Peter Roskam: Candidate Profile
6th Congressional District (Republican)
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How will you work to make Congress more productive and effective? What actions are needed to produce a healthy federal budget? Specifically, what changes do you advocate regarding how revenue is produced or what our spending priorities are? In particular, what effect does current policy have on your district and what changes, if any, are needed?
Congress needs to tackle entitlement reform and stop kicking the can down the road for the next generation to fix. We need to grow our economy to expand the tax base, not raise rates on families and businesses who already turn over too much of their hard-earned money to Uncle Sam. When people make more money, they pay more in taxes. When government stifles the private sector, we end up with less revenue overall. As it stands, the lack of fiscal discipline on the part of many in Washington limits our ability to fund important projects in our district.
As we work towards a healthy federal budget, one great place to start is Medicare fraud - it costs hard-working taxpayers more than a billion dollars every week. I have authored several pieces of legislation to tackle this issue head on, most notably the PRIME Act which was signed into law last year. Although there's still more work to be done on this important issue, passage of this legislation was a critical first step in eliminating fraud in the Medicare program.
What immigration policies do you support? Where, if at all, do you see room for compromise to produce an effective policy on immigration? How will these policies affect your district?
First and foremost we need to get serious about securing our borders. Any immigration reform we want to discuss is largely irrelevant if we are unable to control who enters and exits our country. This isn't just an economic and social issue - it's also a matter of national security. In the wake of terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California and around the globe we need to take a long, hard look at our immigration policies and close loopholes that can be exploited by those who mean us harm.
What should be the top priorities in Congress related to the Affordable Care Act? If you want changes, what specifically do you recommend? If you want the act entirely eliminated, please address these questions: Is that politically feasible? If it proves infeasible, where do you see the potential for compromise? If it is eliminated, what would you replace it with, if anything?
By almost every conceivable metric, the Affordable Care Act has been a failure. Americans have seen their healthcare plans cancelled and our options for doctors and healthcare services limited. Obamacare was designed so that most Americans pay more for less, and that's just what we've seen so far. I share the belief by many that we must repeal and replace this misguided and harmful law. However, repealing the law is unlikely in divided government, and in the meantime we must do all that we can to ensure taxpayer dollars are not squandered. That is why I have introduced legislation to create a single, high-level office with the ability to look beyond just one department or agency, and have the ability to release the facts, the data, and the decision-making that's behind Obamacare implementation in a way that no oversight official currently can. This will both cut down on the billions of dollars wasted and mismanaged in setting up and running Obamacare, and also give us important data to inform our decisions about how to create a better alternative that actually works for ordinary Americans.
Simply repealing Obamacare without a viable alternative is not an option. As a member of the Health Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee, I was proud to help author our better way forward on healthcare. Our patient-centered approach is designed to increase access to affordable, portable health insurance and spur competition among providers to lower costs.
What military or diplomatic roles should the United States play to promote peace and stability in the Mideast? Under what circumstances should we have military forces actively operating?
The United States has historically played an important role in promoting peace, stability, and freedom around the world. Over the past few years, we've seen what happens when our country refuses to provide that global leadership - we end up with a world that is less peaceful, less stable, and less free. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies and face to face with our adversaries.
Sadly, President Obama has abandoned our friends like Israel, Poland, and Ukraine, in order to appease adversarial regimes like Iran, Russia, and Cuba. I've introduced and passed legislation to fight efforts to delegitimize Israel and stood up to my own party's leadership to make it more difficult for the administration to eliminate sanctions against Iran. Just recently I introduced a bill to sanction Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for their support of terrorism around the globe.
Will you uphold the international climate change treaty? If not, what alternative steps would you advocate? If so, what steps will you take to meet U.S. obligations under the accord?
Under the Constitution, treaties must be ratified by the Senate before taking effect. Until that time, the U.S. has no legal requirement to participate. Any agreement must not put the United States at a competitive disadvantage with emerging and major economies such as China & India.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
The federal government has no greater responsibility than protecting the homeland. Contrary to the claims made by the President, Al Qaeda is not "on the run" and ISIS is not a "JV team." These are radical Islamic terrorists who seek the destruction of our way of life. We must fight and destroy the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and eliminate their ability to operate around the world.
The Tax Code has become so complex and burdensome that Americans and businesses spend over seven billion hours completing the paperwork and billions of dollars in compliance costs each year. Our tax code is so broken that American companies are fleeing the country, moving their headquarters overseas to escape the record high taxes they face here in the U.S. in a process called inversion. Put simply, our tax code is making America a bad place to do business and that means jobs and economic growth suffers while Washington does nothing.
Reforming the corporate tax code to make American businesses more competitive is vital, but we must also reform the personal income tax code to create a flatter, fairer system and let families and individuals keep more of their hard earned money. No one is defending the status quo. Regardless of who is elected President in November, bipartisan tax reform should be at the top of the agenda.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
My friend Congressman Sam Johnson has had an incredible journey, and he inspires me with his tireless work on behalf of the American people.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Always listen before you speak.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
We learn as much from our failures as from our successes, so I try to focus on learning from the past, not dwelling on it.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
In Glen Ellyn, my fourth grade teacher inspired me to pursue public service when we learned about the three branches of the federal government.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
My dad always told me, "Life is choices. Make good choices." I like to remind my four kids of those wise words as well.