I’m Alan Grayson, and I represent Florida’s 9th Congressional District. Ask Me Anything.

Some of you may know me from my September 2009 speech on health care reform. I explained that the Republican health care plan amounted to, "Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.” What you may not know is that Aaron Swartz was an intern in my office, and someone whom I admired. I spoke at his memorial, and am glad to have a chance to share thoughts with the community he co-founded.

Yesterday, President Obama released a budget that included the chained CPI, which cuts the cost-of-living adjustment for seniors on Social Security. I have said this many times before, but I will say it again now: I will not support any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Over the past month, more than two million of you have signed on to our No Cuts petition, saying the same thing. As of today, over 30 Members of Congress have co-signed our letter to President Obama pledging to vote against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.

Right now, I am stepping into a House Democratic Caucus meeting on chained CPI cuts. When I return at 4PM, I look forward to answering your questions.


I just returned from my meeting. I will now begin answering your questions.

UPDATE: Well, we ALMOST answered all the questions -- a half-hour of "overtime" helped. But now I need to go. Thank you for giving me lots of things to think about. I had a great time, here -- which means that I look forward to doing it again.

Comments: 326 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

kr133332 karma

What the hell is wrong with Barack Obama? Up here in Chicago we've known him for a long time - my wife first met him in 1996 and was impressed with his intelligence and passion for liberal causes. He came to our neighbor's house in 2004 for the Senate primary, when hardly anybody knew who he was. We've been supporters for a long, long time, but whoever that is in the White House is not the Barack Obama we knew in the Illinois Legislature or as a Senator. Sure, he's got to compromise somewhat to get things done. But reducing Social Security benefits on his own initiative? Ignoring Bush administration war crimes? Not bothering to prosecute one bank executive for fraud? Throwing whistleblowers in jail while expanding "state secrets"? Getting rolled constantly by the Republicans? Insisting he has the right to kill Americans anywhere at any time just on his say so?

What happened to this guy, and why can't any of you Democrats in Congress get him to see people are tired of him talking like a liberal but acting like a Bush Republican?

RepAlanGrayson63 karma

One could say that he hasn't decided yet what he wants to be when he grows up.

TheGuyEveryoneHates21 karma

Can anything be fixed as long as we're stuck in a two party system where both sides pretty much know that they've got their constituency by the balls? No matter what the Democrats do to piss me off, at the end of the day, I'll put up with their shit because it's better than letting the Republicans take power. I'm sure there are right-wingers with the exact opposite predicament. How can this problem be addressed, if at all?

RepAlanGrayson45 karma

First, there is no moral equivalence between the parties. The Republicans in Washington are callous, bigoted tools; most Democrats try to serve the common good. That's my observation, and I see it up close. More generally, there have been times in American history when one party stopped serving the common good, and it simply disappeared. If we can sharpen the differences between the parties, then the Republicans are very much in danger of that, despite their dirty money, voter suppression and gerrymandering. In any case, if some Democrats piss you off, then replace them with ones who don't.

TheGuyEveryoneHates13 karma

I am not saying there is moral equivalency. If there was, there would be no problem with people like me simply rejecting both sides. Instead, both parties are bad (in my opinion) but one is so clearly worse that I'm forced to choose the "lesser of two evils." I don't see how you can say that Democrats are largely working for the people when they voted to take us into Iraq (granted, that was a while ago), tried to ram SOPA down out throats, didn't oppose Obama on the indefinite detection provisions of NDAA 2012, didn't stand with Rand Paul against the use of drones (which was the perfect opportunity for some of that bipartisanship I've heard so much about), haven't held Obama's feet to the fire on Gitmo, haven't taken Obama to task for being soft on Wall St., etc.

RepAlanGrayson18 karma

It's actually worse than that. The real danger is that the choice will become meaningless, like choosing between paper and plastic at the supermarket.

4ourfeathers17 karma

Would you ever consider doing "Better Know a District" with Stephen Colbert?

RepAlanGrayson30 karma

I represent Disney World. Too easy for him, don't you think?

banditelli15 karma

Do non progressive democrats in congress realize how even SUGGESTING cutting social security harms their chances or re-election?

RepAlanGrayson26 karma

Only the ones who are awake.

CheesewithWhine15 karma

Hi, welcome to reddit.

I read multiple reports that representatives spend 4, 5 hours a day on the phone calling donors for money, leaving little time to attend hearing, study bills, and talk with constituents, not to mention the huge influence that money donors have on politics. What can realistically be done to get the influence of money out of politics?

RepAlanGrayson24 karma

Public funding of elections (which some states already have), reversal of the Citizens United decision (which four justices have said that they favor), and a citizen movement to vote against any candidate who takes PAC money or accepts support from so-called "independent expenditures."

shimmerisle14 karma

Recently I found out that 20-somethings are going to have a lower standard of living than their parents' generation because of debt and unemployment. How do you suggest we fix this? Is our government acting in our best interest or more concerned with personal party politics?

RepAlanGrayson27 karma

We must-must-must remedy inequality in America. That's the only way to ensure that living standards rise with productivity again.

PrinceHarming14 karma

How much do your constituents' opinions, letters, change a Congressman's mind? If you receive overwhelming support for a bill that goes against your personal views, how do you vote?

RepAlanGrayson13 karma

Constituent communications (including personal contact) inform me, but I feel completely in sync with public opinion in my district. I have never seen overwhelming support in my district for a bill that goes against my personal views, and it's quite possible that I never will.

Defualt12 karma

Cannabis/Marijuana. Recreational, Medical, Industrial. Why not? How can we make this happen? Will you be a leader on this issue? Do you know why this is such an important issue?

RepAlanGrayson23 karma

I don't think that a uniform rule (much less a prohibition with stiff criminal penalties) throughout the country is necessary. I believe that the states can make those decisions on their own. Obviously, two states just did.

Jeffersonturningover12 karma

Can we remove the cap on social security and increase the amount that is taxed for social security? The current system subsidizes higher income earners at the expense of lower income earners. This tax is regressive, the opposite of its intent.

RepAlanGrayson16 karma

The answer is "yes." When elected Democrats discuss how to pay for Social Security benefits in full beyond 2037, this is the most common suggestion.

Marchie11 karma

Any tips/advice for a teenager who's interested in politics and may want to get involved in the political system one day?

RepAlanGrayson30 karma

Pick an office that you can win, just by knocking on enough doors. (Like city councilman or school board member, in many places.) You'd be surprised how few people ever bother to do that. That puts you on the "conveyor belt" to higher office.

Marchie5 karma

Thank you for replying!

RepAlanGrayson12 karma

My pleasure. Thanks for caring, and wanting to be involved.

benjithompson9 karma

Would you be willing to entertain cuts to military spending or foreign aid in order to shore up entitlements? I am a constituent of your district.

RepAlanGrayson14 karma

Yes, but there is no need to do that "in order to shore up entitlements." The Social Security trust fund has $2,000,000,000,000 in the bank. That's even more than I've got. Isn't that enough?

Under current law, the Social Security system can pay out every single dollar of every single benefit to every single beneficiary for at least the next 20 years. Don't we have more pressing problems than to mess around with that?

EpicurusTheGreek8 karma

As a Canadian using the single payer system I have to say I do admire the fact you are looking to provide better healthcare. However, I am not very fond of our own single payer system. Do you see America going down that road, or is your ideal system something else? If so, what?

RepAlanGrayson13 karma

My "bottom line" is simple: I want every American who is sick to be able to see a doctor, and get the medical care that he or she needs. That would be a dramatic improvement over what we have now. That's what I want to see, regardless of how we get there.

Dom_the_Wop8 karma

Mr. Grayson, hello from just North of New Port Richey, FL, in your 9th district.

First, let me say how proud I am to have someone with your character representing us in the House. When people talk about an "honest politician," your name consistently comes up with others such as Joseph Lieberman (from my birth-state of Connecticut). Your decision to leave a lucrative and successful career in the private sector and enter public service is an inspiration.

My question focuses on your struggle to impose fiduciary responsibility on Washington, holding policymakers accountable for decisions that act against the interests of the people. Sir, how do you scale your efforts beyond the few such as yourself and Jim Himes? It seems, from a citizen's perspective, that the representatives who want to do right are few and far between, fighting a losing battle against an entrenched oligarchy.

As a follow-up, what is one thing you wish the average citizen would do or become educated about, in order to begin to heal the country from years of failed policies and self-serving decisions?

RepAlanGrayson20 karma

Hi, everybody. Regarding how one holds elected officials accountable, the answer is "elections." Despite the influence of dirty money, I still believe that democracy is viable, and it's the best way to throw the bums out.

The most important thing to be educated about is the distribution of wealth and income in America. Inequality is at an all-time high. That's the underlying cause of so many problems. Legislation is often just a bandaid over that wound.

Dom_the_Wop2 karma

Thank you for your reply. I feel that without serious campaign finance reform, "dirty money" can (and often does) steal an election. Until enough people are outraged by that, there isn't enough critical mass to change the system. This contributes heavily to, and amplifies exponentially, the inequality that exists.

Your own experience with the electorate illustrates exactly how the election process often fails to be an accurate representation of the will of the people. Politically-savvy voters in this area love you, but the marketing machine convinces the other segment of the population.

RepAlanGrayson4 karma

Well, lucky for us, the "other segment" is on the run.

Megatron_McLargeHuge8 karma

The recent disclosures about offshore tax havens haven't gotten as much attention in the US as they have in Europe. Why do you think Congress is reluctant to tackle this issue, and are you willing to be a champion for reform? If you want to find revenue sources to offset rising benefit costs, going after tax cheats seems like a reasonable place to start.

RepAlanGrayson6 karma

There is a general perception, right or wrong, that the expertise on this issue resides in the IRS, and the Administration has not taken the lead on this.

J0A7 karma

Who picks out your ties?

RepAlanGrayson33 karma

Clearly, someone with no fashion sense whatever, and poor vision to boot. But a true patriot.

sandman7307 karma

TNG or DS9?

RepAlanGrayson33 karma

BSG. I not only watched every episode, but also listened to RDM's commentary. So now that's out there.

xicehawk7 karma

You're one of the few democrats I trust. Do you believe it is possible for progressives to build a new progressive party that can compete with the traditional two party system?

RepAlanGrayson15 karma

I don't think that that's necessary. All that is necessary is that progressives discipline elected Democrats the way that the Tea Party disciplines elected Republicans.

banditelli1 karma

And how do we fund it?

RepAlanGrayson13 karma

Well, we have 100,000 people who have contributed to us at CongressmanWithGuts.com, and we raised more money than any Democrat in a competitive race other than Rep. Berman (who represented Hollywood). That's the new paradigm.

taleofthetub6 karma

As a minority member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, how have you not...I don't know, punched someone in the face? Fallen on the floor in unstoppable laughter? Pulled all of your hair out? When many of your Republican counter parts think "Intelligent Design" is actual science? Or that the liberal agenda of pushing Global Warming is actually the literal work of the devil?

RepAlanGrayson10 karma

We're working on that. Stay tuned.

soldatdeculture6 karma

Is there any hope of getting needed, massive infrastructure investments? I realize the fight for the ARIA was tough, hence hope...

RepAlanGrayson15 karma

Sure. If we defeat enough Republicans in the next election, then we will see massive, much-needed infrastructure investments. The Democrats certainly support that.

EddyIsReady5 karma

What is an average day of a congressman?

RepAlanGrayson6 karma

Well, it would take me all day to answer that question. However, Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post did a very interesting article about that subject around a month ago, discussed how much time is expended (i.e., wasted) on fundraising. Professor Lessig wrote a book on the same subject. As for me, since we have 100,000 contributors at CongressmanWithGuts.com, I can concentrate on stuff like legislating.

luxliquidus5 karma

Rep. Grayson,

I currently work in Hillsborough County, and I have lived there in the past (and voted for you!) and will soon live there again. In short, I think you've done well so far.

However, I naturally distrust members of Congress, as do many Americans. There are too many that cave to corporate interests in order to get campaign contributions (and to ensure they get to be fat cat lobbyists when they retire). I'd like to think you are not one of these, but I'd like some guarantee from you.

I want you to take this pledge, to not become a lobbyist when you retire, so we can know that you are one of the few politicians who can be trusted -- one of the few that have our interests at heart rather than your own economic goals.

Will you do this?

If not, why?

RepAlanGrayson14 karma

Seriously, you don't need to worry about that. I don't often talk about this, but Politico identified me at the sixth richest Member of the House. Why would I waste my time doing lobbying?

sideburnsy5 karma

Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA Rep. Grayson. I know you have only been representing your district a short time, however you've always been a loud voice inside the Democratic party, so if you had the opportunity would you ever aspire to a higher political position?

RepAlanGrayson9 karma

Sure. Anything's possible. But the first half-century of my life was over before I was ever elected to anything, so maybe in 2058?

monkyboy745 karma

When talking about economic issues, I often feel like politicians "dumb stuff down" in order to ensure that everyone "gets it." For instance, in spite of all the times I've heard high gas prices attributed to the president (both Bush and Obama), where higher gas prices are in fact caused by a higher worldwide demand. This, as well as the solvency of Social Security, seems to be simple economic concepts that a 10 year old could grasp. That being said, why do our politicians constantly "dumb" things down for the public? Edit: syntax

RepAlanGrayson16 karma

Actually, it's too often the opposite. Take the "chained CPI"; no one has dumbed that down enough yet, because if they did, then no one would want to support it. ("If the price of milk doubles, we won't count that as a 100% increase in the cost of living, because some mothers will start to feed their children Kool-Aid instead of milk.") The example you give is not so much "dumbing down," but rather "the blame game," something which really is pervasive in our political system.

bitter_twin_farmer5 karma

What do you think about the Time article on the current state of healthcare? Are the cookies really that burnt so to speak, and what are the chances we can actually do something about it?

RepAlanGrayson10 karma

I actually have printed out that article, and I have been carrying it around with me, looking for time to read it. I understand that this is hopelessly old-fashioned of me, but I think that I will refrain from commenting on it until I know what it says.

mal_function4 karma

In your opinion, what is the best and worst part about being involved in politics?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

The best part is all the good that you can do for people. The worst part is the sellouts.

joewo4 karma

First off this AMA was posted on Alan Grayson's official Facebook page so the thought it is bogus as stated previously....seems to be bogus.

I really appreciate your being so available to Progressive radio hosts. I wish the Sunday news shows would have more Progressive guests as opposed to being so heavily laden with Republicans. And when those Progressives are on TV I wish they would be as pointed as Republicans are. Could there be a class for these Progressives to help them with messaging? Your messaging is pretty direct and I just wish the message of Progressives would be getting out more effectively. I can win arguments with my Conservative friends all the time but the elected officials seemingly cannot come up with a pointed argument to save their life let alone win an argument as to why we need to help people that Republicans want to throw under the bus.

thank you....

RepAlanGrayson8 karma

I am accused of a lot of things, but being bogus is not one of them.

You want a messaging class for Progressives? Then check out our YouTube channel at RepAlanGrayson. That's a messaging class for Progressives. Seriously, I am merely one of 201 Democrats in the House of Representatives, and you can lead a horse to water . . . .

cblood4 karma

Can you explain to me the motivation behind budget cuts to programs like NIH and NSF? Don't technological progress and research into basic science drive innovation and lay the foundation for developing next-generation therapies for improving people's lives so much more?

I understand that there are bloated programs and studies that aren't well conducted but it is often the case that putting science at the mercy of money results in bad science.

RepAlanGrayson8 karma

The motivation is stupidity. The NIH produces roughly ten dollars in tangible economic benefits for every dollar it spends. Blind anti-government hatred is throwing our future in the trash.

AllyKlimkoski4 karma

Behind closed doors are there more democrats that aren't part of the Progressive Caucus that are drawing a hard against SS Cuts line but not willing to say it publicly?

RepAlanGrayson3 karma

It varies. Now that the President has proposed such benefit cuts, however, I think that you will (ironically) see more who will draw a hard line against Social Security cuts, for their own political preservation.

rovert_sivad4 karma

What is your stance on federal spending creating more jobs? Do you think it's a joint effort and priority between businesses and the government?

RepAlanGrayson13 karma

The responsibility of every national government is to ensure that aggregate demand equals aggregate supply, so that there is full employment. John Maynard Keynes pointed this out 75 years ago. Federal spending is one way, but not the only way, for our government to accomplish that. Private, profit-making businesses have no means to accomplish that on their own. Their purpose is to make a profit, not to match aggregate supply and demand.

ServerGeek4 karma

Due to a brain aneurism, somebody very close to me is disabled and on social security disability benefits because she can no longer work. What will these new budget cuts do to her? What should I expect going forward?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

The sequester budget cuts do not have any direct effect on Social Security disability benefits. The President's "chained CPI" budget proposal would cut those benefits, and those cuts get larger and larger over time.

ServerGeek2 karma

Thank you for the response. Good luck to you.

RepAlanGrayson2 karma


CheesewithWhine4 karma

Liz Fowler, top Obama healthcare aid and former staffer to Sen. Max Baucus, who had enormous influence in drafting Obamacare, now lobbies for Johnson and Johnson.

How can you best fix the problem of legislators and federal regulators working for special interest groups before and after they are in office?

RepAlanGrayson6 karma

That's a good question. The Bush Administration essentially was populated by lobbyists, as the McCain and Romney campaigns were. I'm very unhappy with the "revolving door," but there is essentially no effort to end it, even among Democrats, who should know better.

LitAFartOnce4 karma

How can you oppose the wars of America, but support an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip that would kills hundreds of innocents, throwing in the fact that you are Jewish amid all of it? That seems like a typical double-standard mentality of a politician.

RepAlanGrayson-2 karma

Well, say what you want, at least my handle is not "Lit A Fart Once."

blastoise_mon3 karma

In your opinion, should Congressmen on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology have some sort of background in the sciences so that they can have a more innate understanding of their legislation?

RepAlanGrayson8 karma

A Member of Congress having an innate understanding of legislation? Surely you jest.

To be honest, several of the members would be more at home on the Committee on Religion. And for sure, putting them on the Intelligence Committee would be a real oxymoron.

GAOinLV3 karma

Can the chained CPI be stopped or is it a done deal at this point? Do you get the sense that the President has any idea how betrayed his supporters feel by this proposal?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

It can be stopped. The President does not know yet, but he will in a week or so, when he sees how much his polling figures drop.

LeslieNeidig3 karma

The GOP vilifies women, LGBTQ, and minorities which lost them the election. Instead of learning for their loss, they continue to push legislation that attacks these groups. I am wondering if the GOP are using women, LGBTQ, and minorities as a distraction? What are they really up to?

RepAlanGrayson9 karma

They are using them as scapegoats, and they are bigots. They hate it when I say that, but it's true. Basically, their whole pitch is "brown people are going to steal your stuff." If you don't believe me, then listen to Rush Limbaugh some time.

Frajer3 karma

How do we get more people to value health insurance?

RepAlanGrayson7 karma

I'm not sure that I understand the question. Polls show that 90% of the people who don't have health insurance say that they don't have health insurance because they can't afford it.

SwimmingNaked3 karma

This is not a statement about you, however, why the heck has US politics gone completely insane in the last 20 years?

It used to be that we could see that representatives might be self-serving but at least they appears relatively intelligent. Nowadays, it's like they've abandoned intelligence in favor of "dumbing down" the message, to the detriment of sanity and actually getting anything done.

RepAlanGrayson20 karma

FoxNewsFoxNewsFoxNews. Or as I have called it, "Monty Python's Lying Circus." The problem is not the "dumbing down," it's the lies.

SwimmingNaked2 karma

I'm guessing Fox News came here to downvote you.

RepAlanGrayson7 karma

It wouldn't be the first time. They staked out my office once, and had some dweeb follow me down the hall.

Lovesbrownies2 karma

I don't have any questions. I just wanted to say thank you for everything you've done!

RepAlanGrayson1 karma

And I just want to say thank you for not wearing out my typing fingers. Further.

Starwarskater2 karma

Hello Rep. Grayson: I interned on your campaign last year and I am super excited that you are back in Congress! I have two questions for you, First) What are our feelings on the impact of the sequester and do you believe there will be a bargain reached any time soon? Secondly) What are your feelings about the Republican sponsored HJR 494 in North Carolina, attempting to establish an official state religion?

RepAlanGrayson11 karma

(1) The sequester substantially undermines aggregate demand, and could easily cause a new recession. Even the Federal Reserve recognizes that. But there will be no "bargain" to end it, because a weak economy forces wages down, and that is precisely what the Republicans want.

(2) They should stick to official state birds.

RschDev2 karma

What's your prediction for the Governor's race in Florida?

RepAlanGrayson4 karma

Anybody But Scott. Rick Scott has united Florida -- against him.

MrRoyalScotsman2 karma

Thank you Congressman for doing the AMA,

My question is about the future of the Democratic party: Who do you see as being the favorite for the presidential bid for the next election?

RepAlanGrayson18 karma

The current polls show that the largest number of Democrats favor Hillary Clinton, followed by Joe Biden. That might change, of course. The "Grayson For President" campaign draws overwhelming support among my five children. (My wife is pleased that my current job gets me out of the house.)

B32DB081702 karma

What do you think about the opinion that the age of retirement being below the average age of death is a large financial burden? Also, what do you think diseases among seniors related to obesity that are treatable or preventable by reduced lethargy or dietary changes?

For more context behind the predicament here's this video.


RepAlanGrayson13 karma

Actually, the real problem is that the rich in this country live nine years longer, on the average, than the poor. (As if being poor isn't bad enough, by itself.) By talking about "the average age of death," one disregards the huge differences that you find when you disaggregate those data.

It is true that obesity causes many medical problems, but there is some scientific dispute about what is causing obesity. "Lethargy" may be blaming the victim.

SilentStream2 karma

Thank you, Rep. Grayson, for taking the time to do an AMA.

I read your petition and the following bit was interesting: "We also know that there are common-sense reforms that would reduce health-care costs and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars without cutting benefits."

Can you tell me what those common-sense reforms are?

RepAlanGrayson3 karma

Reducing the overhead in the Medicare Advantage program, when such overhead results in no benefits actually provided to recipients. Paying providers for health, not procedures. Preventative care. Increasing competition among providers, especially hospitals. Etc.

smashpredators2 karma

How do we get money out of politics? How can citizens reclaim our democracy from our elites?

RepAlanGrayson3 karma

My tired fingers respectfully request that you look at my answers to these questions above.

RschDev2 karma

First off, thanks for being awesome and for being willing to serve. You give me hope for my state and my country.

RepAlanGrayson3 karma

All I do is just say what other people are thinking, but no one else is saying. Why is no one else saying it? That is a very interesting question.

ctseaman2 karma

What surprised you the most when you first started out in Congress??

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

How easy it was to talk to other Members, and to get to know them as human beings. How far removed from reality most media reports are, even (or especially) in the so-called "mainstream media." How easy it was to make a difference right away, just by paying attention and working hard.

malisam2 karma

How do you think this is going to effect the elections for next year for the Dems? Do you think this will have a backlash from the Republicans how the Dems are trying to hurt older citizens?

RepAlanGrayson4 karma

It has already started. The Republicans were on their way to committing mass suicide through the Ryan Budget, and now they are going to try to put the Democrats on the defensive.

A_Twilight_Zone2 karma

How likely do you see the legalization of medical marijuana implemented in our state? With a growing support for medical marijuana after Colorado and Washington's both passed bills for it in the last election, I think there will be a tipping point where the majority of Floridians will support it. How far away are we from this tipping point?

RepAlanGrayson7 karma

As I said above, it will take a ballot initiative, or overthrow of the Tallahassee Mafia.

banditelli2 karma

Can you please post a picture of yourself with a cat?

RepAlanGrayson15 karma


greenjello72 karma

Hi sir: First you have my utmost support, although I live in Brevard (which is not your district). I maded phone calls for you because I think you hold Washington accountable, and someone has to have some sanity there. My question would be:What sort of action can we undertake to legalize medical Marijuana in the state of Fla? And also thanks for standing up to the cuts against "entitlements".

RepAlanGrayson4 karma

We would have to see a ballot initiative on that in Florida. There is zero chance that the Republicans in Tallahassee would vote for it.

115MRD2 karma

What do you think is the most important issue facing America that gets too little attention from the mainstream press?

RepAlanGrayson18 karma


Skanky_Wanker2 karma


RepAlanGrayson5 karma

I am aware of both sides of the argument. In particular, I am aware of all of the missiles that have been launched against Israeli civilians. Neither side should disregard the grievances of the other.

SonOfKrampus1 karma

A two-year term for members of congress was probably a great idea back in 1790 but today these short terms seem to be doing more harm than good. Members of congress can never stop running or raising money. Do you think congress would be more effective if representatives served four-year terms? Also, do you support term limits?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

Yes. No.

smallhandFF1 karma

is there a philosophical divide between Obama & the democratic party? Should Obama be asked to resign?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

Most Democrats whom I know would place Obama on the right side, not the left side, of the political spectrum within the party. That, in itself, is not grounds for asking for his resignation.

SKC961 karma

The true cost of chained cpi is seriously underestimated.

Senior's pay 0.27% more (CPI-E) than standard CPI estimates.

If COLA is adjusted down 0.30% then the difference becomes 0.57%.


Also, the more seniors use cheaper alternatives, then the resulting lower CPI calculations will make it worse as the standard of living and COLA adjustments spiral downward. Are you aware of these issues? If you agree will you address these issues in further discussions with colleagues?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

It's an average cut of $28,000 in benefits for each recipient. I think that's clear enough.

DibbyStein1 karma

What interests does President Obama represent?

RepAlanGrayson2 karma

You should ask him.

wishfulthinkn1 karma

Mr. Grayson. Since social security and Medicare are funded by the employees and employer, why should the federal government be able to have so much oversight? Why are these funds not administered on their own. Can't the two funds be separated out away from the federal budget process?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

They are administered on their own, and they are separated from the federal budget process. That's how it comes to be that Social Security has $2,000,000,000,000 in the bank. The Republicans are exploiting and abusing the budget process in order to promote cuts in Social Security and Medicare, when they are separate.

mr0bunghole1 karma

I live in your district, Congressman (New Port Richey). Why do I get so much stuff sent to me from Bilirakis and I haven't even heard of your name before?

Do you think longer terms and term limits (say, one term) would fix the do-nothingness of Congress? It seems that members of Congress only act for reeection purposes, so I think if reelection was removed from the equation we would not see all the lobbyists threatening primary battles.

Also, in the day and age of communications that we live, do you think representative even have to travel to Washington to get stuff done? I don't see why representative don't just stay in their districts full time and use the electronic communications available to us to conduct their business. Why do I propose this? I think if we can get all the representatives back into their home districts then it will be a lot harder for lobbyists to control them.

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

Sadly, New Port Richey is not in my district, although I would love to be your Congressman. (The district numbers changed last year; that may be why you didn't know.)

Term limits would not fix the do-nothingness of Congress. The Republicans, who are anti-government, use do-nothingness as an anti-government strategy. You may recall that when the Democrats were in charge of the House, the last thing that anyone would say about us was "do nothing."

Remote voting is a much more complicated issue than it seems. It actually might make it easier for lobbyists to control members, since there would be far fewer face-to-face conversations among members. That being said, it will be interesting to see what happens when state legislatures start to experiment with it.

CheesewithWhine0 karma

In your opinion, does Barack Obama honestly believe and invest in progressive priorities such as investments into infrastructure, entitlements, climate change, progressive taxation, holding banks accountable? Or is he playing Good Cop Bad Cop with the Republicans?

RepAlanGrayson6 karma

Infrastructure, yes. Entitlements, not really, at least judging by his budget. Climate change, progressive taxation, holding banks accountable, no.

catmoon0 karma

Glad to see you back at it! What do you see as the top issues for your district that wouldn't normally get national attention?

RepAlanGrayson5 karma

Foreclosures. Home ownership. The minimum wage, especially for tipped employees. Equal treatment of community collleges in federal programs. Immigration reform. Bilingual education. Etc.

Tend_to_agree-1 karma

How did you get into your current line of work?

What is the main driving force in your life?

RepAlanGrayson8 karma

I prosecuted war profiteers in Iraq. I was the only lawyer to bring such a case before a jury. I ran as an antiwar candidate. I feel the same way about the war in Afghanistan.

On the second point, see Deuteronomy 16:20.

JudasOpus-1 karma

How can the average Jo(sephine) help change the current trajectory of the government beyond voting? It seems to me that our elected officials are more vested in corporatism than democracy, with the exception of a handful like yourself. The economic collapse of 2007 only exacerbated income equality by rewarding the perpetrators, imo.

RepAlanGrayson7 karma

Run for office. (It's easier than it looks.) Make telephone calls to help candidates who you support. Forward interesting political information to friends and neighbors. Join and support organizations like the PCCC, Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America and MoveOn.org. And for sure, please contribute to our campaign at CongressmanWithGuts.com. (We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.)