Sean Duffy’s telling a lot of tall tales about the Keystone XL pipeline

Here’s the latest email missive from Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, who apparently isn’t above telling a few tall tales to further the interests of his benefactors.

Dear friends,

This week the House will vote on the Senate’s version of a bill to (yet again) approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The President has promised to veto it despite virtually every roadblock he has laid down having been cleared. Fifty-seven percent of Americans support the pipeline, nine Democrat Senators voted for it when it passed the Senate last week, and the Nebraska Supreme Court cleared the pipeline last month in a ruling that the President had longed claimed was the main reason for his delay.

The Pipeline has been in the approval process since September 19, 2008, when the application was first submitted to the U.S. State Department. That’s 2,334 days, or more than six years. The actual construction of the pipeline would range from one to two years. If the pipeline had gone through a reasonable approval timeline, it would have been completed two to three years ago. Enough with the games, Mr. President, it’s time to build.

Here are some quick facts on this project:

· The Keystone XL pipeline would connect Canadian oil sands all the way to the Gulf Coast, moving up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day – half the amount the U.S. imports from the Middle East – decreasing our oil dependence on countries that don’t share America’s interests.

· On January 31, 2014, the State Department – which is responsible for the cross-border pipeline approval process – issued its final Environmental Impact Statement noting the pipeline will have limited environmental impacts. In fact, there would be greater safety and environmental risks if the pipeline isn’t built since fuel would still be transported by truck or rail.

· On January 12, 2015, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, introduced by Rep. Kevin Cramer (ND-At Large). I was proud to support this legislation, which expedites approval of all necessary permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and limits litigation that would further tie up the project. This legislation passed the House by a bipartisan 266 to 153 vote.

· On January 29, 2015, nine Senate Democrats joined Senate Republicans to vote in favor of a similar version of the Keystone XL legislation, securing strong passage of 62 to 39.

· On February 11, 2015, the House is expected to vote on, and likely pass, the final version of the Keystone XL approval and send to the President’s desk for his signature.

Congress Passes ISIS Bill and Evacuates Washington!

In probably one of the worst decisions to come out of Washington since the decision to invade Iraq under President George W Bush, the Senate piled on and passed the bill to ‘train moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS’ that easily passed the House yesterday.

What an incredible waste of American resources…and many of those very same legislators who decried President Obama’s broadcasting when he intended to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan…actually built in a December 11 sunset date by adding the Syrian authorization to an budget extension bill…because, well once again we are two weeks away from the new fiscal year without a budget…but I digress.

On the Senate bill:

The Senate gave overwhelming approval on Thursday to a measure on the training and arming of Syrian rebels, then fled the Capitol for the fall campaign, sidestepping the debate over the extent of American military action until the lame-duck session of Congress later this year.

The training measure, pushed hard by President Obama, was tucked into a larger Senate bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, a maneuver that leaders of both parties favored to ensure as few defections as possible. The Senate’s 78-to-22 vote, a day after the House passed the measure, masked the serious doubts that many senators had.

The broader debate over Congress’s role in blessing or expanding a new military campaign in the Middle East was one that few on Capitol Hill wanted just six weeks before the midterm elections.

And hopeful presidential candidate Rand Paul:

“I’m not sending your son, your daughter over to the middle of that chaos,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, whose libertarian views have propelled him into contention for his party’s 2016 nomination. “The people who live there need to stand up and fight.”

He added, “I am not giving up, but it is their war, and they need to fight.”

About the House bill:

An unusual but overwhelming coalition in the House voted Wednesday to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels to confront the militant Islamic State, backing President Obama after he personally pleaded for support.

The 273-to-156 vote was over a narrow military measure with no money attached, but it took on outsize importance and was infused with drama, reflecting the tension and ambiguity of members wary of the ultimate path to which any war vote could lead.

There was rare unity between House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, who strongly backed the training legislation and sought to portray it as a modest measure. And the opposition included the equally unlikely pairings of antiwar Democrats and hawkish Republicans.

And how did the Wisconsin House Delegation vote?

Only two of Wisconsin’s eight House members voted for the resolution — Democrat Ron Kind and Republican Paul Ryan.

And the six who voted no included lawmakers with very disparate views on intervention.

Democrat Mark Pocan, who opposed the resolution, said he feared this would turn out to be a much bigger military commitment than advertised. “All of this sounds like it’s looking a lot more like a war rather than a very limited engagement,” he said in an interview.

But Republican Jim Sensenbrenner expressed almost the opposite rationale for voting no, saying his fault with the administration’s approach was that it was tepid. “We need to annihilate them,” he said in an interview.

Republican Reid Ribble said his opposition was both procedural and substantive. “The president didn’t need authorization. We train troops around the world all the time,” he said. “And I personally was not convinced we knew who we were training.”

Also voting no were Republicans Sean Duffy and Tom Petri and Democrat Gwen Moore.

In voting yes, Kind said he opposes committing combat troops to the region. But he said in a statement: “The step we took today is the best of the bad options that we have. … It gives the president bipartisan support to help him build a coalition in opposition to this growing threat, provides oversight resulting in greater accountability and is the best plan to avoid putting combat troops on the ground.”

And then they all left town to continue their campaigns…

And unfortunately, I had a graphic from the NY Times showing the vote nationally for both houses, but I lost it. I will add it later if I find it again.

Sean Duffy prosecutes Bowe Bergdahl without benefit of an investigation

Watch as heroic former prosecutor and fake lumberjack Sean Duffy claims that he supports due process, and then basically calls Bowe Bergdahl a deserter before the military has even had a chance to finish their investigation into the matter. It’s worth noting that it was this kind of rush to judgment that fueled the death threats made against the Bergdahl family. This is despicable behavior on Duffy’s part, though not surprising.

Guess who raised campaign funds during government shutdown? Sean Duffy!

In Ken Vogel’s new book “Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp – on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics“ about money in American politics, there’s an interesting report that Congressman Sean Duffy attended a Washington confab sponsored by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group during last year’s government shutdown (emphasis added).

During the government shutdown, Vogel writes, “the very folks who could form the Speaker’s own cash calvary were secretly convening a mile west of the White House at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. Some of the richest Republican businessmen and most influential big-money operatives were set to gather over the next couple of days with the pols they hoped would lead the revival of the GOP’s Chamber of Commerce Centrist wing.”

The meeting was convened by Karl Rove’s organization Crossroads, which titled the agenda “The Republican Future”, with the purpose of reclaiming control of the GOP from its more extreme Tea Party wing.

Vogel notes that he didn’t expect many prominent politicians to attend (House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both opted not to show up), figuring “it would look pretty bad for any Republican to be caught schmoozing big donors at the very moment that the party’s congressional contingent was being blamed for an unpopular stalemate causing real pain for regular Americans.”

And then, Vogel writes, Gardner showed up along with Congressman Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin.

Ken Vogel’s report is yet another example of just how out of touch “Struggling” Sean Duffy is with the citizens he represents.

Kelly Westlund delivers thousands of signatures to Rep. Duffy supporting minimum wage increase

From my email inbox:

Congressional candidate Kelly Westlund joined local activists for a press conference outside of Rep. Sean Duffy’s office in Superior today and delivered over 10,000 petition signatures from across Wisconsin calling on Rep. Duffy to support raising the minimum wage.

The petition to Rep. Duffy states:

With the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us, working-class Americans deserve a raise. I support raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, and call on Rep. Sean Duffy to tell us where he stands- with working people who just want to put food on the table, or with corporate CEOs who just want bigger bonuses.”

Westlund said,”There is a growing movement in support of raising the minimum wage and it’s time for Sean Duffy to stand with his constituents. I have here over 10,000 signatures from Wisconsinites who believe that our representative in Congress ought to stand with working people instead of corporate CEOs, and support an increase in the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour.”

Westlund also said, “The vast majority of people working for minimum wage are over the age of 20, so obviously, these jobs are not just for high school students. They’re jobs for people who just want an opportunity to work hard and build a good life, even as the system is increasingly rigged against them.”

Steve Carlson of Trego also spoke on behalf of his step-daughter who has worked minimum wage jobs her entire life. Carlson stated that after seven years working at the same motel, she only recently started receiving a wage of $10.00 per hour.

“She’s been in the workforce for over 13 years, has worked hard and done well and still she is just over the federal poverty line,” Carlson stated. “Because she has been paid poverty wages all her life, she has been eligible for public assistance programs like food stamps, heating assistance and Badgercare. Without this assistance, she wouldn’t be able to make ends meet.”

Westlund talked about how raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour is essential for creating economic growth, saying “History and common sense tell us that the best way to restore economic growth is to expand economic opportunity to those who don’t already have it. Increasing the minimum wage will put money into the pockets of people who will spend it, creating real economic stimulus that just doesn’t happen when CEOs get bigger bonuses. That increased buying power is good for working people, and it’s good for the economy.”

Westlund was the first of many progressive candidates across the country to deliver petitions to a sitting legislator urging for an increase in the minimum wage. Over 60,000 signatures have been collected as part of a national effort with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) intended to pressure Congressional Republicans on this key economic issue ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.

No doubt Rep. Duffy, who once famously said he struggles to make ends meet on his $174,000 salary, will do absolutely nothing to try to raise the federal minimum wage, lest he incur the wrath of his masters in industry and big business.

Sean Duffy voted to cut heating assistance for low income Americans

Hey all you folks shivering up in the 7th congressional district and beyond, when you’re turning your thermostat down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit today and trying desperately to figure out how in the hell you’re going to pay $5.00 a gallon for propane, if you can find it at all, remember that Congressman Sean Duffy voted to cut heating assistance for low income Americans because he wants you to be independent. He doesn’t give a shit if you freeze to death, he just wants you to be independent.

So call his office in DC on his toll free number and tell him what’s on your mind. 1-855-585-4251.

And share this post on Facebook and other social media far and wide.

Democratic House candidate Kelly Westlund calls on Sean Duffy to support minimum wage increase

Ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight, Democratic House candidate Kelly Westlund held a media conference call today with minimum-wage workers from Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. On the call, Westlund and the minimum-wage workers urged Westlund’s opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Sean Duffy to support raising the minimum wage.

Here’s a bit of what Westlund had to say.

“Tomorrow during the State of the Union address, President Obama is expected to make raising the minimum wage a top priority in his 2014 agenda. I think that raising the minimum wage is a crucial step to giving hard-working people economic security and spending power that’s going to help get grow our nation’s economy.” [AUDIO]

“If we want to get the economy going, a higher minimum wage will provide economic opportunity for people who don’t already have it. That increased buying power is good for working people, and it’s good for the economy. Citizens all over Wisconsin’s Seventh [congressional district] have called on Sean Duffy to support an increase in the minimum wage, and so far, he’s refused to even meet with them. He complains about how much he struggles to get by on $174,000 a year, but he won’t even take the time to listen to people that he is supposed to represent who are working to raise families on less than a tenth of that. With the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us, working-class Americans deserve a raise. I support raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour – and call on Sean Duffy to tell us where he stands, with working people who just want to put food on the table, or with corporate CEO’s who just want bigger bonuses.” [AUDIO]

In addition to Westlund’s comments, Maria Stieber from Wausau, a mother and part-time waitress working on minimum wage, added her perspective on increasing the minimum wage.

“As a citizen, I want what anyone would want. I want the pride of home ownership and self-sufficiency. I want stable employment opportunities in my community. I’m not interested in handouts or charity. All I want is the security of knowing I am prepared for a rainy day. I want to give my daughter the best possible future. I expect my representative in Congress to share these hopes and concerns. I expect him to be on the side of his constituents. I feel that Representative Duffy has neglected his working-class constituents and is merely catering to the wealthiest among his supporters.” [AUDIO]

Kelly Westlund’s first month on the campaign trail

From my email inbox comes news of Democratic Congressional candidate Kelly Westlund’s first month on the campaign trail.

In the first month of Kelly Westlund’s grassroots congressional campaign, she has traveled to 16 of the 26 counties in Wisconsin’s Seventh District. In contrast to  Republican incumbent Sean Duffy who is criticized for not being available to his constituents, Westlund has  met with hundreds of working people from around northern Wisconsin in the first month of her campaign.

Westlund launched her campaign last month on a theme of economic populism and returning power to everyday people across northern Wisconsin. During a week-long “Progress for the People” campaign announcement tour, Westlund held a series of roundtable discussions around the district featuring farmers, students, victims of job loss, grandparents on Social Security, and other local working people that Sean Duffy voted against in Washington, DC.

In the first month of her people-powered campaign, Westlund raised $50,000 from over 1,000 individual grassroots donors.

“The grassroots enthusiasm I’ve received in the first 30 days of my campaign reinforces my reason for getting into this race — to go to Washington to fight for the interests of everyday Wisconsinites. Sean Duffy’s campaign on the other hand will be funded by powerful special interests,” said Kelly Westlund. “The people of northern Wisconsin deserve a real representative in Congress, somebody who fights for hard-working people and is willing to take on those powerful interests. Sean Duffy consistently says one thing to his constituents in Wisconsin and then votes against them in Washington, DC.”

As the Senate voted on unemployment benefits this week, Westlund stepped up to play a national role on the issue. She sent a national email to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s nearly one million members — telling her family’s story of having been on unemployment benefits, saying that Republicans who oppose extending unemployment benefits are out of touch, and asking people to contact their senators in every state.

“Republicans in Congress may block unemployment benefits. My Tea Party Congressman, Sean Duffy, says he ‘struggles’ to get by on $174,000 a year. That’s how out of touch they are,” said Kelly Westlund in the email. “I know that when that check comes in, families immediately use it to buy groceries and pay utility bills and put gas in the car. They’re reinvesting those dollars in our communities.”

Westlund is running in one of the House seats Democrats need to take back the majority. Washington Post’s Greg Sargent named Wisconsin’s Seventh “a race to watch” following Westlund’s email to PCCC members.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) endorsed Westlund on Day One of her campaign.

Westlund’s campaign logo features the tagline “Let’s get to work, Wisconsin!” to highlight both her focus on issues of importance to working families and the grassroots nature of her campaign. Supporters can sign up for campaign updates and donate to help elect Westlund at  www.KellyWestlund.com.

If you’d like to help Kelly Westlund defeat Rep. Sean Duffy this year, you can start by making a secure contribution to her campaign via ActBlue.

“Struggling” Sean Duffy? More like “Do-Nothing” Sean Duffy

I’ve long believed Republican Rep. “Struggling” Sean Duffy isn’t fit for the office he holds, and thanks to the govtrack.us website, I now have proof.

According to Rep. Duffy’s report card on govtrack.us, Rep. Duffy introduced ZERO bills that became law in 2013. Now I understand it’s no easy task to write legislation and then see that legislation passed into law, but Rep. Duffy was 0 for 13 in that respect, making me wonder exactly what he’s doing to earn his $174,000 salary, besides making appearances on TV.