Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tonight's Town Hall: We've got questions!

To help our readers prepare for tonight, Sessions Watch has compiled a list of questions from our team members, readers and commenters. We'd like someone to ask these questions and report back with Pete Sessions' answer; we framed the questions in a way that fits into "sound bite" format, and that is unlikely to have your question shouted down by anybody who's come ready for a fight. The questions are also framed to guide Pete Sessions into giving a straight answer without veering off on a tangent, if that's even possible. Our wording is meant as a guide, but please feel free to put our questions into your own words:

Q: Last year, you submitted a request to the House Appropriations Committee for $1.6 million dollars to a dirigible company in Chicago. How many jobs are they bringing to North Texas? (h/t readers Jim, TRNF, Ed C; writer David Smith of The Examiner, and Sessions Watch team members in the southern portion of the district).

For Sessions Watch, this is the most important question we want answered; it's this kind of earmark that inspired us to start the blog in the first place. Team members who used to be represented by Martin Frost in the old 24th Congressional District regularly saw tax dollars coming back home, especially in the form of roads, bridges and other infrastructure project that directly benefitted the District. Pete Sessions, on the other hand, seems more interested in serving lobbyists than us; while he'll probably never be caught doing anything illegal, Pete Sessions often legislates in a way that does not serve the district, and he most always gets away with it, earning him the nickname "Teflon Pete." Now, with health care at the forefront, this issue's about to slide off, too. David Smith of The Examiner has promised to keep asking that question, but it would be great to have it asked by a constituent. Anyone?

Q: Thank you for being a co-sponsor of H.R. 1207, to audit the Federal Reserve. Now that there are 282 co-sponsors, how soon will it come up for a vote? (h/t John Peterson and reader Lisa who heard Dennis Kucinich explain the bill on Thom Hartmann's show). Those who haven't heard about this can listen to Dennis Kucinich explain the bill and the history of the Federal Reserve at this link: Dennis Kucinich on Thom Hartmann show, re: H.r. 1207. This is an important bill that's really slid under the radar, and is an example of bipartisanship at its best. The question is designed to guide Pete Sessions into talking about working together with the other side, nudging him away from portraying Democrats as "the enemy."

Q: Reader MT sent this along to a Sessions Watch team member via email, but unfortunately it has erroneous information. First the question, then the analysis: Since you voted in favor of Net Neutrality in 2006, will you support the Internet Freedom Act of 2009? That's wishful thinking on your part, MT. The 2006 bill you're thinking of, the Network Neutrality Act of 2006 was referred to the Subcommittee for Telecommunications and the Internet, and never came up for a floor vote. It would be worth asking, though, where he stands on Internet neutrality, since this issue has come up before, regarding his ties to the telecommunications industry who oppose such legislation. (Before running for Congress, Pete Sessions was a phone company executive for Southwestern Bell, and continues to receive large contributions from telecommunications lobbyists). If anyone wants to ask his position on Network Neutrality, have at it, but please do some research first.

And now, to health care:

Q: In a previous town hall meeting, you said that you do not receive government health care. As a consumer, I'm looking for a different plan, and I'd like to know where you shop! (h/t Nancy) This is meant to present consumer choice of health care plans in a humorous light, and to guide Pete Sessions towards an explanation of Congressional health care compensation. The Sessions Watch team thinks that in saying he doesn't receive "government health care," he means that he picks Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, or one of the other private plans offered under the Federal Employees Benefit Plan. So technically, it's "private insurance," but since taxpayers fund his benefits, it's technically also a "government plan!"

Q: Your Republican colleague in the House, Joe Barton, recently chastised insurance industry executives on the policy of rescission, dropping customers' policies after they become sick. Do you agree with Congressman Barton that this is a bad business practice, and what is the role of Congress, if any, in ending this practice? (h/t Sessions Watch readers and team members who found the video of Joe Barton at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on ending the practice of rescission). The wording of the question is to highlight the issue of rescission, getting it past the automatic boo-ers by mentioning that a member of the Republican party considers this to be a bad business practice. Hopefully, it will also guide Pete Sessions towards agreeing that rescission is a bad practice, and give him an opportunity to tell us his ideas on government's role in regulating businesses that engage in practices which hurt consumers.

Good luck to all town hall attendees; be sure to take pictures, write blogs, and post links to your work in the comments section of the town hall blog, which we'll set up beforehand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow the nonexistant Talking Points!