Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frank Wolf Mails It In

A short while ago, Congressman Frank Wolf sent a mailing to his constituents. Billed as constituent information so he could make use of the free postal services afforded to Congresspeople, in reality it is a thinly disguised campaign mailing designed to make the voters of the 10th District think Frank Wolf is doing something about their issues, without actually having our Congressman do anything about our issues.

Congressman Wolf has sponsored 14 Bills in the 110th Congress. That's about one bill every six weeks. But wait! Of those 14 bills, 13 of them are from 2007. Looking back on Frank Wolf's 28 years in Congress, his track record is even more interesting.
Frank Wolf has sponsored 105 bills since Jan 5, 1993, of which 70 haven't made it out of committee and 17 were successfully enacted. Wolf has co-sponsored 2345 bills during the same time period. -
The Republicans held the majority in Congress between January 1995 and January 2007. In spite of being a senior member (elected in 1982) of the majority for most of the period tracked by GovTrack, our Congressman was only able to get 17 of his bills passed in fifteen years. In the 110th Congress, only two of his bills were passed, a bill calling for the government to develop a strategy to help Chad (and not Chad, the AOL employee who lost his job on Frank Wolf's watch, Chad the African nation), and a bill expressing condolences on the death of his Congressional colleague Jo Ann Davis.

I don't know about you, but if I only produced approximately one success a year in my job, I'd be fired.

Returning to the mail received recently from our Congressman, it is worthwhile to examine Frank Wolf's constituent mailing on Energy, for example, in comparison with Frank Wolf's actual actions in Congress. To cast an informed vote on November 4th, it is helpful to determine whether our Congressman has actually done something on the issues he claims to care about, versus where the Congressman simply claims action without proof. Let's take Frank Wolf's stated positions on Energy from the mailing one by one.
  • Invest in Alternative Renewable Energy - The Congressman lists this as his top priority in the mailing. And yet, a review of his 110th Congress bills, the Congress in which this emerged as a critical issue, shows that Frank Wolf sponsored no bill to invest in alternative renewable energy. He has cosponsored some of the Republican bills, but demonstrated no individual, independent leadership on this issue.

  • Eliminate Barriers to Exploration - In the 110th Congress, Frank Wolf sponsored no bill to eliminate barriers to exploration. He has "voted for" such things, but demonstrated no individual, independent leadership.

  • Build New Refineries and Expand Old Ones - In the 110th Congress, Frank Wolf sponsored no bill to eliminate barriers to build new refineries and expand old ones. He has "voted for" such things, but demonstrated no individual, independent leadership.

  • Protect Consumers - In the 110th Congress, Frank Wolf sponsored no bill to protect consumers. This issue is not even on the front page of his website.

  • Encourage Conservation - In the 110th Congress, Frank Wolf sponsored no bill to encorage conservation. He "voted for" higher CAFE standards, and "drives a hybrid," but has taken no leadership role in Congress on legislation encouraging conservation.

  • Increase Mass Transit & Telework Options - Frank Wolf claims to have "taken the lead" on rail to Dulles. However, it is unclear how someone who was taken by surprise that the Dulles Rail funding was at risk in the first place can be said to lead on the issue. Furthermore, he has sponsored no legislation on rail or mass transit in the 110th Congress.
Frank Wolf's "actions" on the issues he, himself, claims are critical are little more than parroting of talking points and "me too" co-sponsorship of other Republican's bills.

After 28 years in Congress, Frank Wolf is without an original idea on the issues that Frank Wolf himself understands to be critical in this election. He is simply mailing it in, tagging along with other Republican bills and paying lip service in mailings to his constituents.

Alternative energy, mass transit, consumer protection and energy conservation have been critical issues in Virginia's 10th District for decades. For 28 years, Frank Wolf has served in Congress. For twelve of those years, Frank Wolf was a senior member of the Republican Majority and for five years he was chair of the Transportation Committee. And yet, in that critical period where Frank Wolf should have gotten something done on these critical issues, he did nothing. It is only now, when being challenged, that he stirs from his usual torpor to merely co-sponsor his colleagues bills and parrot talking points.

After 28 years, we need a Congressperson who will lead on the important issues facing our district, rather than following the failed and tired policy prescriptions of the Bush Administration and obstructionist Republicans in Congress. We need someone willing and able to take action on critical problems, rather than merely mailing in sympathy.

After 28 years, Virginia's 10th District needs Judy Feder.

(Crossposted from Leesburg Tomorrow)

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