Unemployment in Michigan continues to rise month by month and many in Congress are going out of their way to protect millionaires over workers – but Michiganders were granted a unique opportunity when two of our lawmakers in Washington were appointed to the debt reduction super committee. However it has quickly become evident that the priorities of Rep. Dave Camp and Rep. Fred Upton are not with their constituents.
On Sept. 1, Nurses from the Michigan Nurses Association asked Rep. Camp to support the Main Street Contract for the American People. The seven principles behind the Main Street Contract are jobs at living wages; guaranteed health care for all; a secure retirement, with the ability to retire in dignity; equal access to a quality education; good housing and protection from hunger; and a just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. A small tax on Wall Street transactions would fund investments in these priorities.
Rep. Camp has given no indication as to why he refuses to support these common-sense reforms to rebuild America and invest in Main Street, but it certainly comes as no surprise given his history in Congress. The facts speak for themselves:
- Rep. Camp has voted in multiple sessions of Congress to cut Medicare significantly, which roughly 125,000 of his constituents rely on for treatment and medication.
- Rep. Camp voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” Act this year, citing the need to get government spending under control, but he voted for the $25 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008.
- The night before the first super committee hearing, Pfizer hosted a fundraiser for him – continuing his pattern of lining his campaign coffers with more than $4 million in donations from the financial, insurance, health and real estate industries that have benefited directly from his votes for years.
- Rep. Camp has not held a town hall in his own district for months, although he had time over the summer to meet with constituents in Utah. Sen. Orrin Hatch hosted an economic forum at Utah Valley University on August 31 that Rep. Camp found time to attend.
- Worried about his support for cuts to Medicaid, 54 constituents and disability rights advocates in wheelchairs visited his office on September 19, and were promptly handcuffed, arrested, and forcibly removed from the building.
- At a time when corporations are sitting on billions in cash and using political donations to purchase large tax breaks, Rep. Camp supports decreasing the federal maximum tax rate for corporations by 10 percent.
- Rep. Camp is worth about $6.75 million – meanwhile life for his constituents gets harder and harder. In Michigan’s 4th District, nearly 80,000 people live without health insurance, 25 percent of families deal with hunger daily, and about 20 percent of residents live in poverty. Michigan’s unemployment rate has increased four months in a row and now sits at 11.2 percent.
This morning, nurses from the Michigan Nurses Association are holding a rally in the rain at Rep. Camp’s office in Midland to demand that he give his own constituents the same courtesy he gave citizens in Utah and hold a town hall meeting in his district. If Rep. Camp refuses to put Main Street before Wall Street, he owes his constituents an explanation.