Letter: Questioning Duffy’s support of troops by John Kocovsky
Claiming “Duffy supports our troops,” Joyce 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 9/16 explains, “Duffy was for troop pay at the same time he was against it.” While in the end, Duffy did vote “aye,” he and the GOP house essentially played fiscal brinkmanship, holding defense funding hostage and threatening to let the U.S. default on its obligations.
First, 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 other government agencies and programs for only one more week. Furthermore, this legislation would have cut all non-security discretionary spending by approximately $13 billion. It passed the House, but compelled the Senate to append a number of key amendments to ensure fiscal sanity, before it was sent back to the House. Bluff called, 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.” Two hundred thirty-three 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 have other fund sources, such as staff funding. (Duffy’s staff was paid a total of $780,342 in 2011.) As for H.R. 1012, the 10 percent pay cut for congress, it’s destined to die in committee.
According to OpenCongress.org, 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). Yet, people vote for them.
John Kocovsky, Hazelhurst