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Walsh: NFL's Problems Not a National Priority

Republican congressman says inquiry into bounties in professional sports is a waste of taxpayer money

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Walsh: NFL's Problems Not a National Priority

AP

In this Nov. 17, 2010 file photo, then-Rep.-elect Joe Walsh, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Rep. Joe Walsh is none too pleased about Sen. Dick Durbin's move to hold hearings on bounties in professional sports, calling it "political grandstanding at its worst."

In a statement carrying the headline "get serious," Walsh said the hearings would be a waste of taxpayer money on a "nonissue."

"It is shocking that Senator Durbin wants the Judiciary Committee to focus on professional sports and athletes worth millions of dollars while American families are still struggling to put food on the table," said Walsh, a Tea Party favorite representing Illinois' 8th Congressional District.

Durbin, the assistant Senate majority leader, said Thursday he wants to examine whether federal law should make such bounty systems a crime. New Orleans Saints players recently made news for receiving extra cash for hits that hurt particular opponents.

In the wake of the scandal, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton without pay for next season and indefinitely banned the team's former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

But Walsh doesn't think the NFL's problems should be a national priority, pointing instead to the Senate's own failure to pass a budget and the absence of any hearings looking into Operation Fast and Furious and the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry. Walsh last fall called for Attorney General Eric Holder's resignation over his handling of the Operation.

"Senator Durbin, just a quick reminder: we are $15.6 trillion in debt, the cost of Obama’s Health Care plan has been doubled and is now projected to cost taxpayers $1.76 trillion, and the unemployment is still more than 8 percent after 3 years. Senator Durbin, it is time to get serious," said Walsh.

The Congressional Budget Office, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and USDebtClock.org back up the statistics Walsh cited.

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