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U.S. House, Dist. 6: Peter J. Roskam

Political affiliation: Republican

City: Wheaton

Marital status: Married

Occupation/Firm name: No response

Campaign HQ address: 333 S. Cross, Wheaton

Campaign website:

What is your campaign budget- No response

What are your top priorities for the nation-

Our nation needs a clear and positive agenda for economic growth and job creation. Eighteen months after passing a $1 trillion stimulus bill and predicting the national unemployment rate would peak at 8%, President Obama continues to vacillate from one "message of the day" to another, without ever focusing on the serious economic challenges facing American families. Meanwhile, our economy remains sluggish, national unemployment stands at 9.5%, and unemployment in Illinois is a daunting 10.3%. We need to create certainty in the marketplace to unfreeze the kind of investment that creates jobs and higher wages. We need to eliminate burdensome regulations so that small and medium-sized businesses can focus their time and energy on innovation and growth. Finally, we need to take decisive action to rein in the government's over-borrowing and over-spending that is creating a dragging effect on our economy today and piling up a mountain of debt for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district- As I travel throughout the 6th Congressional District, I speak to countless families who are personally struggling, or who know someone struggling with unemployment or under-employment. Illinois' economic situation is among the worst in the nation and requires immediate attention to get us back on the road to prosperity. That's why I hosted a job fair in July bringing together more than 100 employers and 2,000 job seekers. As the only Illinois Republican on the tax writing Ways and Means Committee, I am also a leading proponent of extending the much-needed tax relief of the last decade that will allow families and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. Stopping a massive tax hike is especially critical for small businesses, where every dollar in new taxes owed is a dollar that cannot go to pay current employees or be used to hire new workers. According to a recent analysis by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), fully 94% of small businesses file their taxes under the individual income tax system and would be hurt by scheduled tax increases. As the Congressman for a socio-economically diverse district, I am also committed to real and meaningful healthcare reform to bring the skyrocketing cost of healthcare under control. I believe every American man, woman, and child deserves access to quality, affordable care. Finally, I believe that government spending under the leadership of both parties has gotten out of control. We need to create budget priorities and make the tough decisions necessary to live within our means instead of continuing to race off the edge of a spending cliff.

The recession continues. What are its causes and how do we end it- Do you favor more federal "stimulus" spending to create more jobs- Fundamentally, we have to recognize as a nation that our economic troubles were precipitated by an irresponsible spree of borrowing and spending. Unfortunately, rather than learning from our mistake and making the difficult decisions needed to get runaway spending under control, this Administration and Congress only continue to perpetuate the problem. Currently, 41 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government is borrowed money. This year, just one month after celebrating Independence Day and the beginning of America's quest for liberty and opportunity, we reached another important milestone: Debt Dependence Day. This unsavory holiday arrived on August 4, 2010, and from that day on, every dollar of federal spending was a dollar borrowed against the hope and promise of our children and grandchildren. In addition to reckless spending problems, this Congress has passed law after laws that make the American marketplace a bad place to do business. From a $1 trillion healthcare overhaul that places an enormous financial and paperwork burden on American small businesses to a House-passed cap-and-trade bill that will raise the price of energy for firms already struggling in a down economy, this Congress continues to erect obstacles to small business growth and job creation. As business owners have repeatedly told me, uncertainty can be worse than bad news. Unfortunately Congress is taking no steps to promote the transparency and predictability that will spur renewed investment and job creation. That's why there is nearly $2 trillion in business capital simply sitting on the sidelines as investors wait for the ground to stop shifting under their feet. We are more than 8 months into a fiscal year, and yet there is complete ambiguity about the tax code. With no clear understanding of the rules of the game tomorrow, let alone a year from now, individuals and businesses are choosing to just keep their money aside. Those are dollars that should be engaged in support research, development, expansion and job creation right now. By reining in out-of-control spending, eliminating burdensome regulation and creating certainty in the economy, we can once again foster the innovation and investment that will create new jobs and put us back on the road to prosperity.

Is global warming real- Is it man-made- What, if anything, should be done about it- And do you favor a national cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon emissions- There are many well-respected scientists on both sides of the global warming debate. Indeed, I've heard spirited debate among witnesses testifying before the House Ways & Means Committee on which I serve. What is clear to me is that a dramatic national energy tax in the form of a cap-and-trade program will raise energy costs and hurt American families and small businesses, while doing little to curb emissions or promote a new energy economy. This heavy-handed approach will stifle economic growth and impede the exact recovery we're aiming for. Instead of having the government dictate who gets to use which energy and how, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy. By expanding domestic exploration, investing in alternative and renewable energy production and promoting conservation, we can unleash the power of innovation in the private sector to develop the next generation of energy technology. Instead of approaching energy producers as the enemy, we need to enlist their experience in developing forward-looking solutions as we transition away from fossil fuels at a rational pace. An embrace of nuclear power, and its dramatic advancements in safety, could provide a tremendous boost to emissions free power.

As a representative, would you favor changes in the health care reforms pushed through Congress by President Obama- What exactly would you change- It is my hope that Congress will revisit the recently enacted healthcare law. For one thing, I will advocate for a system that lowers the cost of health insurance, thus bending the healthcare cost curve downward and fulfilling one of President Obama's promises to the American people. Unfortunately, the recently passed law falls short of the mark. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the healthcare law will increase individual market insurance premiums by an average of $2,100 for a family of four in five years relative to current law due to high benefit mandates and increased Federal regulation. The House Republican proposal offered a better way forward and would decrease average health insurance premiums for a family of four by $1,050 in five years by allowing greater consumer choice in the health insurance market through interstate competition. Coverage can be expanded by lowering the cost of healthcare instead of shifting increased costs onto the federal government.

Access to quality healthcare services should be our aspiration. Printing every American an insurance card is meaningless if they have to suffer long waits, high costs and other obstacles to obtain the care they need. Half of the coverage expansion under this law is accomplished by expanding Medicaid, despite the fact that Medicaid beneficiaries have difficulty finding access to physician services and are forced to seek care through prohibitively expensive emergency departments. One in five Illinoisans are already covered by Medicaid and 650,000 newly eligible beneficiaries will soon join them in struggling to find access to quality healthcare services. Expanding and promoting health savings accounts, the fastest growing insurance coverage option for Americans, is a better alternative to expand coverage and access that has proven successful in both the public and private sectors.

Numerous burdens also need to be lifted. For example, any business-to-business transaction above $600 will now require 1099 Form reporting to the IRS. More regulation and overreach from the Federal government hurts the very small businesses we are counting on to create jobs. Repealing provisions that stifle economic growth is necessary.

Finally, we could use better fraud, waste, and abuse eradication tools. During the healthcare debate, I offered a proposal to apply the same point-of-sale anti-fraud technology used by the credit card industry to process trillions of dollars in transactions annually while keeping fraud to a miniscule rate of 0.047%. By contrast, as much as 10% of Medicare's claims are erroneously paid. My amendment was rejected on a disappointingly party-line vote. However, the White House Director of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle expressed interest, and my proposal was included in the President's outline for healthcare reform ahead of the White House Health Summit which I attended earlier this year. Ultimately, in the rush to jam something through Congress, this commonsense anti-fraud solution was omitted from the final bill, denying even the opportunity for an up-or-down vote. I continue to be in touch with the White House to seek partnership in passing this important legislation and ultimately ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used to provide health services and not lining the pockets of greedy scam artists.

What should the American military and political strategy be in Afghanistan- How would you define "success" for the United States in the war, and at what point could we withdraw our troops- The Coalition Forces' military and political strategy in Afghanistan should be to establish the level of security and stability necessary to prevent the country from being used again as a base for attacks on the United States and our allies. That goal encompasses an independent police force, transparency and accountability in the rule of law, and a democratically elected government free from the destructive grasp of corruption. Troop withdrawal should be done in coordination with the Afghans and be contingent on the successful training and reliability of the country's own security forces.

What should be the American military and political strategy in Iraq-

The American military has continued to withdraw combat troops while American reconstruction resources have been increasingly deployed in accordance with the requests of our Iraqi partners. Iraqi security forces have been able to grow in their ability to manage local security because of the consultation and support provided by partnership with our military. Our political strategy has always centered around creating a long time ally in the region by helping Iraqis rebuild their basic infrastructure and commerce so they can provide sustainable jobs and opportunities for their citizens.

What should be done to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons-

Virtually everyone agrees that a nuclear armed Iran is an unacceptably dangerous scenario for the tenuous security situation in the Middle East, our ally Israel, and the United States. I believe that tough, enforceable sanctions and political pressure are necessary to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The United States must continue to impose the highest level sanctions available as enacted by both Congress and the U.N. Security Council, and should also work with the international community to ensure that all nations are aggressively implementing sanctions against Iran. One positive sign of progress in executing this strategy can be seen in the fact that since the latest U.N. sanctions were passed earlier this year the amount of refined petroleum imported to Iran and has been cut in half.

Will the United States ever have a comprehensive policy on immigration- What should it be- And what is your view of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and the recent federal appellate court ruling striking down its key provisions- To be sure, the United States must revamp our outdated immigration policies. In order to have the type of open dialogue necessary for change, we must first stop the bleeding by securing our porous borders. Until we have addressed the root cause of this problem, progress on many immigration-related issues will remain elusive.

We are a nation of immigrants and have always opened our doors to hardworking individuals and families seeking a better life. In fact the United States currently brings in more than 1 million legal immigrants each and every year, more than all other countries combined. Our immigration system is welcoming, but cumbersome paperwork and regulations present challenges for families working to be reunited, businesses looking to fill specialty positions, and displaced persons in need of refuge.

Having read Arizona Senate Bill 1070, I believe it is an unfortunate reflection of the federal government's failure to secure our border and enforce existing immigration law. Just this month a new report from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) showed the number of arrests and deportation of illegal immigrants has dropped more than 80% since 2008. I support the Arizona law because it reaffirms current federal law, which allows law enforcement officials to request proof of citizenship from those suspected of committing a crime. This law also puts in place a strict system to ensure respect for the rights of citizens, and I believe that those efforts must be implemented with utmost seriousness.

Please comment on the president's education agenda, specifically on the Race to the Top competition that emphasizes core national standards and tests and the use of student test data to evaluate and reward teachersWhile the federal government plays a relatively minor role in funding public education in this country, it is exerting increasing control over state and local education prerogatives. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that federal money represents only nine percent of total education spending nationally. With so much "skin in the game," it is clear that state and local governments shouldering the bulk of the costs should have much greater autonomy on how those dollars are spent. Unfortunately, the President's education agenda takes exactly the opposite course.

That said, I believe that President's Race to the Top initiative has prompted some promising discussions about educational reform in the State of Illinois. For example, reforms like expanding school choice, increasing charter school caps and investing in technology databases to measure progress and results would all help to improve the quality of education our children are receiving. Though Illinois has twice failed to qualify for funding under the Race to the Top program, I believe these types of reforms are worth pursuing.

What is your position on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act-

I support the Defense of Marriage Act.

What should be our nation's policy toward the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana-

I oppose the legalization of marijuana.

The United States continues to hold "enemy combatants," uncharged, at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Is indefinite detention without charges acceptable- If so, for how long- And are military commissions an acceptable alternative to civilian courts- I respect and agree with our military leaders that any closure or movement of enemy combatants should be based on a full review of the security and legal implications by the Justice Department. I remain opposed to transferring Guantanamo detainees to Illinois, or anywhere in the U.S., while Congress awaits more detailed information on the individuals, the cases surrounding their detention, and the Justice Department's proposed plans for resolving each detainee's final status. Ultimately, these decisions need to be made with the safety and security of American lives as the top priority.

List your educational backgroundB.A., political science, University of Illinois

J.D., IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government- Member, Illinois House of Representatives, 1993-1999

Republican Whip & Floor Leader, Illinois Senate, 2000-2006

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government


Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed

Federal election law limits the maximum individual contribution to $2,400 per election. The maximum PAC contribution is set at $5,000 per election. The following eight groups have each given $5,000 to my 2010 primary and general election campaigns: American College of Radiology; Caterpillar, Inc.; Investment Co. Institute; Operating Engineers Union; Edison; Abbott Labs; New York Life Insurance; Carpenters and Joiners Union.

Please paste a brief biography herePeter Roskam is the U.S. Representative for the Sixth District of Illinois. First elected in 2006, Roskam has been recognized by The Hill as the "most up-and-coming member of Congress."

He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, serves as a Deputy Republican Whip, and is co-chair of the Republican Israel caucus. Roskam also leads a bipartisan working group dedicated to making the long-stalled US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement a reality.

Roskam was recently named Vice-Chair of, a platform created by Republicans to give voters a stronger voice to help shape the Republican agenda. As the Jobs Policy Director of the America Speaking Out initiative, he is responsible for crafting the House Republican strategy on how to stimulate job growth and will meet with small-business owners and other job creators to develop the economic plank of a new conference platform.

Roskam and Kevin McCarthy, Chairman of America Speaking Out, were recently recognized by Congressional Quarterly for their technical and political savvy. "Colleagues view them as two of the more adept GOP House members at understanding the online world and the potential of social networking sites to reach young and new voters. Both are from the Democratic-dominated states, where experience has shown that Republicans need to try some new techniques for selling their message."

In 1993 Roskam was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives where he served six years. In 2000, he was appointed to the Illinois Senate and served in the leadership as the Republican Whip and Floor Leader. He has received numerous awards from businesses, health care and pro-family organizations. He has also earned the praise of environmental and law enforcement groups for his leadership. In 2010, the national good government group Citizens Against Government Waste named him "Hero of the Taxpayer."

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and his law degree from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. He took a hiatus from his legal studies to teach high school history and government in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Following law school, Peter pursued his interest in public policy and moved to our nation's capitol, where he worked for then freshman Congressman Tom DeLay and his predecessor from the Sixth District, Congressman Henry Hyde.

Back in Illinois, Peter served as Executive Director of Educational Assistance Ltd., a nonprofit scholarship program for disadvantaged youngsters. This organization received President Reagan's Volunteer Action Award for outstanding service to the community.

Peter's roots in the district go back to Hill Avenue in Glen Ellyn where he lived as a toddler. Growing up, Peter started a house cleaning service, served as Student Senate President at Glenbard West High School and was a varsity gymnast. At one point, he bicycled across America - from San Diego to Virginia Beach.

During his years on Capitol Hill, Peter met his wife Elizabeth. Congressman and Mrs. Roskam now live in Wheaton where they are raising their four children. #Comments_Container, #Comments_Container1,#commentsonly,.StoryInteract{display:none;}