Saturday, February 17, 2007


Yesterday, we became aware that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx said she wanted us, her constituents, to take a survey on her website. Rather like her infamous "listening tour" of a year ago, the survey questions seemed designed to tell us what we're SUPPOSED to think on three issues, not actually share our views with The Madam:
Do you support a Federal Marriage Amendment that defines marriage in the U.S. as a union between one man and one woman? (Yes or No)

Do you support abolishing the current tax code and starting with one that is fairer and flatter? (Yes or No)

Do you support the war on terrorism and a victory in Iraq as a key to winning the War on Terror? (Yes or No)
Never mind the prejudicial framing of the questions. They are worded so that you're forced to say "yes, my Queen" to each and every one, or else admit to yourself and the world that you're silly, sinful, and weak.

Nevertheless, we answered "no" to all three. What happened next? We'll let a reader who went through the same (pointless) exercise explain:
I voted NO NO and NO to the survey, and this is the response I got, in its entirety:

"Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. Your input is valuable to me, and I am pleased that you care enough to share your thoughts.

"If you are interested in receiving periodic updates on my work in Congress, please sign up for the E-newsletter from my website's home page at Enter in your e-mail address under "E-mail Updates" and hit submit.

"As always, a Member of Congress will not disclose your e-mail address or any other contact information you have provided. Your contact information will not be provided to any other organization unless you specifically authorize it."
But, writes this correspondent, despite the automated nature of the Foxx "response," it's better than what he usually gets, which is no response at all.
Two months ago, I wrote this letter to Representative Foxx:
An Open letter to Representative Virginia Foxx

Dear Representative Foxx:

In your tenure as Congresswoman for the Fifth Congressional District of North Carolina, you've consistently voted for authorization of federal funds for the Iraq war. Yet, you voted against authorization of funds to provide support for victims of Hurricane Katrina, reportedly because of a lack of accountability to taxpayers.

As it turns out, funding for the Iraq war is not accountable to taxpayers. Please consider the following information from the "Iraq Study Group Report," a group led by loyal and strong President Bush supporter, James Baker. The report states:

"The public interest is not well served by the government's preparation, presentation, and review of the budget for the war in Iraq.

"First, most of the costs of the war show up not in the normal budget request but in requests for emergency supplemental appropriations. This means that funding requests are drawn up outside the normal budget process, are not offset by budgetary reductions elsewhere, and move quickly to the White House with minimal scrutiny. Bypassing the normal review erodes budget discipline and accountability.
"Second, the executive branch presents budget requests in a confusing manner, making it difficult for both the general public and members of Congress to understand the request or to differentiate it from counterterrorism operations around the world or operations in Afghanistan. Detailed analyses by budget experts are needed to answer what should be a simple question: 'How much money is the President requesting for the war in Iraq?'

"Finally, circumvention of the budget process by the executive branch erodes oversight and review by Congress. … When the President submits an emergency supplemental request, the authorizing committees are bypassed. The request goes directly to the appropriations committees, and they are pressured by the need to act quickly so that troops in the field do not run out of funds. The result is a spending bill that passes Congress with perfunctory review…

"…Costs for the war in Iraq should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year, and the normal budget process should not be circumvented. Funding requests for the war in Iraq should be presented clearly to Congress and the American people. Congress must carry out its constitutional responsibility to review budget requests for the war in Iraq carefully and to conduct oversight." (pp. 59-60)

As one of your constituents, I ask you, how do you explain your open-ended, unquestioned support of all this non-accountable spending for the Iraq war? Further, as my Representative in Congress, what are you prepared to do about Congress' non-accountable spending for the war?
I've heard it said many times that you are responsive to your constituents. As one of them, I eagerly await your answers.
Madam Foxx's response? Nothing, nada, zilch. Or, as our correspondent expressed it, "CHIRP CHIRP (crickets)."

He continues:
So, here is my latest letter to her:

An Open letter to Representative Virginia Foxx

Dear Representative Foxx:

Nearly two months ago, I sent a letter to you asking for an explanation of your consistent voting in favor of emergency funding for the Iraq war in spite of the fact that the money is "not accountable" to the American people.

Remember, you were one of only 11 members of Congress to vote against reconstruction aid after Hurricane Katrina, supposedly because the spending was not accountable to the American people.

In my letter, which was published in the local papers, I noted that the Iraq Study Group agreed, saying that funding for the first three years of the war was not accounted to Congress nor accountable to taxpayers.

Now, more than $300 billion later, we learn that about one in six dollars charged by U.S. contractors is "questionable." David Walker, head of the auditing arm of Congress, said:

"There is no accountability. Organizations charged with overseeing contracts are not held accountable. Contractors are not held accountable. The individuals responsible are not held accountable."

So, Representative Foxx, I ask you once again, why have you consistently voted to spend billions upon billions upon billions of tax payer dollars on a non-accountable war? And what are you, as a conservative, going to do to stop it? Finally, why have you not answered my letter?

I have repeatedly heard that you are responsive to your constituents. Frankly, your silence on this issue is deafening.


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