Jobs Not War Rally
To the best of my ability I have tried to capture the war spending records of the two Milwaukee Metro congresspersons since the Inauguration of President Obama in January 2009 to October 2010. I will let you draw your own conclusions before giving my opinion and research methodology below.
An increasing popular way to add military spending to the budget is by adding military ‘earmarks’ or ‘pork barrel’ spending attachments to the Federal Budget. Here are the two records:
For nearly all the records of earmarks and votes I used the MegaVote record of Congress.org. On this site you can subscribe to a regular MegaVote report of how your Congresspersons vote on bills and how others in congress vote. Click on any particular bill listed in this record and you can find out how other congresspersons voted on the issue.
There are often many votes on a particular bill, calling for Congresspersons to vote yes and No on an issue. For this research I only took the final vote in the House of Representatives, the one that really mattered. The only exception to this is the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010, when political game playing was at its best (or worst). When nearly all the Democrats in the House were needed, all kinds of amendments and non-binding resolutions were attached to it. It passed by a vote of 215–210 with all but 38 Democrats voting for it and all Republicans voting against it. When the Senate stripped the bill of all excess except military spending the Republicans in the House voted for it and the Democrats were allowed, for most part, to vote the way they wanted. Despite this game playing the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 passed the House twice and our two representatives were able to vote yes and no.
My reason for doing this research was to determine whether there is any basic difference in the voting records on war spending and how our phone calls, public meetings, emails etc. really bear on the issue. The vote of a progressive democratic, Rep. Gwen Moore, and a conservative Republican, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., are basically the same — for more war spending. In fact, if just studying this time frame, since the inauguration of President Obama, one could conclude that Rep. Sensenbrenner actually has a better record against war spending. But that is all games. During a Republican administration the same probably could be said for Rep. Moore.
Dorothy Day and Frank Blair have it right: Voting in this present government system does not really matter; nor does contacting our congressperson. They may seem to be voting to please us but ultimately they vote as the money and ‘powers that be’ direct them.