(CNN) - Even freshman congressmen sometimes get the blues. Republican Rep. Sean Duffy told a constituent, "I struggle to meet my bills right now," at a town hall meeting in Amery, Wisconsin last week.
And when the questioner challenged his claim on the basis that Duffy makes "three times" his own salary, the congressman responded, "I guarantee most of you, I have more debt than all of you. With six kids, I still pay off my student loans. I still pay my mortgage. I drive a used minivan. If you think I'm living high off the hog, I've got one paycheck. So I struggle to meet my bills right now."
The exploration of Duffy's personal finances began as an explanation when a constituent asked the first-term congressman how much congressmen and senators make and whether he'd vote to cut his own salary in an effort to reduce the deficit.
Duffy initially danced around the question by recalling his time on the campaign trail in a video posted on ThinkProgress.org, the blog linked to liberal think tank Center for American Progress. He asserted that he went "roughly seven months with six kids and no paycheck" after resigning as the Ashland County district attorney to run for office.
After revealing that congressional members make $174,000 in annual salary, Duffy went on to lambast the health plan offered by the federal government in a diatribe intended to relate to the issues raised his constituent, who'd stated that his wife, a teacher, may face a salary cut if a budget-cutting Wisconsin bill is passed by state government.
"Now, some say I've taken an upgrade, some say I've taken a downgrade as a congressman," Duffy responded. "I now pay $600 a month for my health insurance. I pay far more as a congressman than I did as a D.A. because the federal government doesn't offer nearly as good of a plan as the state of Wisconsin does."
Mike Tate, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, slammed Duffy's comments in a statement saying, "Poor Hollywood Sean Duffy. He only makes four times the median family income in Wisconsin. This must explain why he is four times out-of-touch with the working families whose health care he would slash, whose Social Security he would erode, whose schools he would close and whose jobs he would ship to China."
But a spokesman for the alum of MTV's reality show "The Real World," Daniel Son, fired back in a released statement.
"Our nation faces a real fiscal crisis and Congressman Duffy is committed to working with his colleagues in the House to face these challenges head on, not score cheap political points," he said.