Monday, January 30, 2006


Back to work for Sue...

Well, it's been six long weeks since Congress went out on recess. But all good things have to come to an end eventually and Sue is headed back to the hallowed halls of Congress. What's on the agenda for the second session of the 109th Congress? Here's a brief look at two key votes:

--Sue gets another shot at voting to cut $40 billion from the budget. This would cut $12.7 billion from federal student loan programs -- the largest cut ever -- at a time that college costs are rising sharply. Medicaid would be cut by $7 billion and funding for Medicare and child support enforcement would also be cut sharply. The House is voting on this again because the Senate made several changes to an earlier budget bill. Sue's already voted twice here and here in favor of these drastic cuts, so it's unlikely she'll suddenly have a change of heart the third time around.

--More tax cuts for the wealthy. The House will vote on extending tax cuts on capital gains and dividends, even though those tax cuts are not set to expire for another two years. Kelly voted to approve this once before. There's no reason to believe she won't do it again.

With these types of irresponsible votes, maybe we're all better off when Sue is on vacation.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Suzy's Q...

In marketing, it's called the Q Score and it basically measures someone's brand name and their likability. And based on some polling done by Jeff Cook, the Monroe Republican looking to challenge Kelly in a primary, Suzy's Q number is not looking very tasty. Indeed, a blog called The Dooryard managed to get a copy of some polling information that Cook did and the results can't leave Sue feeling too good (deep sigh!):

The latest poll shows a 41% approval rating in her district and it's only 53% among Republicans

Perhaps that's why Sue has spent much of the past week running around the district, trying to generate headlines and prove that she's really doing something, instead of enjoying the last of the six-week long vacation imposed by Republican leaders in DC to get their House in order. Let's hope that come November, the voters in this district will decide to send her on an even longer vacation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Status quo Sue...

Over the past few weeks, once it became clear that Tom DeLay would not return to his leadership role because of various criminal charges and investigations, members of Congress began lining up behind the three men vying to replace DeLay. But Sue sat on the sidelines, refusing to express public support. Until yesterday, when The Hill added her name to those who have lined up behind Republican Whip Roy Blunt.

Though Blunt is technically a different person than DeLay, he represents many of the things that were the most problematic (to say the least) about the indicted congressman from Texas. Indeed, most articles, including this one in the Washington Post, describe Blunt as a DeLay protege. Blunt's close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of a massive Republican scandal, and to the Alexander Strategies Group, a lobbying firm formed by former DeLay staffers, are equally troubling. For a more detailed list of Blunt's "credentials", check out this research, courtesy of candidate John Hall.

The bottom line is that while Republicans like Kelly like to talk about reforming the way things work in DC, Sue's decision to support Blunt speaks loud and clear: when it comes to accepting big money from corporate lobbyists, Sue supports the status quo.

Friday, January 20, 2006



Those of us who have real jobs -- ones where we're required to put in some face time at the office -- know how good it feels when Friday finally rolls around. But Sue, who's currently wrapping up week four of her six-week recess has had lots of Fridays lately. And she still has another week and a half of Fridays left.

Sure, she's been floating around in the district. Two weeks ago, she journeyed to the City of Poughkeepsie, which last time we checked, wasn't even in her district. Last week, she made it to Warwick and just yesterday, she was in New Windsor talking up some piece of legislation that's likely to go nowhere fast, like most of her initiatives do.

But one event a week can hardly be described as a grueling schedule. So what else has she been doing with her time? Beats us! Republican leaders in the House set this long recess back in December because they were still hopeful that indicted former House leader/Sue's patron Tom DeLay would be able to resolve his legal woes by the end of January. Of course, it hasn't quite worked out that way. Yet, Sue's paid recess continues. She'll be back at work on January 31.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Economics 101...

Last week, Sue issued this perky little press release touting how well the economy was doing, simply because the national unemployment rate had dropped to 4.9%. Though Sue applauded the 8,700 new jobs created in New York in November, she ignored these statistics, which showed that both the state's unemployment rate and the number of unemployed people were up. The numbers in the Hudson Valley -- the region Sue claims to represent -- were equally grim.

But as anyone who's taken economics 101 knows, unemployment numbers aren't a particularly good measure of the economy, despite the fact that politicians like to tout them when they're good. Instead, let's look at something a bit closer to home: the November heating bill for one of our take19 members. Though the amount of gas this member used to heat their home was essentially the same in November 2004 as in November 2005, their gas bill was a shocking 74.4% higher. That's not a typo. Although this take19er has a job, their family's salary hasn't gone up 75% over the past year. Still think the unemployment rate is a good measure of the economy?

What is Sue doing about this assault on the personal economy of her constituents? Those middle-class families who are facing sharply higher heating bills? Nothing. Nadia. Zilch. But we suppose it could be worse. We could be poor, in which case we'd really be up a creek since Sue voted to freeze the federal Heating Assistance program that helps seniors and low-income people heat their homes.

Isn't it time for our elected Representative to do more than spout happy-talk about the economy?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


No need to worry: Sue's being mindful!

We suppose we shouldn't be surprised any longer by Sue's useless responses to various constituent letters. Indeed her letters always take the same tack: thanking the constituent for writing, giving some brief history of the issue, and closing with a few sentences that say absolutely nothing about what Sue's position is. In the following letter about wiretapping, Sue says she will be mindful of the constituent's concerns. We'll have to dust off our Thesaurus, but we're pretty sure a weaker adjective does not exist. Here's the letter:

January 9, 2006

Dear abc:

Thank you for contacting me, regarding recent reports about
intelligence-gathering activities by the National Security Agency
("NSA"). I appreciate your input on this serious matter.

The NSA was established by President Harry Truman in 1952, by
executive order, for the purpose of collecting and analyzing signal
intelligence related to our national security. As you know, it has been
reported that after the attacks of September 11, the NSA surveilled the
communications of some individuals within the United States.
President Bush has confirmed that he authorized such a program in
the aftermath of the attacks as a part of the government's efforts to
prevent additional attacks, and stated that a select, bipartisan group of
Congressional leaders were briefed about this program. President
Bush has also stated that all of the calls being monitored involved
individuals with known and confirmed Al Qaeda contacts, and that all
calls were initiated outside the United States to locations inside the

Protecting our country from terrorist attack must be a central focus of
the federal government's activities, but we must also ensure this
mission is carried out in a way that properly respects our privacy and
vital civil liberties. As Congress continues to closely examine these
reports and the activities of the NSA, please know that I will be
mindful of these critical imperatives.

Again, thank you for your concern in this matter and for taking the
time to contact my office. I look forward to hearing from you again
in the future.

Sue Kelly
Member of Congress

But what makes this letter all the more disturbing is this article in today's Times Herald Record. Rep. Maurice Hinchey is slightly more opinionated than Sue when it comes to NSA spying: "We have an administration which is trying to adopt a kind of imperial presidency ... and establish a kind of autocratic government," Hinchey said. "This executive branch thinks it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and we have got to stop it." Though the newspaper did get a comment for Sue, it was about as informative as her letters.

Isn't it time the people of the 19th had a Rep. who was capable of doing something more than being mindful?

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Multiple choice

We're still trying to figure out what to make of this story in today's Times that has Sue Kelly describing Eliot Spitzer as a thug. So here's a little multiple choice quiz:

A. Kelly is worried about Spitzer's name being at the top of the ticket in November
B. Kelly is simply following the Republican playbook to portray Spitzer as some sort of hothead, as evidenced by this string of stories
C. Sue's finally lost touch with reality
D. All of the above

Cast your vote here or by posting a comment to this post.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


How much longer do we have to wait for Sue to return DeLay's dirty money?

Now that one of Sue's biggest patrons, indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, has abandoned his hopes of returning to his leadership position amid an ever-growing scandal, it's time to ask this question once again: will Sue finally decide to return the more than $12,000 she's taken from his disgraced political action committee, ARMPAC?

Yesterday, even before DeLay resigned, Virginia Rep. Jo Ann Davis announced that she was donating the $10,000 she received from ARMPAC to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We're pretty sure they would readily accept the $12,020 that Sue has taken from DeLay and put it to good use.

While we realize that Sue has been very close to DeLay, particularly recently, and has even voted with him 90% of the time over the past 18 months, the number of questions involving ARMPAC continue to grow.

As constituents, it's embarrassing enough that Sue took this money in the first place, while claiming to be a moderate. It was embarrassing when Sue voted to weaken the ethics rules so that DeLay could keep his leadership post. But the gig's up so to speak. We've asked (nicely) three times now: how much longer do we have to wait?

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Sue's double-speak on college aid!

We've been amazed at all of the notes we've received from people across the district in response to our post earlier this week on Sue's votes to limit federal student loan aid to college students. What a shock: suburban voters are really concerned about how they're going to pay for their kid's college education(s). Indeed, one reader pointed us to this page on Sue's own website that proclaims her undying devotion to making college more affordable by introducing something last February called the "More Money for College Act". Sue's plan called for making the cost of college totally tax-deductible.

But staging press conferences and getting the local media to write about you -- even introducing legislation -- doesn't mean that much when that legislation (which we'll note is barely one page long) goes absolutely nowhere. It's been nearly a year since Sue introduced her plan and it's yet to move out of committee. Or attract a single co-sponsor. Indeed, we've seen cars on icy roads with more traction.

As the campaign heats up over the next few months, we assume that Sue will point to her "More Money for College" legislation as evidence that she's doing something to help worried parents. But the fact that she voted to cut over $12 billion from federal student loan programs should speak a lot louder than some legislation that's gone nowhere.

Monday, January 02, 2006


College student heading nowhere? Blame Sue!

The holidays may be over, but chances are your favorite college student is still hanging around at home because classes don't start back up for another week or two. Of course, if Sue Kelly has her way, your college-aged child may wind up sticking around quite a bit longer than either of you had anticipated.

That's because the $12.7 billion in student aid cuts that Sue voted for late last month before taking off on her six-week recess represent "the biggest cut in the history of the federal student loan program." That's not our opinion. That's what David Ward, who heads up the American Council on Education had to say about the cuts.

Indeed, Sue voted in favor of cutting student aid on at least three different occasions late last year. As NY Times columnist Bob Herbert noted in his column today (no link, subscription required), Republicans are trying to spin this as only impacting banks and other lenders, as opposed to students and their parents. But given that Sue had received over $140,000 from banking lobbyists through Oct. 31 (new numbers will be available in two weeks), it's hard to believe that she'd do anything to harm that cash cow.

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