WBEZ | U.S. House of Representatives http://www.wbez.org/tags/us-house-representatives Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Foster glides past Biggert after race that looked tight http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/foster_smal_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Defying opinion polls that depicted a neck-and-neck contest, Democrat Bill Foster easily defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert in the 11th Congressional District on Tuesday. With nearly all precincts reporting, Foster had almost 58 percent of the vote; Biggert had 42 percent.</p><p>In his victory speech, Foster expressed misgivings about the race&rsquo;s negative television advertising, a months-long barrage funded by campaign contributions and outside spending totaling roughly $14 million. &ldquo;I sense that both Congresswoman Biggert and myself were forced into an increasingly ugly world of politics today &mdash; a world that we were both deeply uncomfortable with,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Biggert, a seven-term House member, appeared to blame her loss on congressional redistricting controlled by Illinois Democrats. &ldquo;This race wasn&rsquo;t supposed to happen,&rdquo; she told supporters in her concession speech. &ldquo;They thought that I would shy away from a tough race in a district tailor-made for my opponent, and they were wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Other factors contributing to Biggert&rsquo;s defeat included strong Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and growing Latino numbers in Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs. In the 11th District &mdash; which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Joliet &mdash; Hispanics constitute 22 percent of the population. Foster rallied them by pointing to Biggert&rsquo;s&nbsp;vote against the DREAM Act, a stalled bill that would have provided many young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.</p><p>Despite a bitter tone through much of the race, the candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.</p><p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who chose to buy private insurance.</p><p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.</p><div><p>The election marks a comeback for Foster, 55, who served almost three years in a nearby House district. Republican Randy Hultren unseated Foster in a 2010 election that swept the GOP into control of the House.</p><p>As the Republicans retain their majority, Foster is vowing to work with them by focusing on, as he puts it, &ldquo;numbers instead of political positions.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We have to make sure that government investments are as cost-effective and highest-return as possible,&rdquo; he told WBEZ late Tuesday. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s something that Democrats and Republicans agree on.&rdquo;</p><p>Foster said bipartisan points of unity could include cutting &ldquo;military systems the Pentagon doesn&rsquo;t want&rdquo; and encouraging a rebirth of domestic manufacturing. &ldquo;One of the best things about the ongoing recovery is that U.S. manufacturing is leading that,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Foster also had a prediction about the election results. He said they would end acrimonious debates about Obamacare and financial reregulation.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 Biggert, Foster turn to big names to drum up votes in tight House race http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Judy Biggert AP cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>After a firestorm of negative television advertising in their tight Illinois congressional race, Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and Democrat Bill Foster are trying to get their supporters to the polls using a few bells and whistles.<br><br>Foster, a former one-term U.S. House member, started robocalls Monday to potential voters in the suburban Chicago district using the voice of former President Bill Clinton, who said the candidate&rsquo;s experience in science and business provided &ldquo;the kind of common-sense experience and leadership we need in Washington.&rdquo;<br><br>Biggert, a seven-term House member, came up with an attention grabber of her own. In a YouTube video, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk praised her as &ldquo;one of the ultimate suburban moms who should be representing us in the Congress next year.&rdquo; Kirk, the state&rsquo;s top Republican, has kept a low profile since suffering a stroke in January.<p>&nbsp;</p>The uplifting words from Clinton and Kirk stood out after months of mind-numbing accusations and counteraccusations in the TV ads. The money behind those ads flowed in as polls suggested the 11th District contest was one of the closest House races in the country. By October 17, according to their latest federal filings, the Biggert and Foster campaigns had raked in more than $2.5 million each.<p>&nbsp;</p>And that&rsquo;s just the beginning. The race attracted more than $8 million in outside money, according to the Federal Election Commission. Figures from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics last month showed Biggert&rsquo;s campaign with an edge in that spending.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Friday, Foster resorted to lending his campaign $500,000. The money paid for his final TV ad, according to Foster campaign aide Aviva Bowen. &ldquo;We have to keep pace with the millions that [Biggert], her allies and the rightwing super-PACs have put up in false claims on TV,&rdquo; Bowen said.<p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert&rsquo;s team saw the loan differently. &ldquo;Congressman Foster is clearly desperate and terrified that Illinois voters are about to reject him and his dishonest smear campaigns once again,&rdquo; Biggert spokesman Gill Stevens wrote.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Monday, the candidates made a flurry of stops across the barbell-shaped district, which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Joliet and other suburbs west and southwest of Chicago. Foster&rsquo;s campaign said U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) was joining him on afternoon visits to sites set up for campaign volunteers. A Biggert aide said the Republican would attend a Joliet dinner hosted by the local chamber of commerce.<p>&nbsp;</p>Amid the combative TV ads, both candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.<p>&nbsp;</p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who choose to buy private insurance.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.<p></p>Both Biggert and Foster said they were trying to protect the middle class but neither seemed to have a personal stake in reversing the economic squeeze of recent decades.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert, 75, lives in Hinsdale and grew up in Wilmette, a suburb north of Chicago. Her father was a Walgreen Co. executive who headed the drugstore chain in the 1960s. She received a Northwestern University law degree and clerked for a federal judge. In politics, she began on a Hinsdale school board and made it to the U.S. House.<p>&nbsp;</p>Foster, 55, and his brother launched a theater lighting business that made them rich. Foster, a Harvard-educated physicist, also spent more than 20 years at the U.S. Department of Energy&rsquo;s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, a suburb west of Chicago.<p>&nbsp;</p><div>Foster won a 2008 special election to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, a former longtime House speaker. The Democrat served just one full term before Randy Hultgren, a Republican state senator, unseated him in 2010. Foster moved to a Naperville section included in the 11th, a new congressional district with borders drawn by state Democrats after the 2010 census.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 Congressmen form united front against transportation bill http://www.wbez.org/story/congressmen-form-united-front-against-transportation-bill-96365 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-13/photo(3).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Congressmen from both parties joined with Chicago transit officials Monday to criticize a House transportation funding bill that would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from roadway and mass transit projects in the state.</p><p>Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., said the House Republican-backed American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, which narrowly passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, would cut $650 million in funding for Illinois roadways.</p><p>They said it puts at risk another $450 million for public transportation funding, because it makes mass transit programs compete for a 20 percent share of the motor fuel tax and other user fees from the highway trust fund that have been guaranteed for 30 years.</p><p>Dold said going against his own party is the right thing to do.</p><p>"Now there's no question that we need to tighten our belt, but I still think there are opportunities to tighten our belt and fund our priorities, of which transportation has to be one," said Dold.</p><p>"They're investments that we have to make. It would be very short-sighted not to make these investments today," said Lipinski.</p><p>Both lawmakers said the $260 billion transportation funding bill is expected to come up in the House for a vote this week.</p><p>Lipinski said the bill in its current form doesn't have the votes to pass the House and would be dead on arrival in the Senate.</p><p>An alternative transportation bill is being considered in the Senate.</p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 23:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/congressmen-form-united-front-against-transportation-bill-96365 Lipinski unsure of Obama budget's chance in House http://www.wbez.org/story/lipinski-unsure-obama-budgets-chance-house-96363 <p><p>U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., said he doesn't expect the president's 2013 budget to be voted on by Congress.</p><p>President Barack Obama presented his budget Monday, proposing to cut the national deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade in part by ending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts and cutting hundreds of billions in defense spending.</p><p>Lipinski said Monday he has not looked closely at Obama's plan, but he expects House Republicans to produce a very different budget proposal.</p><p>"The president's budget is just the first draw in the whole budget battle that occurs every year, and we'll see where we go from here," said Lipinski.</p><p>U.S. Rep Peter Roskam, R-Ill., and Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., have come out against the president's proposal. In emailed statements, both congressmen said the budget doesn't cut the nation's trillion dollar deficit enough.</p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 22:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/lipinski-unsure-obama-budgets-chance-house-96363 Dold: Obama 'over-stepped' on birth control mandate http://www.wbez.org/story/dold-obama-over-stepped-birth-control-mandate-96362 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-13/photo(4).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, R-Ill., said Monday the President over-stepped by forcing religious institutions to provide birth control for employees.</p><p>Barack Obama announced a compromise last week that would let certain religious institutions object to providing contraceptives on religious principles. Under the president's compromise, birth control would instead be covered directly by the insurance companies rather than through religious institutions.</p><p>The north suburban congressman said he's waiting to see if the White House will compromise more on the mandate.</p><p>"We'll see how that moves forward in terms of if there's going to be more in terms of a compromise," said Dold. "I think this is going to be about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, those types of things on the first amendment."</p><p>The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement Friday opposing the revised measure.</p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 22:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dold-obama-over-stepped-birth-control-mandate-96362 Ruscitti to step aside for Joe Walsh, setting stage for heated House race http://www.wbez.org/story/ruscitti-step-aside-joe-walsh-setting-stage-heated-house-race-95089 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-09/joe walsh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A little-known Illinois Republican is stepping aside for U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in a race for a House seat in Chicago's northwest suburbs.</p><p>Darlene Ruscitti says she wants to avoid a primary battle now that Walsh has announced he will change districts to run for re-election next year.</p><p>Walsh is a conservative firebrand well-known nationally for his attacks on President Barack Obama. He was elected to Congress last year.</p><p>But state Democrats changed the boundaries of his district to put him in the same area as another first-term Republican, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. Party leaders then asked Walsh to move to a district that's closer to Chicago and considered friendlier ground for Democrats.</p><p>Democrats Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi (krish-nah-MOOR'-thee) have said they will challenge Walsh.</p></p> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 21:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ruscitti-step-aside-joe-walsh-setting-stage-heated-house-race-95089 Campaign finance reports keep candidates' cash flow in check http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/campaign-finance-reports-keep-candidates-cash-flow-check-93181 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/tammy duckworth AP file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Candidates for the U.S. House had to file a lot of paperwork over the weekend--third quarter campaign finance reports were due. Recent redistricting&nbsp; could generate a lot of tough primary elections in Illinois this year. New political boundaries mean new political matchups--and while the money was flowing in, it is also flowing out. WBEZ’s political reporter <a href="http://www.wbez.org/staff/sam-hudzik" target="_blank">Sam Hudzik</a> checked the campaigns’ books and gave <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> his assessment.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Eskmo, "Moving Glowstream" (Savile's K-House Mix) from We Got More/Moving Glowstream (Ninja Tune)</em></p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/campaign-finance-reports-keep-candidates-cash-flow-check-93181 Rep. Costello announces retirement from Congress http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-costello-announces-retirement-congress-92820 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/4796868402_f2d7119ca6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello announced today he won't be seeking re-election next year after 23 years in office.</p><p>In a press conference on Tuesday, the 62-year-old downstate Democrat insisted he never intended to be<br> a career congressman and said he's retiring to pursue other interests.</p><p>“You have to make a decision,” Costello said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Do you want to continue to do what you're doing just to do it, or do you want to move on and do other things and be productive in other ways.”</p><p>Costello’s retirement sets up a potential fight for the soon-to-be vacant southwest seat in next year’s election, one Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady thinks the GOP can win. He says Costello’s district has been trending red in recent elections, pointing to Republicans Rep. Mark Kirk and gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady’s victories there in the 2010 election.</p><p>“We think that is now a Republican district,” said Brady. “And with Congressman Costello's sudden resignation, I think we're in a pretty good position to take that back and will take it back.”</p><p>Costello currently serves the southwest part of Illinois, which includes the East St. Louis area.</p><p>Upon announcing his retirement on Tuesday he said he’s most proud of securing a future for Scott Air Force Base, and seeing construction start on the new Mississippi River Bridge.</p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-costello-announces-retirement-congress-92820 Rep. Schakowsky backs Obama’s deficit proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-schakowsky-backs-obama%E2%80%99s-deficit-proposal-92188 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-14/janschakowsky_ap_Lauren Victoria Burke.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is backing President Obama’s deficit reduction plan, including his promise to veto any bill that relies solely on spending cuts without raising new revenues.</p><p>“I applaud him, and I think most Americans do, too,” Schakowsky said at a luncheon with city and state officials.</p><p>On Monday, the President proposed a plan to reduce the nation's deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years. The package includes $1.5 trillion in new revenues, generated in part by allowing Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest earners to expire, and by limiting their deductions. The plan would also trim Medicare and Medicaid funding by $320 billion.</p><p>"It's only right we ask everyone to pay their fair share," said Obama in his speech Monday morning.</p><p>Republicans were quick to respond to Obama’s proposed deficit plan. Minutes after the president spoke, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying, "Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings, and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth."</p><p>Schakowsky, who represents Chicago's north suburbs, says Republicans’ insistence on not raising taxes is not a balanced approach to solving the deficit problem and is contrary to what the majority of Americans want.</p><p>“If the Republicans push a proposal that would maintain these tax cuts and all the tax breaks that go to the wealthiest Americans, they do that at their peril,” she said.</p></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 20:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-schakowsky-backs-obama%E2%80%99s-deficit-proposal-92188 Jackson pushes Obama to focus on construction http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-pushes-obama-focus-construction-91531 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-05/Jesse Jackson.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As President Obama gears up for a Thursday speech before Congress about his jobs agenda, a civil rights leader in his hometown is urging him to focus on proposing massive investment in construction projects.</p><p>With official unemployment hovering above 9 percent, the president is expected to propose training for the long-term jobless, tax credits for companies that hire new workers and an extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits.</p><p>Rev. Jesse Jackson said those steps won’t be enough. “You put people back to work fixing our infrastructure, our houses and our transportation,” he said. “We work our way out of the hole. We don’t complain our way out. [President Obama] has the key to, in fact, invest in a mammoth way in putting America back to work.”</p><p>In a Monday speech to Detroit union activists, the president did bring up infrastructure. But Republicans, who control the U.S. House, are indicating they will try to block new outlays that would add to the budget deficit.</p></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jackson-pushes-obama-focus-construction-91531