Roskam Remains Hopeful Despite Super Committee Failure
Newest Lake County congressman share his ideas with Buffalo Grove crowd.
On a day the bipartisan congressional Super Committee charged with reducing the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion failed in its mission, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, still had a hopeful message for more than 30 people Monday in Buffalo Grove.
Roskam spoke at a fundraiser for Lake County Board President David Stolman, R-Buffalo Grove, giving a group including state Reps. Sid Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove, and Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, an update on the Washington legislative scene.
Roskam’s new 6th Congressional District now includes the southwestern portion of Lake County, including Barrington.
Acknowledging the Super Committee of six Republicans and six Democrats could not agree on ways to reduce the federal deficit as special legislation asked them to do in August, Roskam still sees ways to succeed despite automatic triggers in the legislation.
“I’m always hopeful,” he said after the event, recognizing the automatic solutions do not take effect until 2013. “Remedies are within our grasp. We should take a look at Lake County, where you have designed a budget where you have what you can afford.”
Roskam placed the blame for the failure on a lack of leadership from President Barack Obama and the inability of Democrats on the committee to formulate a plan for the group’s deliberations.
“The Republicans went in there in good faith and put a plan on the table,” Roskam said. “Rep. (James) Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third ranking Democrat in the House, said the Democrats have no plan. If you have no plan, you can’t negotiate.”
Rep. Robert Dold, R-Kenilworth, was also unhappy with the outcome of the Super Committee’s effort. He was one of 100 members of Congress — Roskam was not — including 40 Republicans who urged their colleagues to put everything on the table, including tax increases, to reach a deal.
“I was disappointed they could not reach a compromise,” Dold said at his care-givers event in Vernon Hills earlier in the day. “It’s important we work together. They rejected a plan that included $500 billion in revenue and $1 trillion in cuts to reach the $1.5 trillion.”
Before introducing Roskam, Stolman told the crowd Lake County had just passed its 2012 budget, whose spending level is $18 million less than in 2009. The county retains its AAA bond rating as well, Stolman said.
Stolman was not pleased that the federal government was unable to find bipartisan solutions when he feels that has helped him engineer solutions for the county.
“I was disappointed by the Super Committee being unable to meet its obligations,” Stolman said. “We have to be able to work with both sides to get things done. That is the only we make it work here” in Lake County.
A crowd of Republicans was tough on Roskam. Marty Sussman of Buffalo Grove wanted to know why the Republicans would not agree to increasing income tax rates on very high earners as a concession to Democrats to reach a Super Committee compromise.
“It doesn’t stop with the billionaires and it doesn’t stop with the millionaires,” Roskam said of a tax hike for the wealthy. He expressed a fear that it eventually would stifle entrepreneurs who he considers job creators.
Roskam does see a reform of the Internal Revenue Code as the primary solution for the country to grow its way out of the current economic situation. He thinks rates should be more competitive with other countries so businesses want to grow here.
“The tax code is a disaster,” Roskam said. “We need a low flat rate that is rational. If we do that revenue will go up because dynamic things are happening,” he added describing the benefits of economic growth.
Howard Simpson of Lake Forest also wanted to know why some were unwilling to make even a 5 percent or 10 percent move to stimulate bipartisan deal-making. Roskam responded that people need certainty from government.
“We need the right relationship between the government and the private sector,” Roskam said. “The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) needs to use a cost-benefit analysis. The environment is important, but they (the EPA) need to know the right questions to ask.”
Larry Falbe of Metawa had more political concerns. He wanted to know how Roskam and his colleagues would respond to the attacks he expects President Obama to make on Congress in the 2012 election.
“As many voices as possible must be heard and they must be consistent,” Roskam said. “His (the president’s) bully pulpit is no small thing. We have to continue to make a rational economic point of view.”