.
Now it is understandable if a Congressional Committee may want a subscription … after all they could want to review comments made by witness that will appear before the congressional committee. Heck, I even can accept the Majority Leader having a subscription (NOTE : Steve Scalise has all three cited services) … but does every “Representative” need their own personal account ? (NOTE … Scalise wasn’t the only person listed on the three services cited … founder of the Anti-Woke Caucus, Jim Banks is listed on all three.) Unless, the reason isn’t to keep current on legislative matters but instead for future political campaigns — did you know that Jim Banks is running for US Senate?
Why is it that we will hear about “wasteful government spending” … sometimes as low as under $5,000 … but no one ever questions how each member of Congress is spending our money ?
Instead House Republicans’ priorities are contained in plans like the Blueprint To Save America which would eliminate the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program — a program that helps poor families heat and cool their homes. With firm majorities in House committees, Republicans are more likely to hold hearings on legislation like HR 323 People-Centered Assistance Reform Effort Act ( a pleasantly sounding proposal that would realign programs such that services and benefits from the Federal Government would not be required) than HR 893 Heating and Cooling Relief Act (which would ensure households pay no more than 3 percent of their annual income on energy costs).
Pete Stauber may claim to be focused on “Our Way Of Life” but his spending indicates that he is spending our taxdollars on image building.
Pete Stauber’s voters got suckered !