From the wausau daily herald:
Democrats are getting some amusing mileage out of Rep. Sean Duffy’s recent exchange with a Polk County constituent about his congressional pay.
In a videotape of a town hall meeting in Amery, Duffy, R-Ashland, is seen telling a construction worker who lost his job and now drives a bus that even he was having difficulty making ends meet. As a member of Congress, the Republican freshman is paid $174,000 a year.
“I struggle to meet my bills right now,” Duffy told the constituent after noting that he has six children and a mortgage, drives a used minivan and is still paying off his student loan. “At this point, I’m not living high off the hog.”
Duffy also pointed out that he resigned from his prosecutor’s job to run for Congress and spent six months without a salary.
Exsqueeze me? If you can’t afford 6 kids, keep your weewee in your pants, and don’t buy a house if you can’t afford the mortgage payments (isn’t that one of the Rethuglican themes?). In addition, don’t quit your day job if you can’t afford it, even if it’s to run for Congress. How ironic that Seanie got his start on The Real World back in 1997, and he still has no clue about it.
Original DVD cover
So on Wednesday, Wisconsin Democrats released a mock ad by Polk County Republicans for a food and clothing drive for “poor Sean Duffy” to be held on April 1, April Fool’s Day. Among the suggested contributions were: disposable iPads, French-cuffed shirts, riding crops and used cashmere.
“We’re trying to make a point with this satire, but at the end of the day, it’s no laughing matter that Sean Duffy is advocating an agenda on behalf of his oil tycoon Koch Brothers patrons at the same time he is so screamingly out-of-touch with the north woods working families he is supposed to represent,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said, referring to conservative billionaire financiers Charles and David Koch.
On Tuesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee accused Duffy of complaining and pointed out he earned more than $90,000 in 2009 as a county prosecutor, more than twice the average earnings of Wisconsin families.
“He was simply pointing out that he’s no stranger to tough times,” [Duffy spokesman Daniel] Son said.
Both Duffy, who was elected to replace retiring Democrat Dave Obey, and Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Lawrence, are on the DCCC’s target list for 2012. Both represent congressional districts President Barack Obama won in 2008.
At the Amery town hall meeting, the former construction worker told Duffy that he now makes less money as a bus driver and that his wife, a teacher, anticipates a pay cut.
He asked Duffy how much members of Congress make and whether he would be willing to take less money.
Duffy, wearing an open-collar shirt with the sleeves rolled up, told the audience lawmakers are paid $174,000 a year, but the federal benefits are not as good as the benefits he had as a state employee. He said he supported a 5 percent cut in the congressional budget.
The salary figure caused the constituent’s jaw to drop.
“A hundred and seventy-four thousand,” the builder said, “that’s three times — that’s three of my family’s — three times what I make.”
From THINK PROGRESS:
At a townhall meeting in Amery, Wisconsin last week, the “Real World’s” Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) exposed just how out of touch with ordinary Americans he is. According to progressive blog Rightguardia, one constituent — an underemployed construction worker — explained that his wife, a teacher, may have to take a cut in wages if Wisconsin’s draconian budget bill goes through. “I’m just wondering what your wage is and if you guys would be willing to take a cut,” he asked Duffy. Displaying that delicate sense of empathy characteristic of conservatives, Duffy whined about his $174,000 congressional salary and his “used minivan.”
Duffy is certainly no Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a multimillionaire car alarm mogul. Like many Wisconsinites, he has several kids and, according to his financial disclosure statement, student loans and a mortgage to pay off. But Duffy’s salary is indeed about three times Wisconsin’s (and the national) median income. What’s more, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 7.4 percent statewide, and 8.2 percent in Wausau, a city Duffy represents.