If you Google Rep. Steve Pearce, you will find the following statement on his official website: "Due to inaction by the Democrat-controlled Senate, the Federal Government shut down on Monday, September 30, at midnight.... Congressman Pearce will continue to work through the shutdown without pay."
For the record, Rep. Pearce is a multi-millionaire whose $174,000 per year government salary is essentially non-essential. As would have been all of his fellow Congressmen had Rep. Pete Gallego's bill passed to designate Congressmen as non-essential federal employees.
How could that not pass?
Many, if not most Republican congressmen are millionaires. So far, there's no evidence that any of them are not cashing their paychecks. In fact, the continuation of their pay is guaranteed by the 27th Amendment.
There's been no talk of defunding that law.
As for Pearce blaming the shutdown on "Democratic inaction", that's just toeing the party line. Doesn't make him an A-hole. Doesn't make him not an A-hole, either.
Before we get to the disparagement portion of our piece, it's necessary to point out that Rep. Pearce is a decorated pilot and Vietnam War veteran with over 500 hours of combat flight to his credit. On behalf of a grateful nation, Rep. Pearce, thank you for your distinguished service.
That was then. Now Rep. Pearce owns stock in the company that bought his company in 2003, Lea Fishing Tools and is said to be worth $20-$40 Million. Not to be confused with fishing poles, Lea Fishing Tools provided rental equipment to oil companies. Not exactly BP (who has donated $1 Million to Pearce's campaigns) , but not a bait shop, either.
In fairness, let's not begrudge Pearce the fruits of his labors. His is a great American success story, albeit one with contacts in the Military-Industrial Complex not available to you and me.
What, then puts Congressman Steve Pearce on my list of Washington's biggest A-holes?
Representing not only the American dream, but one of the poorest congressional districts in America, Congressman Pearce posted the following on his Facebook page: "If you are a furloughed government employee, we encourage you to reach out to your financial institution as soon as you worry you may miss a paycheck. Financial Institutions often offer short-term loans and other resources. Don't wait until you are behind on a bill; call now and explore your options."
Why he capitalized "Institutions" and what "other resources" they may offer remains unclear. That post has since been deleted.
With the debt ceiling and another fiscal cliff hanging over our heads, the part about "not waiting until you are behind on a bill" is hilarious. Then again, so is blaming the shutdown on "inaction by the Democrat-controlled Senate".
The real question, though is where one can go to find a bank looking to make short-term loans to people living paycheck-to-paycheck. The people really in need of such a resource.
There are, however many other worthy contenders for the Biggest A-hole Award.
Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sarah Palin, on general principles, but also for their grandstanding at the WWII Memorial. As architects of the shutdown, they rang a glaringly false note berating the President for blocking access to the Memorial as they photo-op'ed their way through a group of WWII veterans visiting from Chicago.
Cruz is such an A-hole that the Houston Chronicle said that it regrets its endorsement of Cruz. Palin was too big an A-hole to finish out her term as Alaska's governor. Something about finding out that what she thought was Russia was just a sunken fishing boat.
Randy Neuberger (R-TX) made an ass of himself chastising a park ranger who was, at the time working for free because of Congressman Neuberger's participation in the shutdown.
Michele Bachman (R-MN) said in week 2 of the shutdown that her colleagues in the House were the happiest she's seen them in years. Then, again Bachman could fill all the spots in a "10 Stupidest Things Said By A Congressman" contest.
Many congressmen, including Bruce Braley (R-IA) have complained that there's no clean towels in the House gym because of the furloughs. They've requested that the gym and its employees be designated as essential.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said that he wouldn't give up his paycheck because he has a "nice house and a kid in college".
One of my favorites is the group of GOP Reps. that donned white coats and walked around the National Institutes of Health chastising Democrats for not funding care provided to children with cancer.
They don't believe in science, Global Warming, evolution or stem-cell research, but they like the white coats.
It's a tough field this year and Rep. Pearce's Facebook posting may not be enough to garner him the Biggest A-hole Award. If we had more of those "other resources", we might be able to dig into his affairs and gather some supporting criteria.
In the mean time, we'll have to amuse ourselves considering all the other worthwhile candidates.
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