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24 August 2013 - Where is your Congressman?

My question this week is . . . ‘Where are your members of Congress this month?” August is the month that Congress goes into recess. They leave Capitol Hill for 30 days and I’m hoping they go back to their home district, in their home state, to talk to you and hear your concerns about a great deal of unfinished business on Capitol Hill.

That is not the case with a lot of members of Congress. Many of them will be traveling to foreign countries; places like China, the Middle East and Scotland. The one positive is that these trips will not be paid for by our tax dollars, they will be paid for by lobby groups, foreign countries and corporations who want to have the full attention of these members so they can lobby strongly for their positions in pending legislation. I think that does cost us in the long run because it takes them away from the business they should be doing.

I don’t fully understand why we need these trips to create a better understanding of what Chinese, Israeli and Middle East people are thinking. We get that everyday in the news media coverage of world events. I said last week that travel is a great education but I am not sure it helps with legislation on Capitol Hill.

For example, this month ten members of the Congressional Black Caucus are in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The trip is financed by China, to increase “mutual understanding between members of Congress and China’s government”. Then, more than sixty House Democrats and Republicans, along with some wives and aides, traveled to Israel and the West Bank. Two different trips were organized and financed by The American Israel Education Foundation, a pro-Israel lobby group that pushes for U.S. aid to Israel “to ensure that the Jewish state maintains a qualitative edge over its adversaries”.

Then there are the domestic trips...Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Convention every year, paid for by electronics companies, so that industry can lobby its position on legislation and regulations while lavishly wining and dining members, their wives and aides.

I really think it’s time for members of Congress to stay in the U.S. and talk to their constituents (the people who vote for them) back home, then go back to Washington and take care of unfinished business like immigration, the Farm Bill and the state of the economy. So my recommendation, my strong suggestion, to members of Congress . . . Stay home in August and finish your work on Capitol Hill in September!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.