When U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock visited Quincy on Tuesday he set the record straight on some misconceptions about Congress.
Among his comments were:
• Republicans did not win control of the federal government last November. “We won one-half of one-third of the government,” in the form of majority status in the U.S. House. (That would represent half the Legislative branch, since the U.S. Senate is still in Democratic hands. President Obama is a Democrat, giving that party the Executive branch. Some might quibble with Schock’s unspoken contention that the Judicial branch is in Democratic hands.)
• According to a poll, about half of Americans think they could solve the nation’s debt by ending foreign aid, cutting salaries for members of Congress and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse of government programs. “That’s less than 2 percent of a $3.5 trillion budget” and is not going to wipe out the debt, Schock said.
• Trade agreements help the U.S., Schock said. “Every country we have a trade agreement with, we sell more to them than we buy,” he said.
• Congressional redistricting maps, which are still to be released by Democrats in the Illinois Legislature, are expected to slam Republicans in the collar counties around Chicago more than other parts of the state. Schock said Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan said, “Illinois is going to lose a seat in the U.S. House, and it’s not going to be in Chicago.” That would indicate that even though Chicago lost population, the new districts there will be stretched out into suburban areas where Republicans have generally won congressional seats.
• Congress is not getting cost of living adjustments. “Congress has not gotten a pay increase in eight years,” Schock said.
• Pictures on the cover of Men’s Health showing Schock’s abdominal muscles are meant to show that the 29-year-old member of Congress is physically fit. He mildly corrected a Quincy High School senior who said the goal was to make Schock look buff.