Representative Steve Kagen (D) made some headlines this week with legislation he introduced to require BP to set aside $25 billion to pay for costs related to the oil spill.
Apparently, President Obama didn't get the memo that Kagen was going to use the tragedy in the Gulf in order to garner some free press. While Kagen was busy gathering 40 (!) co-sponsors for his bill, the President announced an agreement with BP to set aside $20 billion to address claims. A feat accomplished without the enactment of legislation.
Since this is the dairy state, I'm tempted to say that Kagen closed the barn door after cow got out, but he hasn't even closed the door yet.
So the question is why a congressman who represents a district on the opposite end of the country from the area affected by the spill would feel the need to take a leading role in making sure claims are paid by BP. Does he really think there is no problem that another act of congress can't fix? Did he see this as an opportunity to get his name in the news without meeting face to face with his constituents, something he seems to be reluctant to do of late?
Certainly as a member of congress and a congressional committee, Kagen has a responsibility to perform his duties, but his role as a champion of this cause is baffling to say the least. Baffling, and likely not going to have any noticeable results. Today's agreement with BP would, it seems to me, render this particular legislation superfluous.
With more action like this, it's Kagen himself that the voters will find superfluous.