Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) continued to work on behalf of residents of the 18th District of Illinois, reaching across the aisle, and finding legislative success on issues ranging from job creation to tax relief and spending reduction.
Congressman Schock began the year with the appointment to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, considered the most powerful committee in Congress. Schock serves on the Trade, Oversight and Social Security subcommittees, where he worked to overcome partisan divisions and gridlock to pass commonsense bills that were signed in to law by President Obama. Among these successes include legislation removing the onerous 1099 tax provision from President Obama’s Health Care law and three job creating free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Additionally, Schock and the committee continue their work on comprehensive tax reform that will lower taxes for all individuals, while allowing the U.S. to become more competitive, spurring job creation and economic growth. In just this year, the Ways and Means committee has held over 13 hearings on tax reform, including hearing testimony from executives from Caterpillar on how the current tax system impacts their ability to do business inside the U.S. and around the world. As a member of the Society Security subcommittee, Schock led a bipartisan letter to the Social Security Administration to encourage them to be honest with the American people about future Social Security benefits. This same topic was also brought up by Schock during a Social Security hearing earlier this year.
Schock has played a leading role in committee hearings this year, including questioning Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick on President Obama’s Health Care law and the negative impact it will have on businesses – large and small. Schock questioned Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner directly on the tax the White House tried to levy on businesses that didn’t receive TARP funding, but would be unfairly taxed so the government could recoup their funding faster.
Earlier this month, Schock participated in a joint Senate Finance Committee-House Ways and Means committee hearing on the tax structure levied on products that include businesses in Illinois. Finally, last week Schock participated in a hearing on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a new Asia Pacific free trade agreement that the United States has begun to negotiate. During his questioning, he focused on ensuring there will be adequate intellectual property protections put in place to ensure the U.S. is not put at a disadvantage against the other countries in the agreement. In addition, the TPP would be good news for the agricultural community. In 2010, U.S. exports of agricultural products to the TPP region total $84 billion, which accounted for 72 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports to the world.
Congressman Schock is recognized by his colleagues as someone who has reached across the aisle to get things done. His legislative track record embraces this fact. Since January, he has had a wide variety of his legislation passed by the House including:
• H.R. 513 (incorporated in H.R 1540) to prohibit the transfer of any terrorist to the U.S.
• H.R. 606 (incorporated in S. 365) to establish a commission to reduce government spending.
• H.R. 389 (incorporated in H.R. 1) to end taxpayer funded Stimulus advertisement signs.
• H.R. 2082 (incorporated in H.R. 674) to provide for a Work Opportunity Tax Credit for businesses that hire unemployed U.S. Veterans.
• Amendment to delay new FEMA flood insurance mandates.
• Amendment to allow for deployment deferment for dual military families with a minor.
• Language (incorporated into H.R. 3078) to enact the United States-Colombia Trade Agreement.
• Amendment requiring EPA to take agriculture jobs and the economic impact on agriculture industry into account before issuing any new regulations relating to agriculture.
Schock has also introduced a wide variety of legislation which has been supported by numerous colleagues on both sides of the aisle:
• H.R. 1653, supported by close to 100 House Members to lower tariffs, remove trade barriers and decrease the cost of products for businesses and consumers.
• H.R. 2231 to encourage the development of new blender pumps and other infrastructure to support renewable energy use.
o Named 1 of the 10 Most Important Advocates for Renewable Energy in Washington by BioFuels Digest & selected as the 2011 Fueling Growth Award Winner, the highest honor presented by Growth Energy to Members of Congress who support ethanol.
• H.R. 2479 to decrease the costs of making historic renovations and help the Warehouse district in Peoria.
• H.R. 1936 the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act aimed at preserving the ability of the nation’s seniors to continue receiving their diabetic testing supplies from their neighborhood pharmacist.
In addition to the introduction of legislation, Schock has spearheaded numerous letters of critical importance to the Administration and the President, including:
• Asking the National Labor Relations Board to stop its regulation assault on small businesses.
o This led to the successful conclusion of getting the NLRB to back away from a mandate requiring posting of unionized procedures.
• Asking the Social Security Administration to be honest with American citizens about the future of Social Security benefits.
o This led to the Social Security Administration’s rescission of continuing to mail yearly updates to citizens which promised benefits the current funds can’t deliver
• Following through on his continued pledge to support navigation and restoration efforts of the Illinois and Upper Mississippi Rivers.
o This helped outline the need to secure close to $40 million in appropriated funds for river navigation and ecological efforts along these two rivers
• Asking the State of Illinois not to release the private information of law abiding state gun owners.
o It was just recently announced that the State of Illinois would not be releasing this private information.
The House of Representatives has been hard at work this year:
In April, Schock voted for and the House passed the FY2012 budget - Path to Prosperity - which was the product of Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. While the House has approved a budget, the Senate has gone nearly 1,000 days without passing one of their own. This includes voting 97-0 against President Obama’s budget he submitted at the beginning of the year. Congressman Ryan’s budget is a proposal that would begin to put the country on sound fiscal footing while looking at ways to keep programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid solvent, and begin to pay down the $15 trillion in debt the U.S. has accumulated. The Path to Prosperity received more votes this year than any budget in the previous 13 years. In response to keeping future spending under control, the House passed a Balanced Budget Amendment that would ensure the government is not spending more than it is taking in.
The House has passed multiple pieces of legislation focused on domestic energy production including the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act. Schock has urged using the revenue from new oil and gas leases, along with the revenue from the motor fuel tax, as a way to help pay for a long-term highway bill.
This week, the House passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act which will protect all American workers from higher taxes, spur job creation, and ensure those who have fallen on difficult times by losing their job by no fault of their own can access unemployment benefits available to them while they search for a new job. This bill was a combination of bipartisan ideas and proposals that include many items that President Obama urged Congress to pass.
For the first time since World War II, the federal government will spend less this year than the previous year. This is a remarkable accomplishment which has begun to put the federal government on a fiscally responsible path.
Job Creation and Economic Growth
Since being sworn in to his second term in January, Schock’s voting record has been consistently in favor of job creating policies. He, along with his House Republican colleagues, have passed 28 jobs bills aimed at encouraging private sector job creation and economic growth that are currently awaiting action in the Senate.
Schock Calls for Long-term Highway Bill
Schock’s efforts include his call for a long-term transportation infrastructure authorization. Just months ago this issue was not at the forefront of any legislative discussions, but since September Schock has consistently pushed for a bill to be passed by Congress and signed in to law by the president as soon as possible. All this has led to the Speaker of the House discussing the topic in recent speeches and the chairman of the House Transportation Committee indicating that work on a long-term bill will begin in January. Last week, Schock led the bipartisan effort to send a letter to President Obama with over 110 of his House colleagues urging him to support a long-term highway authorization.