congress

Amanda Vinicky

An Illinois Republican Party elder statesman is endorsing State Senator Darin LaHood's bid for U.S. Congress.

Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says he's known LaHood for 20 years, "and I can't think of anyone that would be better qualified to serve this Congressional district; and by this Congressional district, he'll be my Congressman."

"He is a very thoughtful, no-nonsense young man," he says.

LaHood is one of three G-O-P candidates vying for the 18th Congressional seat vacated by Peoria's Aaron Schock following an ethics scandal.

Lee Strubinger/WUIS

Illinois' Congressional delegation is trying to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise how it distributes aid after natural disasters. As WUIS has previously reported, the lawmakers tried before to no avail.

When a tornado touched down in southern Illinois several years ago, devastating the small town of Harrisburg, FEMA turned down Illinois' request for disaster assistance.

Former U.S. Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, a former Marine who fought for veterans' rights during his 24 years in office, has died after a long fight with Parkinson's disease.  

His legal guardian and former congressional staffer Michael Malmstrom says Evans died Wednesday at a nursing home in East Moline, Illinois.  
The Democrat was 63.  

RodneyDavis.house.gop

Congressman Rodney Davis says despite pundits calling attention to what might be an historic low for passing bills, this congress can point to some key accomplishments. 

"Just a few months ago, we were able to pass a long term farm bill that had been held up by political, partisan purposes," he said.    "That bill also saved taxpayers $23 billion in unnecessary spending, got rid of direct payments and made sure that those who need food assistance are going to get food assistance."

Services are scheduled for next weekend for late former U.S. Rep. Ken Gray of southern Illinois.
 
 Gray was 89-years-old when he died Saturday at a Herrin hospital after a long
illness.
 
 The Democrat represented Illinois in Congress for a dozen terms and was known
for his colorful style. His ability to bring $7 billion in federal funding to
his economically depressed district earned him the nickname the ``Prince of
Pork.''
 
 Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort says Gray's services will be at 4

13th Dist. Congressional Candidate Erika Harold

Feb 26, 2014
Jim Meadows/WILL

Over the next few weeks, you'll be hearing from Congressional candidates running in Illinois' 13th District. There are three Republicans and three Democrats seeking their party's nomination.  

Attorney Erika Harold (R-Urbana) is making her second run for Congress. Two years ago, she tried to replace former Congressman Tim Johnson on the ballot after Johnson announced plans to retire from politics. But Republican Party chairs instead chose incumbent Rodney Davis.

Harold talks with  Sean Powers about her campaign and what she hopes to accomplish.

Sen. Dick Durbin
Hannah Meisel / WUIS

  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is criticizing the Republican field of candidates governor for their stances on low-income workers and the unemployed.

It's an ongoing battle the Democratic senator is fighting in Congress, mirrored in the race for the governor's mansion: raising the minimum wage.

The four Republican candidates for governor oppose raising the minimum wage in Illinois, which is currently $8.25 an hour.

One reason they've given is that mostly high school and college students work minimum wage jobs. Senator Durbin says that isn't so.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05/sets/
Ron Cogswell

  The U.S. House is set to vote on a new farm bill Wednesday, after House and Senate negotiators earlier this week agreed on compromise legislation combining each chambers' drafts.

This 2014 farm bill has been a long time coming.  At least one farm bill watcher from the Midwest is pleased that Congress has finally reached an agreement on the farm bill after years of debate.

  Jonathan Coppess, who teaches law and policy at the University of Illinois, says negotiations dragged due to the size - roughly one trillion dollars - and complexity of the bill.

Farm Bill Talks Fall Through

Nov 22, 2013
flickr/andrewmalone

Though farm bill talks heated up this week in Washington, key legislators emerged from negotiations Thursday disappointed and predicted there would be no progress until after Congress returns in December from its recess.

npr

Denny Hastert wasn't the Speaker of the U.S. House during the last government shutdown, but he was an Illinois Congressman in 1995 and '96. He told Amanda Vinicky this time is different.

Hastert says back then, Republicans were trying to get a handle on spending. He says it worked.

Federal Shutdown Leads To Worries In Illinois

Oct 3, 2013
wikipedia

The federal government's partial shutdown is worrying some Illinois state workers and retirees.
 
That's because recipients of various state health insurance programs need to
get documents from the IRS by a late October deadline in order to prove that
their dependents should still be eligible to receive coverage.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports
(http://bit.ly/1btoZUS ) the ongoing government shutdown means that the IRS
isn't providing the federal transcripts.
 

Tammy Duckworth
defense.gov

The election in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District was defined by personalities, by national ideological and demographic trends and by political realities specific to Illinois. In one corner, Hoffman Estates Democrat Tammy Duckworth, born in Thailand, became another data point in a sweeping national victory for Democrats and the progressive left. In the other, Republican Joe Walsh, the incumbent and an outspoken member of the Tea Party wave that took the House in 2010, became another casualty in a Congress that will be less male and Caucasian than any before.

One of your own as speaker of the U.S. House, the most powerful individual on Capitol Hill? It doesn't get any better than that.

Illinois enjoyed that designation for eight years when Republican Dennis Hastert, a former history teacher and wrestling coach from Yorkville, held the post. Now it's California's turn — Democrat Nancy Pelosi's turn — with the speaker's gavel.

Someone with a decent arm could stand in Springfield and throw a ball from one of the city's congressional districts over another district and into a third. That's because the 17th District, flanked by the 18th on the north and the 19th on the south, gets as narrow as the width of a road when it snakes through the more affluent neighborhoods on Springfield's west side. Once on the city's east side, with its poor and working-class neighborhoods, the district flares back out. This is a shape designed to bypass likely Republicans and capture likely Democrats.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's January 17 appearance before the news media spoke volumes about the troubles facing the Republican majority in Congress. The traditionally camera-shy Illinoisan is vastly more comfortable working behind closed doors.

Exactly two weeks earlier, Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal influence-peddling and fraud charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in ongoing investigations of lawmakers and congressional staff.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

We open this eighth annual arts issue with a question. Several, really. None easily answered. 

The essential one is this: Are we ceding our right to decide what we will read in the privacy of our homes, what we will hear on our car radios or what we will see in theaters and galleries to that so-called most-democratic of forces, the marketplace? 

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In the Chicago area, two of the season’s most beloved traditions are the Apollo Chorus’ performance of Handel’s Messiah at Orchestra Hall and the Joffrey Ballet’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre. Both classics are performed by other artists elsewhere across the state, of course, including here in Springfield.