Dold Town Hall Crowd Blasts Republican Leadership
Local congressman spared some of the criticism.
A crowd of more than 60 people lashed out at Congressional leadership and partisan bickering in Washington during a town hall hosted by Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) Saturday in Wheeling.
The attendees, while angry, spared the North Shore legislator some of their wrath.
“You are one reasonable man in a sea of politicians who are thinking like politicians and not about us,” Vernon Hills resident Rich Lachman told Dold Saturday. “Please act like a reasonable man for the people who pay your salary.”
During Dold’s opening 40-minute presentation, the congressman said the federal government had three deficits to deal with, a jobs deficit, a budget deficit and a leadership deficit.
Jodi Wilson of Northbrook jumped on the leadership issue.
“You say there’s a lack of leadership,” Wilson said. “What about Mitch McConnell? He has said his sole purpose is defeating President Obama. What kind of leadership is that?”
Breaking from the party lines
When questioned after the meeting, Dold told Patch he broke with his party as recently as Sept. 30 when he voted against the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act.
Dold was one of three Republicans to join 166 Democrats, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), opposing legislation that would have required the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the economic impact as well as the environmental consequences of businesses' actions.
“Companies like Exelon [the parent corporation of ComEd] have had enough time to comply,” Dold said. “They should be able to plan for it now.”
A number of people, like Highland Park resident Skip Jacobs, questioned Dold about letting the tax cuts passed during the administration of former President George W. Bush expire as a way to reduce the budget deficit.
“One way to reduce the budget is to curb expenses,” Jacobs said. “No one is talking about revenue. Taxes are a way of meeting the budget. There is a ying and a yang.”
Earlier, Dold had said he wants to reform the Internal Revenue Code to lower the corporate tax rate—a level he calls one of the world’s highest—and eliminate loopholes.
“This will broaden the revenue base and level the playing field for small business [to compete with larger corporations].”
Questions about jobs, taxes
When Juli Cicarelli of Arlington Heights asked if he signed Grover Norquist's pledge to never raise taxes, which has been signed by a number of Republican politicians, Dold admitted that he did.
"Wouldn’t he [Norquist] consider [corporate tax rate reform] a tax increase?” Wilson asked.
“He would,” Dold responded, giving another example of his departure from what some in the room consider "Republican orthodoxy.”
When it came time for questions, Elizabeth Bloom Albert of Highland Park made it clear to what was important to many in the room.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” she said. Many wanted to know Dold’s position on President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act.
“I agree with [Obama] on the payroll tax and regulations,” Dold said. “We need to find the areas where we agree and pass those. Nothing will pass without broad bipartisan support.”
Dold has said on many occasions, and repeated on Saturday, that the government should create an atmosphere of certainty so the private sector feels comfortable investing in growth and hiring more people.
“We have 29 million small businesses in this country,” Dold said. “If we can create an environment where half of them hire one person, we’ll be much better off.”
Lachman, who described himself as a small business owner, was one of several people who expressed concerns about health care expenses.
“I pay $29,000 a year for my wife and I to be insured and I’m just glad to be renewed. That’s what keeps me up at night,” Lachman said.
Dold responded that the health care legislation passed into law by the Obama administration two years ago, before Dold became a member of Congress in January, was the current law of the land.