You know, sometimes I've got to wonder. Given the opportunity, would Tom DeLay be tying young damsels to railroad tracks? Does the man care only for those who donate to his re-election war chest? Or is it that he just doesn't understand that politics is about more than money and self-aggrandizement?
Teachers wanted none of the punch and cookies U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's office staff offered them Monday, spread out on a table that welcomed educators challenging his position on Social Security benefits.
"We don't want cookies," the teachers responded with a chant. "Give us the dough."
About 300 public school employees from Houston, Fort Bend, Brazosport and other school districts rallied at DeLay's Stafford office, blaming the House majority leader for not bringing to a floor vote House Resolution Bill 594, the Social Security Fairness Act.
The Act, which has enough votes to pass in the House, would allow teachers and other government employees who have had other jobs to receive full Social Security benefits. DeLay has said the bill could bankrupt Social Security....
Teachers who pay into the Teacher Retirement System receive that pension fund upon retirement but do not receive full Social Security benefits even if they paid into it and are vested, Texas Federation of Teachers secretary-treasurer John O'Sullivan said at the rally. Spouses and children of teachers do not receive full Social Security benefits either, he said.
HR 594 would allow teachers and their families to receive full Social Security benefits upon retirement or disability in addition to the teacher pension.
The bill has 277 co-sponsors in the U.S. House, including 23 from Texas, with a majority needed to pass. DeLay has the power to prevent a vote, said John Cole, president of the Texas Federation of Teachers. Texas is one of 12 states that considers teachers public servants and requires them to live off their teacher pensions, even if they had other careers before or afterward, he said.
DeLay's office released a statement that said HR 594 would add more than $50 billion over the next 10 years to the Social Security program. He was not at the rally.
DeLay probably figured that teachers are valid targets, since everyone hates our public schools, right?
He may be supportive of teachers- he is, after all, married to a former teacher, but he certainly has a twisted way of spreading the love.
In a written statement released Monday, DeLay said, "As the husband of a former teacher, I am fully aware of the sacrifices teachers make on behalf of our children and our future."
Current law "allows Texas teachers, and all who pay into a government pension plan, to receive the same, if not better benefits than they would receive under Social Security alone," he wrote.
O'Sullivan said he knew that DeLay's wife, Christine, taught in Virginia. In addition, O'Sullivan said, the congressman will receive three sources of retirement from his salary of $166,700 as majority leader, not including his local pesticide business.
DeLay supposedly will receive Social Security benefits of about $1,660 minimum per month with an annual cost-of-living increase, a Federal Employees Retirement System with an annual retirement annuity of $56,678 plus a "Thrift Savings Plan" for members of Congress, which the government matches, O'Sullivan estimated.
If DeLay is so worried about balancing the budget, how about sharing some of the pain? Why is it that it is left to teachers to bear the burden? Of course, given that DeLay is your prototypical "I got mine, you get yours" Republican, it should hardly come as much of a surprise that he expects the sacrifices to be made by others.
Yes, Tom DeLay is the Congressman for my district. Every two years I'm left to wonder all over again how such an insensitive, self-righteous, self-serving troll manages to get re-elected. Sadly, the answer may lie in the fact that Democrats seem to have given up on fielding viable candidates to oppose him. That, and the fact that DeLay appeals to the self-interest of rich, white, self-absorbed voters in his district seems to ensure his continued rule over his fiefdom.
Yep, it's true. Voters really DO get exactly the quality of representation they deserve....