Dear Mr. Kuecker,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the increased need for fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction. I appreciate hearing from you.
One of the main reasons that we are in such a budgetary mess that we are currently in is because of the reckless fiscal policies pursued by the previous administration which have left us in the biggest financial hole in our history. Deep deficit spending is something that I am extremely concerned about, which is one of the reasons why I opposed the flawed Wall Street bailout plan.
There are a number of steps we should take to restore some fiscal discipline, and one of those steps is to stop unauthorized spending earmarks. That is why on January 6, 2009 I introduced S. 162, the Fiscal Discipline, Earmark Reform, and Accountability Act. This bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Our bill would make it easier to remove unauthorized earmarks in appropriations bills. If any Senator tried to remove such an earmark, supporters of the earmark would have to obtain the super-majority of 60 votes in the Senate to keep the earmark in the bill.
In an effort to further target wasteful spending, I also joined my colleagues, Congressman Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, in introducing the Congressional Accountability and Line-Item Veto Act of 2009. This legislation would create a line-item veto to target wasteful earmarks, improve congressional accountability, and deter lawmakers from inserting "Bridges to Nowhere" or other frivolous spending into future bills. This legislation would enable the president to single out egregious earmarks in bills that arrive on his desk for signature and send these specific items back to Congress for expedited votes on whether to rescind, or cancel, funding for these provisions.
One of the main reasons I first ran for the U.S. Senate was to restore fiscal responsibility to the federal budget. Throughout my career in the Senate, I have worked to bring
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to do so on this or any issue.
The only problem is that I was asking him about the possibility of an independent audit of the Federal Reserve...
Another one, again about health care:
Dear Mr. Kuecker,
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
It is far past time for Congress to ensure all Americans have guaranteed, affordable, high-quality health care. Too many Americans are forced to make basic decisions regarding their health based on cost rather than on medical reasons; too many delay seeking treatment and do not receive preventive care, which results in more costly, or even fatal, consequences down the line. Our country spends $5,670 per capita annually on health care - which is twice as much as any other industrialized nation - and 15.6 percent of our gross domestic product. Despite this spending, we are not healthier than those other countries, and we still have more than 46 million Americans - including eight million children - who do not have health insurance, and countless others who are underinsured.
As you know, these high and rising costs take a tremendous toll on American families and businesses. While inflation grew 9.7 percent, and wage growth was 12.3 percent, premiums for family insurance coverage rose 59 percent from 2000-2004 and show no sign of stabilizing. As a result, many employers are shifting much of their health care costs to employees, no longer providing health benefits, or eliminating positions.
The Senate Finance Committee is currently considering legislation on health care reform. I look forward to Congress finally taking up this issue. Ensuring every American is guaranteed good, affordable health care coverage is made much more difficult by relying only on private insurers. While Americans should be able to retain their current coverage if they choose, providing a public option should keep health care costs down for all Americans.
I am also committed to making long-term care a key part of any reform. Since my time as chair of the Wisconsin State Senate's Aging Committee, I have worked to give seniors and others needing long-term care the choice to remain in their own homes and communities instead of entering institutional care. Long term care must be part of health care reform because helping more people live in their homes is the smart choice to meet both the preferences of families and the need to spend government funds efficiently.
Additionally, the Medicare reimbursement formula has shortchanged
Again, thank you for contacting me. As health care reform moves forward, I will continue working to improve access to health care and make health care more affordable for the people of
Again, he (or his staff person who writes these) seems determined to ignore the gist of my communication, which was to do NOTHING about health care, rather to fix the GOVERNMENT that's broken and the cause of virtually all our current social and financial problems.