The response was from Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, who is GOP and a strong opponent of gay rights. I'm quite annoyed my district was constructed with a 55% GOP majority, though in the last election that dropped to 52%. I hope to be rid of him after redistricting next year, but since the GOP controls the Michigan House, Senate, Governor's office, and Supreme Court, I won't hold my breath.
It is rare that what I wrote is so thoroughly ignored and the reply about what the other person wants me to say and not what I said. I wrote about lessening the damage of climate change. He took my one sentence comment about eliminating bottled water and wrote how he is championing reducing congressional operational spending, partly by not allowing members to purchase bottled water.
Come to think of it, the last person to do such a bait and switch was … McCotter.
This is what he wrote:
Thank you for informing me of your support for cutting Congress' budget by prohibiting the use of the Member Representational Allowance (MRA) to purchase bottled water. Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.
As you know, encouraging fiscal responsibility, decreasing government taxation and spending is a national imperative. Critically, we must strive to ensure hard working people keep their hard earned money, with better spending restraint and low taxes. To personally limit government spending, I did not submit any Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) earmark appropriations requests and will continue to support earmark reform in the House. Only in this manner can we raise Michigan up to the level of the national economy, rather than lower the national economy to Michigan's level.
To reduce Congress' operational spending, on January 6, 2011, Representative Greg Walden (OR) introduced H.Res.22, reducing the amount authorized for salaries and expenses of Member, committee, and leadership offices for 2011 and 2012. As adopted, this legislation reduces Member allowances, leadership expenses, and committee expenses for 2011 and 2012 by five percent (5%) from 2010 levels. Further, H.Res.22 subjects the House Appropriations Committee to a nine percent (9%) reduction from 2010 levels for salaries and expenses for 2011 and 2012. On January 6, 2011, with my support the House passed H.Res.22 by a bi-partisan vote of 410-13.
Regarding the use of the MRA to purchase bottled water, my office does not purchase bottled water, but rather uses a water filtration system to cut costs and be more environmentally conscious. Presently, no legislation regarding this issue has been introduced during the 112th Congress.
Ultimately, Congress must practice the same spending restraint and fiscal responsibility it encourages nationwide. Reducing Congress' operational budget is a critical first step in demonstrating a genuine commitment to building a stable economy by reigning in previously unchecked government spending.
Rest assured, your thoughts on this important matter will be remembered during the 112th Congress.
This is what I wrote in reply:
Dear Rep. McCotter;
I'm pleased you are environmentally conscious enough to use a filtration system in your office instead of using bottled water. I'm also pleased there is a hint of encouraging fellow members to also forgo bottled water.
However, other than that your reply completely mischaracterized the intent of my letter to you. I wrote about the dire need to take action to prevent a climate catastrophe, listing several steps that need political solutions. Yes, one of those was eliminating bottled water, but that needs to happen throughout the nation, not just on Capitol Hill.
In response you wrote about reducing government spending. I believe that there are many aspects of governmental spending that should be increased to help us out of the current economic slump. That makes it sound like you are twisting my words to your own political ends. For an elected official to do that to one of his constituents I find shameful.
Such word twisting doesn't happen to me all that often. The last one to do it was … you.