Some folks go to Washington and look out only for themselves -- accepting the perks, giving themselves pay raises, using inside information for personal profit, and more.
That isn't what our founding fathers intended. The opportunity to serve Illinois' 17th Congressional District is both an incredible honor and a huge responsibility; it's a cause greater than myself, and I take it seriously.
America's national debt recently surpassed $16 trillion for the first time in our country's history. Each citizen's share of that debt -- including my newest granddaughter -- is more than $51,400. When my wife, Christie, and I sit down with our children and grandchildren for dinner, there's more than $719,600 of America's national debt gathered around the kitchen table.
While growing up, my parents taught me to lead by example, and it's long past time for Washington to start living by that rule. Washington cannot keep spending money it doesn't have. It must lead by example in working to address our country's fiscal crisis.
I'm working hard to cut wasteful spending and change business as usual in Washington, while also providing top-notch constituent service to folks here in our area. I rejected pay raises and the Congressional health care and pension, and I introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that Members of Congress can't draw from their pensions before their constituents are eligible for Social Security benefits. I was one of the first freshmen to co-sponsor the STOCK Act, which would increase transparency and keep officials from profiting from "inside" information.
After voting to cut my office budget by 11 percent, I returned more than $110,000 from last year's office budget to the Treasury, and expect to return a good portion of this year's as well. I introduced legislation that would encourage all branches of government to save taxpayer dollars instead of engaging in massive spending binges. Washington needs to have some skin in the game when it comes to reducing our debt.
I was honored to receive the "Problem-Solvers Seal of Approval" from No Labels, a nonpartisan group, for my bipartisan efforts to find solutions and turn things around. Many Illinois families are struggling to make ends meet, put food on the table, and keep gas in their car. Their struggles are not Democrat or Republican issues -- they're Red, White, and Blue.
I will work with anyone I can to tackle these problems. I've worked with Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, on Quad-Cities priorities like the Interstate 74 Bridge and allowing for unlimited public-private partnerships at the Rock Island Arsenal, which will create hundreds of well-paying, good jobs. With Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., I've worked on legislation to strengthen manufacturing and job growth here at home. I've also worked with Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., to help eliminate bureaucratic red tape in federal contracting and support bipartisan Free Trade Agreements that local farmers, manufacturers like John Deere and CAT, and President Obama all support. I also helped lead the bipartisan effort to advance a long-term Farm Bill through Congress.
The last two years have seen progress on some important issues, despite what my opponent says. We passed these free trade agreements, a multi-year transportation bill, the Jump Start our Business Start-Ups jobs bill, a four-year FAA reauthorization, legislation to repeal the health care reform law's burdensome 1099 tax reporting requirement and the 3 percent withholding tax on small businesses, and a defense bill to help promote workload and jobs at the Rock Island Arsenal -- all on a bipartisan basis. There's a lot of work left to do to grow jobs and get our economy moving again. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, represents Congress in the 17th District.
Today is Thursday, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet. 1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.