As a Member of the 115th Congress, Rodney serves on the House Committees on Administration, Agriculture and Transportation & Infrastructure.
Unemployment is at a 49-year low, our economy is growing, and 90 percent of Americans are seeing bigger paychecks. The optimism in our economy is because Republicans in Congress and the Administration have focused on making pro-growth reforms. We’ve worked to rollback Obama-era regulations that have stifled economic growth and passed the first major overhaul of our tax code in nearly 31 years. But there’s still more work to be done.
Investing in infrastructure, passing a Farm Bill, and reforming our workforce training programs are critical to furthering economic growth in the 13th District. I continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address these important issues.
Rodney believes we must lower taxes for everyone, including small business owners, and reduce red tape and regulations. Government doesn’t create jobs, which means Congress should get out of the way of business owners and let them do their jobs.
I believe government officials should be accountable to those we serve. As Vice Chair of the Committee on House Administration, I led reforms that strengthened spending controls on members of Congress’ office budgets and made the House the most transparent entity within the federal government. I’ve also introduced and supported good-government bills like the Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act, to prevent the abuse of workers’ compensation and create more transparency within government, and the End Government Shutdowns Act, to stop crisis governing.
Additionally, I helped lead the first overhaul of the Congressional Accountability Act in more than 20 years to reform sexual harassment rules governing Congress. H.R. 4924 and H.Res. 724, which passed unanimously out of the House, will strengthen employee protections, increase transparency, and hold members personally responsible for their conduct and taxpayer dollars. Whether it’s in government, the media, or Hollywood, no one should have to worry about sexual harassment when they come to work. I believe Congress should lead by example.
This Congress and President Trump, passed the first major tax reform in 31 years. We lowered tax rates so now 90 percent of Americans are seeing bigger paychecks because Washington is taking less. When people file their taxes next year, they’ll see the standard deduction doubled, the Child Tax Credit doubled, and maintains other popular deductions so the average family of four in the 13th District earning the median income of $78,509 with save around $2,224. Because Democrats refused to support tax reform, we were forced to put an expiration date on these tax cuts on the individual side. However, I’m working to pass a bill that would make these tax cuts permanent and ensure your taxes won’t increase in 2025.
We also now have a tax code that allows our businesses to compete with the rest of the world. Millions of workers are already seeing the benefits of tax reform because businesses are increasing wages, giving bonuses, expanding paid family leave, and contributing more to their retirement. Tax reform is incentivizing companies to stay in America and hire more American workers.
We have a government that still spends, borrows and taxes too much. As President Reagan said, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”
Our national debt has surpassed $17 trillion, nearly $53,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. In fact recently, the CBO released a report stating without major reforms, federal debt held by the public would reach 100 percent of GDP in 2038. This is wrong and immoral. It undermines the dollar and our place in the global market, resulting is more economic uncertainty that the nation cannot afford.
Washington should live by the same rules as every American family and that means balancing our budget and only spending what we take in.
I know that a one-size-fits-all, government-mandated health care system is not the answer for addressing the needs of both people with health insurance and the uninsured. Just after the birth of our daughter Toryn, my wife Shannon was diagnosed with colon cancer. Thankfully, Shannon beat the cancer, but it gave me first-hand knowledge of dealing with serious medical conditions under our health insurance model. However, our health care system isn’t working for everyone, especially those on Obamacare.
I voted to reform our broken health care system to lower costs, expand access, and increase coverage. Obamacare has limited choices with 18 of the 23 Obamacare insurance co-ops failing and insurance companies fleeing the market leaving 75 percent of Illinois with the choice of 1 or 2 insurance providers. This drives up costs. In fact, nearly 60 million Americans still don’t have insurance at all or can’t afford to use the insurance they have.
Since 2013, Illinois has seen premiums increase by 108 percent and people’s out-of-pocket costs have increased by an average of 64 percent nationally. This is not affordable or sustainable for anyone. We can do better.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed that the reforms passed by the House would have lowered monthly premiums and increase opportunities for group insurance, which typically provides the best coverage for the most affordable price. Unfortunately, these reforms failed in the Senate.
It’s imperative that Republicans and Democrats come together to fix our broken health care system.
As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, I work to be a voice for 13th District agriculture in Washington. I routinely hold tool shed discussions and meetings with my agriculture advisory board in the 13th District to take their concerns to Congress. Much of the time I am working to get Washington out of the way. Working to repeal ridiculous regulations like expanding the Waters of the U..S. (WOTUS), which would have allowed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate water in irrigation ditches and farm ponds.
I was proud to help craft the last long-term Farm Bill to strengthens crop insurance, a key risk management tool for our farmers, and cut nearly $100 billion in spending. As chairman of the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee, I believe agriculture research at leading universities, like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Illinois State University, are critical to the future of agriculture and feeding the world.
Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in this 14-county district and the state of Illinois. I continue to be a strong advocate for farmers and agribusiness in Congress.
We rely on our transportation system to get us where we need to go everyday and to move our products to market. Investing in a 21st Century transportation system is critical to our nation’s economic success. Our international competitors are investing more and more in their transportation infrastructure everyday and we must do the same to remain competitive.
As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have the opportunity to help craft a long-term highway bill, an overhaul of our waterways, and a bill to modernize our airways. I have fought for ways to speed up government approval of projects, increase local control of federal dollars, and utilize public-private partnerships to save taxpayer dollars.
President Trump has committed to investing in infrastructure and I look forward to continuing to work with my Republican and Democrat colleagues to fix our crumbling infrastructure.
Our veterans have given so much for our nation that we cannot even begin to repay them. Ensuring the promises made to them are kept is a responsibly that cannot be taken lightly. Unfortunately, our VA system has failed our veterans in recent years with “secret wait lists,” long wait times, and delayed care. I supported legislation signed into law to hold VA leaders accountable and improve care by allowing veterans who are experiencing long wait times or live long distances from a VA hospital to access private care. Strong oversight over the VA is something I take very seriously.
I co-introduced the WINGMAN Act to give congressional offices more oversight over the VA claims process and the ability to track cases so our veterans are receiving the answers they need and deserve. This bill passed the House unanimously last year, but continues to wait on Senate action.
As a parent of three children, I understand the need to invest in education and ensure our parents, teachers, and local school administrators remain in control of our children’s education – what works for one school may not work for another. I believe the role of the federal government should be an effective, but limited one.
Unfortunately, another issue our schools continue to deal with is safety and preventing violence. As the survivor of a mass shooting, this is a very personal issue to me. I supported the STOP School Violence Act, which had 407 Republicans and Democrats came together to pass in the House. This provides grants to schools to help them increase security, develop crisis management and threat assessment teams, and improve coordination to help prevent violent actions before they occur. I have also voted to strengthen our background check system and overhaul our mental health system to better help those before it’s too late.
The 13th District is home to roughly 45,000 students attending eight colleges and universities in Central and Southwestern Illinois. With a daughter in college, Rodney understands the importance of college affordability and helping students reduce their debt. He has fought to keep student loan rates low and supported legislation to help students limit the amount they borrow by increasing transparency. Additionally, I introduced legislation to encourage employers to be part of the solution by allowing them to pay toward an employee’s student debt. I fought to maintain so that one day we can ultimately expand these important higher education provisions in tax reform.