Imagine how giddy I felt as a Republican to have received an e-mail from my newly elected Congressman, the nearly invisible Brad Schneider (D-10th). My first reaction was maybe he truly is reaching out to Republicans. Maybe he really means what he says when he repeats "bipartisan" over and over again.
I quickly opened the e-mail which was sent on February 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm and saw the following message: "This message has no content."
Truly it did. It was completely blank.
Curious, after reading a series of puff pieces about the mysterious Mr. Schneider that have been appearing in the AOL Patch publications, I decided to visit his official website. The AOL Patch publications have been busy glowing that Mr. Schneider introduced legislation called the "American Manufacturing Efficiency And Retraining Collaborative Achievement (the acronym is "AMERICA") Work Act." Clearly a lot of thought went into naming this bill. After introducing the bill, Mr. Schneider has been on a tiny limited "listening tour" of area manufacturers to hear their concerns.
So he introduced the bill first, then decided to hear out his constituents after introducing the bill? I guess that is something we may all need to get used to in the future. The glowing Patch articles neglected to mention that fact.
I then accessed his official website, payed for by us taxpayers, to discover the content of the "American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Collaborative Achievement Work Act." Is it a bunch of hot air behind a wordy acronym? Is it meaningless? Is it a bill of real substance? His official website link for Schneider sponsored bills reports "No Items Were Found For The Search." No bills sponsored? No bills introduced? Another blank slate?
I then decided to access the link for bills Mr. Schneider co-sponsored, thinking that perhaps I misread those glowing Patch articles. His official website link for Schneider co-sponsored bills reports "No Items Were Found For The Search." No bills co-sponsored? No co-sponsored bills introduced? Yet a third blank slate?
I could have accessed the Thomas website of Congress in desperation to try to access this bill but I stopped right there. His taxpayer supported website is supposed to be a wealth of information for his constituents, yet I all ran into were blank pages!
I finally decided to access votes he has taken in February in Congress from that same website. We all know his first official vote as a Congressman was to elect Representative Nancy "We Don't Have A Spending Problem in Washington" and "You Can Read the Contents of the (Obamacare) Bill After We Pass It" Pelosi as House Minority leader.
This month he voted against and for H.R. 273 on succeeding days. This bill eliminates the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for Federal employees and for other purposes. On February 14, 2013, Valentine's Day, he voted against it. On February 15, 2013 he voted for it. Is there any explanation for that change of heart?
To his credit he did vote against the hidden Obamacare 2.3% tax on medical devices, like heart valves and other important devices, which caused a great deal of consternation when it became effective on January 1, 2013. But then again, so did nearly everyone else vote against that nonsense. He also voted for the tax increases of the "fiscal cliff" which quietly increased the social security tax by 2% on the middle class, a fact that President Obama and his fellow Democrats never mention in their "tax the rich" campaigns.
He also invited the mother of Hadiya Pendleton to attend the recent State of the Union address of the President. Ms. Pendleton is the mother of the poor young student who was shot and killed in Chicago while in a public park. Ms. Pendleton elected to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama instead. I was unaware that the Pendletons lived in the 10th Congressional District.
Is our new congressman truly an empty suit or a blank slate, or is he just acting like one?
Time will tell. Some important votes are coming up in the next few days. Is he up for them?