Peter Roskam: Consummate Conservative Warrior
I'd like to introduce, or re-aquatint, you to Illinois Congressman and U.S. House of Representatives Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam. Roskam represents the Sixth District of Illinois and is not only the party's future but a consummate conservative warrior with real solutions on issues ranging from the economy and jobs to taxes, government spending and health care.
Let me give you some examples. He's been one of the most outspoken advocates for passing the three long-stalled trade agreements – the same agreements President Obama finally sent to Congress last week.
On taxes, just recently, he introduced legislation to permanently make the capital gains and dividends tax rates 15%. Right now, President Obama is threatening to let them expire in 2013. Frankly that would be devastating. Keeping these rates low is just one aspect of comprehensive tax reform Roskam is fighting for.
He's also leading the expedition on stopping the Obama Administration's most excessive job-killing regulations. A few weeks ago Peter delivered the GOP's weekly address and bodily called Washington "a red-tape factory." This is the voice people need in Washington.
Now at the leadership table in Congress, Roskam along with Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, fought to build support from the ground up for bold conservative solutions, including The Path to Prosperity, the GOP's budget that would restore fiscal sanity.
Peter understands what businesses, small business owners and families outside of Washington need to succeed. He's the real deal.
Peter Roskam's Bio:
Peter Roskam proudly represents the Sixth District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the Chief Deputy Majority Whip, the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House.
Peter has long fought for commonsense conservative solutions to the problems our nation faces, now doing so at the GOP leadership table. Considered a "Rising Star" by a variety of news outlets, Roskam serves on the Ways & Means Committee where he's earned a reputation as a leader championing innovative conservative solutions on taxes, trade, and healthcare.
The Washington Post's conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin writes that "Roskam's positions — on Israel, Iran and fiscal issues — should debunk the notion that there is some gap between GOP leadership and the grass roots."
In addition Roskam is the co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and the U.S. Korea Working Group, dedicated to increasing pro-American export policies. In 2010, Peter served as the vice-chair of America Speaking Out, the organization that created the GOP's Pledge to America.
A lifelong Illinoisan, Peter's roots run deep in Chicago's suburbs. He was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, graduating from Glenbard West High School as a varsity athlete and school leader. After graduating from the University of Illinois and then the Illinois Institute of Technology Law School, Peter worked on Capitol Hill for his predecessor, the legendary Congressman Henry Hyde.
Following that, Roskam ran a non-profit scholarship program for disadvantaged youth in Chicago, Educational Assistance Ltd.
Before his election to Congress in 2006, Roskam was a member of the Illinois Senate from 2000-2006, serving as the Republican Whip and Floor Leader. There he served alongside then-State Senator Barack Obama. He served in the Illinois House before that from 1993 to 1998. His work earned him awards from businesses, health care, and pro-family organizations. In 2005, Americans for Tax Reform named him a "Hero of the Taxpayer."
Peter now lives in Wheaton with his wife of 23 years, Elizabeth, and their four children, Gracey, Frankie, Steve, and AJ.
Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam on the issues:
Repeal and Replace
We cannot afford the healthcare law that was passed earlier this year. It sets up a dramatic new entitlement regime that will actually increase insurance costs. The law is paid for by budget gimmicks such as double-counting Medicare and Social Security savings that would make any honest accountant blush. Congressman Roskam knows that people's idea of healthcare reform is not forcing people onto Medicaid, but rather reforms that are sensitive of our needs.
• Liability reform
It became very clear in the reform debate that one of the significant cost drivers in healthcare is the practice of defensive medicine, where doctors have to order unnecessary tests or procedures to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that liability reform could save the federal government over $50 billion dollars.
Rather than addressing this issue to bring down costs, Democrats in Washington protected the trial lawyers that reap big paydays from these lawsuits.
• Slash the fraud that plagues MedicareMedicare pays out $60 billion of fraudulent and wasteful claims each year, an affront to taxpayers and a disservice to the care our seniors depend on.
Congressman Roskam authored legislation to apply credit card style anti-fraud technology to Medicare payments, a proposal backed by the White House and endorsed by AARP, National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association, and Citizens Against Government Waste.
• Empower people to purchase insurance across state lines. We can increase competition and drive down costs by expanding the marketplace and allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines, forcing insurance companies to compete for more customers.
• Expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) by giving people an account to save for planned or unexpected healthcare spending, we can take pressure off of families.
Over ten million Americans are enrolled in HSAs, the fastest-growing insurance option in the country.
These sort of health plans can provide affordable coverage and empower people to make good health care decisions.
In fact, the grocery store Whole Foods pays 100% of the premium for its full time workers' coverage and also deposits money into their HSAs. John Mackey, the Whole Foods CEO, says this allows employees to spend as they like on their health and wellness.
He also states their "plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction."
Roskam's Rescue Roster:
There are a couple of things that Congress could do right now to bring economic certainty for our job creators to make the investments we need in recovery and job growth. Congressman Roskam is fighting for these in Washington:
• Permanently cap the Capital Gains and Dividends Tax Rates at 15%.
Washington needs to ask itself what it can do to make America the most competitive environment in the world for job creation? An important first step — with broad support from America's business community — would be to remove uncertainty and make permanent the 15% rate on capital gains and dividends.
Faced with the threat of a dramatic tax increase in 2013, American businesses, investors and families are hamstrung by uncertainty when making consequential investment and financial decisions. The threat of large tax hikes on capital gains and dividends is damaging by itself, but a guaranteed new 3.8% tax from the health care law starting in 2013 coupled with the potential sunsetting of the income tax rates of the last decade would mean effectively a 58% higher tax rate on cap gains and as much as a 189% higher tax rate on dividend income. It doesn't take an accountant to assess how damaging this move would be. Here are just a few steps in the right direction that Peter is behind.
• Pass the Pro-American Export Trade Agreements. These three pro-export policies will make it easier for American manufacturers to sell our products overseas and in turn create jobs here. Republicans have been advocating for these commonsense no-cost job-creation policies for years.
Exports directly support 145,903 jobs in Illinois (60,137 of those in the 6th District alone) in 650 companies – once the new FTA's become law more markets will open, incentivizing local companies to grow and hire.
• Comprehensive Tax Reform
Our tax system is complex, broken and outdated. It makes America less competitive, less powerful and drives jobs away from our shores. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world and we have a White House that wants to raise taxes on our individual system daily. Yet, 94% of all small businesses pay taxes through the individual income tax system.
We need fundamental tax reform that lowers the rates and broadens the base and makes America more competitive for job creation. That's what Roskam is fighting for day in and day out.
• Require major federal regulations to be voted on in Congress before implemented. Uncertainty and inactivity coming from Washington are major factors suffocating economic recovery.
There are 219 regulations from Washington that would have an economic impact of more than $100 million.
Giving Congress an up or down vote on these major regulations will have a restraining influence on bureaucrats in Washington.
• Repeal job-killing mandates on our job creators.
This year, Democrats in Washington passed new laws that require small businesses to report to the IRS with 1099 forms all their transactions totaling more than $600 with one party. More paperwork, more scrutiny from the IRS, and higher penalties for these new burdens hinder job growth.
• Block massive new energy taxes.
New national energy taxes like cap-and-trade will make the cost of energy skyrocket and kill jobs.
Manufacturing is one of the two largest employment sectors in our district.
Driving up the cost of energy will hurt the more than 1,000 manufacturers and 80,000 manufacturing employees in Roskam's district ALONE!
Stop the Spending Madness
Congressman Roskam wasn't part of the big-spending House Republicans in the early 2000s, and he's fought against wasteful spending under the current Majority since he was first elected in 2006. Congress may not like to make the hard choices, but Congressman Roskam knows that we can currently start taking some of these steps toward putting the federal government on a path to a balanced budget. Only then can we start paying off our debt and get our country on a track toward sustained economic prosperity.
• Rescind unspent stimulus funds.
We were promised that a $1 trillion stimulus package would keep unemployment below 8%, but the stimulus has clearly failed. Instead, unemployment lingers near 10% nationally, and over 10% in our area.
It is an embarrassment that the "stimulus" spending could be wasted so callously:
$800,000 to study genital washing after sex in Africa? Why?! Ridiculous!
$90,000 to replace a sidewalk in Oklahoma that leads to a ditch?
$700,000 to study and develop software to tell jokes?
We should spare future generations the debt burden of this "stimulus" spending and rescind all of the billions in unused stimulus.
• Cut Congress' budget.
At a time when unemployment is at 10%, and we have such pressing federal debt issues, Congress should not be increasing its budget.
• Real budget scrutiny.
It's long past time for the President's to deliver on his campaign promise of going through the federal budget line-by-line to cut out wasteful spending. Not only has he not done this but he has increased spending!
Congressman Roskam will press for continued weekly votes on spending cuts like those in the YouCut program, an innovative program that involves citizens in the process of forcing votes on spending cuts in the House of Representatives.
• End Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The failed mortgage finance giants are sinkholes of taxpayer money, already sopping up $150 billion in bailouts. These two behemoths are likely to end up being the most expensive of any component of the financial bailouts, and yet the financial regulatory "reform" package passed earlier this year was virtually silent on them. Instead, the executives of these two entities go on making millions of dollars a year even as billions from the taxpayer are required to keep them afloat.
Steps for Security:
Congressman Roskam is working to make sure we are safe. He has a clear view of what America's role in the world should be and what we need to be secure here at home. If America is to remain the freest and most powerful nation in the world and not suffer more attacks on our homeland, we need to project the assets necessary for the task and implement the forward-thinking protections needed to guard against an ever-evolving threat.
? Standing up for our close ally Israel: Stopping U.S. Funding to the Palestinian Authority.
As the news of Osama bin Laden's death spread, the free world breathed a sigh of relief and praised the United States for its accomplishment. But in the Palestinian territories, such sentiments were not and still are not, shared. In the eyes of Ismail Haniyeh and the infamous Hamas terrorist organization he leads, the operation "Marks the continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood." Frightening really.
Would you trust this organization to have free rein in your own backyard? Is this a group deserving of $550 million in annual foreign aid from cash-strapped U.S. taxpayers?
These are questions the U.S. must now address, since Hamas — which controls the Gaza Strip — this month officially joined the Palestinian Authority in a unity government. The PA plans to unilaterally declare a state at the United Nations meeting in September.
Don't be fooled by Hamas apologists in the West, who refuse to accept Hamas at its word. Let us not blind ourselves to Hamas's genocidal outlook. This reconciliation does not mean Hamas will moderate itself. It means the PA is dealing a death blow to a troubled peace process, in which it has seldom demonstrated the courage to engage.
? Keep terrorists out of America.
Remember when the Obama Administration had the half-witted idea to move terrorists from Guantanamo to Illinois? Well Peter Roskam was the guy leading the opposition of that move. It would only endanger America.
• Securing our border.
The federal government has been derelict in its duty to secure our borders. On top of that, we're in the absurd position of the federal government suing a state that is trying to enhance its vigilance on the border.
We have the most generous immigration system in the world, bringing in more than 1 million people per year, which is more than all other countries in the world combined.
But our immigration system is still arduous and complex. We need to make it easier to facilitate legal immigration and secure, with greater strength, our porous borders.
• Enforcing strong sanctions on Iran.
Ahmadinejad is a loose cannon ruling Iran. Congress passed a strong set of sanctions on Iran, and we must now make sure that the Administration uses those tools to their fullest effectiveness.
Iran has no legitimate aspirations for nuclear power. It is proactive and in hot pursuit of nuclear capabilities to ultimately be able to produce a nuclear weapon.
For our own sake, and for our close ally Israel, we must apply all due pressure to Iran to ensure that it does not gain the capability to make a nuclear bomb.