Friday, Nov. 14


Congressman speaks at
Lincoln Christian College    
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[NOV. 14, 2003]  Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois' 18th District spoke with the faculty and students of Lincoln Christian College at Restoration Hall on the LCC campus Nov. 11. This was a return visit to the Lincoln campus for the congressman. With the House of Representatives' session coming to a close in Washington, LaHood spoke about the primary bills being worked on.

One of those bills is the prescription drug bill, which will allow senior citizens who live on a fixed income to have the capability to pay for the high cost of drugs. This is a bill that has been worked on for several years. It has now been passed by the House and Senate and is in a conference committee.

When asked by a member of the audience if he thinks the pharmaceutical companies have received a wake-up call from attempts to have the bill passed, the congressman said, "I think the pharmaceutical companies have already gotten a wake-up call."

"I do not want to completely blame the pharmaceutical companies," he added. "They have poured a lot of money into research and development of drugs that have extended people's lives. We do have the best health care system in the world, but we have people who do not have access to it; that is the issue."

Another bill LaHood spoke about is the energy bill. This bill would implement an energy policy in this country such that we use our own oil and also use corn for ethanol, making ethanol a renewable fuel.

"This would really help the agricultural business and help us not rely so much on the Middle East," he said.

He then moved on to the war on terrorism and the debates going on in our country regarding this issue. "It is very costly and very expensive but it is what we have to do," LaHood said. "I really believe that we are winning the war on terrorism."


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As of now there are over 135,000 American troops stationed in Iraq, and LaHood stated, "They are trying to stabilize the country and find emerging leaders and set up a new government, and that is not easy."

LaHood also is in support of the partial-birth abortion bill. The bill, which bans the procedure, was recently signed by President George W. Bush.

"This is a bill that will go to the (U.S.) Supreme Court," LaHood said. "We cannot predict at this point that the Supreme Court will throw this out. We are probably two years away from a final decision on this."

LaHood was also asked about the steel tariff issue. President Bush put a tariff on imported steel and then took it off because of the European Union saying that it violates trade practices.

"The tariff really did help some steel manufacturers in this country," LaHood remarked, "but look at Caterpillar. They buy foreign steel and they don't want to see the tariff get put back up because it will raise costs for them -- this is a Catch-22."

As the address concluded, LaHood was asked what the best part of his job is. "The opportunity to serve and help solve problems and get things done from our district," he said. "I think public service is really a noble calling, and if you do it the right way, you can get a lot of things done."

[Janell Woolard]

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