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Newly elected Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) was in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago for an orientation session that featured over 80 freshmen legislators who will take office Jan. 3.
What he found was a passionate group of new House and Senate members he hopes will be willing to embrace change.
“The ones I met on both sides of the aisle seem like they are going to be very active and very boisterous in trying to make some substantive changes,” said Davis in a stop in Monticello Nov. 20.
The biggest change he would like to see is the way the government handles its finances, from both taxing and spending perspectives.
“The most important issues is get a permanent fix to the ‘fiscal cliff.’ Temporary fixes are just kicking the can down the road,” said the congressman-elect for the 14-county district.
“To fix the fiscal cliff permanently we need to keep our tax rates low so that job creators can invest in people and create jobs. We also need to control wasteful spending and cut wasteful spending, and control spending overall. Then we need to put America on a debt repayment plan.”
And while he is somewhat skeptical that a Congress that has seen its share of gridlock on those very issues the past two years, he is hopeful the job can get done.
“As long as we have vision, we can get there,” he said.
The other major item on Davis’ agenda is passage of a new Comprehensive Farm Bill. The issue may be taken care of by the current Congress in its so-called lame duck session, but it may wait until the new House and Senate arrive in January. Either way, he said it’s too important to ignore.
“It’s a failure of both Republicans and Democrats that they have not addressed the Comprehensive Farm Bill already,” he added. “I’m sick and tired of both parties kicking important issues like these down the road just for political gain.”
The 2008 farm bill expired in October. If a new one is not approved, farm policy reverts to the 1949 document, the last permanent one that was passed. Other farm bills approved since that time were all temporary in nature.
Rep. Timothy Johnson, the man Davis will replace, is hoping the farm bill can be approved before the end of the year.
“After facing a historic drought this year, farmers saw tremendous drops in yields and profit margins. But they had a safety net – crop insurance – to protect against losses,”said Johnson (R-Urbana).
“Now they are planning 2013 crops. Without action soon, without enactment of a new safety net, producers in my district and across the country are facing uncertainty and possibly dire consequences.”
District offices to be determined
Davis is in his second week of orientation in Washington, D.C. this week. He is busy putting together a staff, but says he will not know where he will place offices in Illinois until his congressional budget is approved in December.