I recently sent simple letters to both Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold voicing my concerning about H.R. 3200 and the excessive government spending. Both sent me nice template email replies saying thanks. I wasn’t expecting much more than that. I especially liked the email address on the response from Senator Feingold. DO NOT REPLY. LOL! Great PR Russ!
I would be interested to know how many people write the senators during the course of a typical year. How about this year?
Anyway, I thought I would share my letter and their responses with you.
$550M for jets, trillions of dollars on a stimulus that isn't working, a $3B coupon for people that were already going to buy a car. STOP SPENDING!
As for HR-3200, again, this is not the time to increase spending to solve the problem. While there are many ways to begin to address the 15% of Americans without healthcare, spending my hard earned dollar should not be one of them. STOP SPENDING!
Response from Senator Feingold:
Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about universal health care. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
It is far past time for Congress to guarantee health insurance coverage for all Americans. 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.
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.
I have worked for years to try to break through the gridlock preventing health care reform. For example, I have introduced legislation, the State-Based Health Care Reform Act, with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), that would provide federal grants for states to develop and administer expanded health plans to help ensure coverage for all of their residents. The plans would have to include income protections and meet basic coverage requirements; current federal programs like SCHIP and Medicaid would have to be protected. This bipartisan legislation was intended to help ensure that Congress addresses the need for meaningful nationwide reform.
The full Senate is expected to consider health care reform legislation soon. I look forward to Congress finally taking up this issue, and I will continue working to improve access to health care and make health care more affordable for the people of Wisconsin. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Response from Senator Kohl:
We face a deep and painful recession, and our economy will not recover overnight. To help struggling Americans through these tough times and get our economy moving again, Congress passed a package of tax relief and targeted investments called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Since then, I have been closely monitoring the implementation of this recovery package, and I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you.
Tax relief is a vital part of the recovery package, and over two million households in Wisconsin are already keeping more of their paycheck due to the Making Work Pay tax credit. This credit will result in a tax cut of about $800 for 95% of working families across the country.
Unemployed workers are struggling to find new jobs, and factory closings are straining cities and towns across Wisconsin. The recovery package is funding vitally needed job training programs for Wisconsinites who lost their job when their plant closed. Recovery funds also support increased unemployment benefits to help displaced workers get back on their feet.
New transportation projects are underway across Wisconsin, creating jobs and improving vital infrastructure. These include roadwork throughout the state, airport rehabilitation in Green Bay and Rhinelander, and energy efficiency upgrades for buses in Stevens Point. Transportation projects across the country are costing less than expected, and Wisconsin alone has saved over $10 million.
Overdue energy and environmental investments are now made possible due to the recovery package. In Wisconsin, increased energy tax credits have sparked interest in geothermal power. The credit helps to overcome the initial cost of building geothermal systems, leading to an immediate savings in energy costs. Recovery funds are supporting cleanups of hazardous waste sites in Baraboo, Milwaukee, and Wauwatosa. This land had been left abandoned, but may now be returned to productive use.
Ensuring that every American can see how their money is being spent is a central part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I encourage you to follow the progress of the recovery package at http://www.recovery.gov, and track investments in Wisconsin at http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/allocation-programs&state=WI. To stop waste, fraud, and abuse, these websites include links to inspector general hotlines and whistleblower information.
I have heard from many people across Wisconsin with a variety of views on how to best rebuild our economy, which has been very helpful to me. I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate oversees the progress of the economic recovery package. Again, thank you for contacting me and please feel free to do so again in the future.
United States Senator