In just the last few days, Congressman Bill Young of Florida, the longest serving Republican in the House of Representatives after twenty-two terms, passed away. And I certainly send my condolences to his family who I know will miss him. Loss of a loved one is never easy, even after a long and distinguished life and I hope no one takes my comments to follow the wrong way, but I have to call it the way I see it.
It was announced earlier today by the Speaker's office that the entire House of Representatives, all 435 members, would be flown by the United States Air Force to Tampa, Florida for Congressman Young's funeral. Really? We couldn't take care of our Afghan War casualties and dependents suffered dramatically from the way they were treated, but leave it to the Congress to spare no expense or leave no stone unturned when it comes to their own members. I find this both outrageous and offensive. The country is broke and the Congress continues to spend like drunken sailors for themselves. Why didn't they have a memorial service in Washington and then, for those who wanted to attend the funeral, they could travel on their own dime? Why do those we elect think they deserve to be treated like royalty when American citizens are treated like trash?
And remember, folks, when the government was closed the Senate made sure that Senator Lautenberg's widow received the customary $174,000 emergency gratuity even though the late Senator had a net worth in the neighborhood of $50 million. I don't begrudge them for this, although I think it is rather opulent in those circumstances, but at the same time gratuity payments for the families of dead service members were delayed. Had not a few individuals voiced outrage it would have never been corrected.
And you don't think our elected officials are treated much better than those who pay their salaries? Think again.
We Americans need to take the time to watch and evaluate what the President and Congress do with our money and reward or punish their performance in the voting booth. We must change America or we will disappear into the dustbin of what used to be. And remember, the little things, like the situation described above, when multiplied by the special pork and favors doled out by the establishment for playing "follow the leader" are killing us.
Let's wake up and watch the cash register, folks, and close the drawer.