Give Congress a piece of your mind

Opposed to the Iraq War? Concerned about the deficit? Support gay marriage? Want Democrats to find a spine? Surprised at support of corrupt, conservative Chatham County politicians?

Our Congressman, David Price, is holding in district meetings including one in Chapel Hill on Thursday. Give him a piece of your mind!

Fourth District, Mar 24 - US Rep. David Price (NC-04) will host two town hall meetings next week, one in Durham and one in Chapel Hill. Constituents are invited to attend and ask Price questions about the federal issues that matter to them.

Price regularly hosts town hall meetings and office hours as part of his commitment to keeping in touch with the 4th District. Last month, he hosted a special town hall meeting in Wake County dedicated to Social Security.

Thursday, March 31, 2005
Chapel Hill Town Hall
306 N. Columbia Street, Chapel Hill

Thanks to Paul Jones for the tip.



All 540 members of the US Congress have the privilege of the frank for purposes such as the flyers that we all receive. See US CODE, TITLE 39, PART IV, CHAPTER 32, Sec. 3210. - Franked mail transmitted by the Vice President, Members of Congress, and congressional officials.

I'm sure that other members send out stuff that many here would object to in the strongest terms!

I assume other people got Rep. Price's fliers in the mail about these meetings and how he doesn't want to reform Social Security. While he's entitled to that point of view, does it bother anyone else that his mail-out agenda is paid for at taxpayer expense?

Yes Chris, there is a difference, but the law authorizes it. If you write a letter to a congressperson and they answer, the whole deal is also paid by tax dollars. Per copy, which do you think is cheaper?

For years, congressional reformers have attempted to limit the number/cost of mailings that a member can send out. Clearly, it is part of the advantage that an incumbant holds, but as with most things in Congress, reform is tough to do, regardless of which party is in power.

The last commission that tried to reform the mailings did, however limit the number of pictures of the member that could be in the mailing and the number of mentions of his or her name. Another reform was that members are blocked from sending mass mailings 60 days before they appear on the ballot.

Of course, the cost of such "informational" mailings pale in comparison to a flight on Air Force One that in effect becomes a "political" trip in every sense of the word. Benn a lot of those the last five years.

There's a difference between free postage and paying for the whole deal.


Are you saying that W travels MORE on AF1 than his predesessors? If so, do you have any facts to back that up?

No, the issue is not who has traveled on AF1 more; the issue is the skillful packaging of "official" trips that also provide the opportunity to engage in political events and activities. Most who monitor this indicate that W's staff has done it better than prior staffs.

PS: And what W's staff does is legal, just like the mailings the 540 members send out!

On a slightly related note, did you know that Presidents have to pay for their meals on AF1?

Q: "Doesn't it seem odd that with so much money being spent to fly the President around, the U.S. Air Force charges him a few dollars for each meal he has on board?"

A: "Sometimes the accounting practices of government, and the private sector for that matter, are hard to comprehend. "

That's good to hear that W has to pay for his AF1 meals...I guess that puts him on par with the Iraq war vets rehabbing at Walter Reed who are getting billed for their meals also...hey I bet those meal carts would look good with big yellow "Support the Troops"stickers slapped on them...

Mark, the getting billed for meals statement is not wholly accurate. Only outpatient soldiers in that status for over 90 days who eat in the hospital dining facility pay for meals. The reason is that they are paid what is called "separate rations" each month to buy their food. The controversy is over why they don't have to pay the first 90 days and then do afterward.

Are you in favor of giving them money for food and then letting them eat free?


Don't let facts get in the way of Mark's white hot hatred of George W Bush. It's obvious that every bad government policy was created and endorsed by George W. Bush and every good government policy is in his sites to be eliminated.

This was discussed in a January 28, 2005 article in Salon, Insult to Injury: You Know They Treat Us Like Shit Says Iraq War Veteran. A few excerpts:

The last thing a wounded soldier needs to worry about is where the next meal is coming from. But for hundreds of Walter Reed patients, that's a real concern. Starting this month, the Army has started making some wounded soldiers pay for the food they eat at the hospital.

Paying out of pocket for hospital meals can impose a serious financial burden, costing hundreds of dollars every month. That can be a lot of money to a military family. But perhaps worse, the meal charge feels like an ungrateful slap in the face to some soldiers.

Soldiers in medical hold are considered outpatients, but they usually live on hospital grounds -- some are put up in nearby hotels if housing on the grounds is full -- and have little choice but to buy food at the Walter Reed chow hall. Even as outpatients, soldiers in medical hold often have serious injuries. Some have been blown up by roadside bombs or crumpled in Humvee wrecks. They have serious head wounds and amputations. Others are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder after being flown out of Iraq with shellshock.

the outpatient soldiers forced to buy meals at Walter Reed say they could spend around $15 a day if they eat three square meals at the dining hall -- about $3 for breakfast and around $6 each for lunch and dinner. That adds up to $450 a month, $183 more than soldiers' food allowance from the military.

Unfortunately Dan, the Salon piece doesn't tell the entire story either.

The obvious solution to this whole thing is to get those who control the Congress to pass legislation that the Commander in Chief will sign that revises the law that is currently in effect. That way, people can stop blaming the Army for complying with a law that Congress passed. After all, charging people on separate rations for meals is not new, nor is placing blame where it doesn't belong

Given the speed which Delay, Frist and the jammy-clad Bush seized and capitalized on the sad Schiavo affair, Fred, how long do you think it would take them to make this right? I think about 2 hours, if they wanted.

Hey, maybe while they're at it, they can redeploy some of the bucks headed to their buddies at Halliburton to save the hundreds dying daily in Darfor.

Of course, feeding the troops or saving Sudanese doesn't lend itself to the grandstanding, chest thumping kind of drama these guys so love.

Did any of us go? I was tied up else where. How was the turn out? what was the tone? It's hard for me to talk about the presidents plan before he has a plan. I can't tell you if I like the tooth fairy untill I meet the young lady. She could be using teeth for some voodo curse on childeren. The presidents plan may be a voodo curse on our seniors.

I can understand why Mr. Price thinks there is no problem with social security system because he has that big fat congressional retirement plan. Maybe if he gave that up he could understand why now is the time to make changes to social security before it is too late.

The President at least has a plan you can talk about. Mr. Price and his fellow democrats have what, nothing and they are proud of it!

FWIW, since 1984 members of Congress have paid into the Social Socurity fund just as most everyone else does.

But they also have the *option* of participating in the Thrift Savings Plan as well. Why can't all americans have the same option?


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