Returning to the nation’s capitol for the lame-duck session of Congress this week, U.S. Representative Brad Schneider can hardly be described as a hobbled lawmaker.
Schneider scored a 30-point margin of victory over a new Republican challenger in the north suburban 10th Congressional District, where voters had flipped between Schneider and Republican Robert Dold during the last three election cycles by much narrower margins.
Schneider, 57, of Deerfield, won his first consecutive term Nov. 6 since voters first elected him in 2012. When the 116th Congress convenes in January, Democrats will hold a majority of U.S. House seats for the first time since 2010.
“Taking back the House significantly improves chances that Congress will exercise its constitutional responsibility to be a check and balance on the administration,” said Schneider. “The most important thing, I think, that we do is fulfill the responsibility that the founders envisioned for Congress to be a check and balance on the other branches of government.”
He added, “I am hopeful that Democrats can reach across the aisle and find Republicans to work with us on some of the issues that the nation is calling on us to focus on, whether that is making the economy work for everybody, improving health care for everybody or trying to address gun safety.”
Asked about his single highest priority, Schneider said his number one issue is always the economy and creating opportunities for all Americans, and particularly working families, to earn a middle-class lifestyle and achieve the American dream. He believes legislators of both parties would back continued support for innovation and investment in infrastructure.
“Those would not only help us not only invent and make things in the U.S., but to ship them around the world,” Schneider said.
He views improving access to health care as vital to growing the economy and giving people the opportunity to live healthy and fulfilled lives.
“We have to address healthcare and ending (Republicans’) sabotage of the Affordable Care Act,” Schneider said, speaking of the Obama administration’s initiative of 2010.
Schneider said the flight of some insurance carriers from the program was partly driven by the Trump administration’s decision to end the federal cost-sharing payments that paid a portion of the premiums and deductibles for lower-income families.
“The Trump administration suspended those payments and really put patients and insurance companies over the barrel,” Schneider said.
The north suburban congressman was part of a coalition that tried to get those payments restored last year without success.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put a $10,000 limit on the amount of property and other taxes that can be deducted from the federal income tax liability starting with the 2018 returns due next April. The tax reform plan also changed the rate structure and raised the standard deduction to $12,000, meaning fewer taxpayers are expected to itemize deductions.
“I do believe we can work to fix the elimination of the SALT deduction that is hurting so many families in Illinois and other states across the country,” Schneider said.
Schneider also is hopeful that headway on gun legislation can be made during the next legislative session. Two more mass shootings — one at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the other at a bar in California — claimed 23 lives in the days before and after the Nov. 6 election.
In October, Schneider announced his support for a bill aimed at closing a loophole that currently allows gun sellers with federal licenses to go ahead with a sale if an FBI background check is not completed within three business days.
Among other things, the Default Proceed Sale Transparency Act would require gun sellers to report those transactions to the FBI, and would require the FBI to publicly report the number of default sales and the number of times a gun was sold to an individual who should not have been able to purchase a firearm.
The 10th Congressional District runs along the North Shore from roughly Glencoe to the Wisconsin border and takes in northwest suburbs roughly from Prospect Heights to Fox Lake.
According to unofficial vote counts, Schneider won reelection with more than 65 percent of the vote to almost 35 percent for Republican Douglas Bennett, a computer consultant from Deerfield who won the Republican primary over two other candidates.
Schneider said his win Nov. 6 marked the first time that a Democrat has won a midterm election in the 10th Congressional District since 1978.
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November 12, 2018 at 02:09PM