After appreciating the wall-to-wall people inside and out, Schock
quickly got down to business, why he was there: to get our
perspective on what's going on, and to share his perspective on what
big issues are facing our country.
Congress breaks for the month
of August each year. The first two weeks Schock said he likes to get
in touch with the people of his district. The 18th District has
gotten a bit bigger, giving him more "windshield time" in traveling,
he quipped. The district has been expanded from 134 towns to 205. He
and his staff planned 205 stops in 14 days.
In the over an hour of interaction, Schock began by explaining
what he believes is important for everyone to know about what is
going on in Washington, D.C., and key issues in our country. During
the question-and-answer period, he worked in how federal government
works and what he is doing within that structure.
Throughout the morning, he made it clear that he wants to hear
from his constituents, particularly those who can offer expertise on
a subject that has a bill to be voted on. It gives him the guidance
he needs on how to make government work better.
He covered key topics such as IRS, taxes, social services,
Medicare, health insurance, bringing youth into government,
government solvency, red tape and more.
He began with employment.
"You all know our country is in a world of hurt," he said. "We
have (the) highest unemployment for the longest period in our
Schock said that unemployment does two things:
People are not paying income taxes and sales taxes, which means
our treasury is down and our deficit is higher as a result.
People rely on the social services as a safety net.
"And," he added, "when people are unemployed, they are not as
"I think the biggest challenge facing our country right now is to
get our economy back on track and growing at a faster rate than it's
been," he said.
He recognized that with people living longer and working longer
and 3 million college grads every year, 50 percent of the grads a
year ago are still unemployed.
"What do we have to do?" he asked.
A plan to spend more money resulted in our debt going from $10
trillion to $17 trillion in just four years. It is an unsustainable
path for our country.
You don't have to wonder what happens when you get too much debt.
Your taxes start going up.
Shock said: "When I visit small towns in my district, I visit
family farms, small businesses, manufacturers and restaurants like
this. I ask them, 'What message would you like me as your federal
representative to take back to Washington, D.C.?'"
The one message everyone has had to say is, "Stop all the
Schock then explained that what they mean by this is, "Stop all
the red tape and regulations that come out, that you all don't even
get to vote on."
He then explained that a lot of the "administrative rules" coming
out of D.C. are regulations that even he does not get to vote on.
"Those rules have a real cost to our society and constrict growth in
our country," he said.
One of the bills he is pushing is called the "Reins Act." What it
does is that before a bureaucrat can issue an administrative rule --
"red tape" -- if it going to cost our economy $100 million or more
in a year, it has to come before Congress for a vote.
In the last year, there have been over 400 new rules that
Congress did not even vote on that have cost our economy over $100
million a year.
[to top of second column]
He later gave an example of one of these impractical laws that
government attempted to impose, asking if anyone in farming had
heard about the Department of Labor law that would not allow anyone
under the age of 18 to drive a motorized vehicle.
He got a response from a farmer who chuckled, "Yes."
Schock said, "I grew up on a farm. You didn't have five or six
kids so they could sit on the porch."
Schock also addressed taxes. He believes that we need to take the
70,000-page tax code that we have now and throw it out the window --
no more loopholes, carve-outs, special deals. He would flatten rates
to be fairer for everybody and would have other, wider-ranging
A new bill soon to be proposed would simplify the current six
rates to two rates. Individuals would pay 10 percent tax when
earning up to $60,000 and 25 percent if above that. Businesses would
pay a top rate of 25 percent.
Flat rates would be simpler and fairer for all, Shock said.
The congressman also addressed tough front-line topics such as
Social Security. People are living longer today than when the
retirement program came out and the age of retirement was first set.
He'd add one month for every year of age a person is now to the
retirement qualification, and he says that would preserve the
Schock addressed audience questions on Obamacare. He'd like to
see that bill gone and replaced with a federal program that would
aid the fragment of the 30 million people who want insurance but are
put in a position that they can't afford it, such as those facing a
catastrophic illness or pre-existing illness. Let the 270 million
who have and like their health care insurance, keep it.
He also addressed illegal immigration and believes that system
needs fixing. There needs to be greater expediency in processing
work visas and better accountability when an immigrant's time is up,
including a penalty on employers.
A robust immigration bill is expected on the floor in September.
After a little more than an hour of informing his constituents on
what has been happening in the federal government, Schock closed by
asking for written advice, naming farming, banking, health care and
finance as just a few areas important in understanding today's
"For me to be a good representative, and I mean this sincerely, I
can't be an expert in all things," he said. "That's where all of you
come in, giving me that real-world, firsthand advice."
While those in attendance seemed concerned about what is
happening in our county today, most seemed to appreciate the candor
and intent of the young congressman's efforts to speak with them.
Wanda Lee Rohlfs was present and afterward commented that she
thought Schock did a good job. She thought that he shared common
concerns, and he seemed to be on the same level of thinking as those
"He's on target with the people in central Illinois," Rohlfs
said. "And, the areas he outlined show how the Republicans and the
House are trying to make things better. He gave us some hope."
The Congress welcomes your comments on pending bills. You can
contact Shock through his website at
[By JAN YOUNGQUIST]