DIXON – U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the so-called fiscal cliff has dominated the conversation in Washington, D.C., since his re-election.
Kinzinger, R-Manteno, defeated Democrat Wanda Rohl, a hospice worker from the Ottawa area, on Nov. 6. He serves the newly redrawn 16th District, which includes all of Lee County.
Kinzinger believes Democrats haven’t offered any serious spending cut proposals to avert the program cuts and tax hikes that will come if both parties don’t reach a compromise by the end of the year.
The term fiscal cliff refers to a combination of forced cuts and tax increases worth more than $500 billion. The best-known parts are the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the automatic across-the-board cuts to federal spending.
Kinzinger challenged President Barack Obama to produce such proposals, and criticized the president for traveling to Pennsylvania to hold what he called a big rally this week.
“We don’t believe increasing taxes solves anything,” Kinzinger said. “It just actually hurts the economy, and the economy’s the issue. But, after the election, Speaker [John] Boehner came out and said, ‘We’re going to put revenue on the table.’ We did. That was a big move for Republicans to say we want to compromise.”
Kinzinger, 34, who has served 2 years, also reflected on the diversity of the new 113th Congress, which includes a record number of women, African-Americans, Asians and Latinos.
“Congress should and ought to reflect the country in general,” he said. “I believe you’re seeing that. One thing I’ve been very excited about is more youth. I think this has to do with the rise of social media, the fact that young people can now be seen seriously in the political spectrum.”
Kinzinger said members of his generation and even younger Americans should be involved, because they are the ones who are “paying the bills of reckless spending of generations prior.”
He said he was “disappointed” that U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, was unseated by Democrat Cheri Bustos in the 17th District, which represents all of Whiteside County.
He hasn’t yet had a conversation with Bustos, but expects to soon, he said, adding that he wouldn’t let political differences stand in the way of serving.
“When it comes to representing local issues, partisanship gets thrown out the window, and so I look forward to working with the congressmen in all the neighboring districts to fight for the folks that I represent,” he said.
Kinzinger recently opened a large office in Ottawa, about an hour from Dixon, but doesn’t plan to open one in Dixon at this time.
He was to meet Thursday evening with Dixon Chamber of Commerce members, to discuss the future of business development in Dixon and how to keep young people from leaving the area after they graduate.