U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh -- often criticized by opponents for his frequent media appearances -- is calling Sen. Dick Durbin's plan to look into National Football League bounties "political grandstanding at its finest."
The debate comes in the wake of news that the New Orleans Saints -- coached by Naperville native Sean Payton -- took part in an illegal bounty program that allegedly paid players to injure their competitors. Democrat Durbin, the Senate's assistant majority leader, announced plans to set up judiciary committee hearings to look into the legality of placing "bounties" in professional football and other sports.
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Payton has been suspended for all of next season.
Walsh, a McHenry Republican running for re-election in the 8th District, said on Monday he's "not at all weighing in on bounty hunting and the NFL" -- but feels that lawmakers' attempt to get involved in the issue points to "why Congress' approval rating is so low." In a statement, he also called it a waste of taxpayers' dollars.
Durbin's office declined to comment.
In the midst of Supreme Court hearings on health care reform this week, Walsh said, "there are better things this committee should be doing."
"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 three years," Walsh said.
Walsh faces Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the November general election. Durbin was one of Duckworth's earliest supporters in her congressional bid.