Already eight months into his first term as congressman, 6th Dist. U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam is bracing for two major events in the nation's capital scheduled to be held after Labor Day.
One will be the highly-anticipated report General David Petraeus will present to Congress about the war in Iraq. Specially, Petraeus will tell the nation's top political leaders how the recent "surge" of additional troops deployed to Iraq has affected the United States' ability to control events in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.
The other event will be Congress' action on a new Appropriations bill that will dictate future spending on all federal levels. Roskam said a showdown is looming on this matter that could lead to a veto by President Bush followed by a congressional attempt to override the veto.
Roskam succeeded longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde in January after a tough election battle against Democrat Tammy Duckworth. For many years before his election victory, Roskam served as an Illinois state senator representing DuPage County communities.
The 6th Dist. serves western Des Plaines, southern Mt. Prospect, nearly all of Elk Grove Village and communities to the west.
"After eight months, what's fascinating about the institution is that when I was in Springfield I use to think the State of Illinois was big. But now I'm dealing with people from all over the U.S. as well as representatives from Puerto Rico and global issues," Roskam explained during a telephone interview Wednesday. An example is Congress' dealings now and in the future with the ever changing country of China.
"Our relationship with China has a significant impact on the 6th Dist.," Roskam continued. "I think China is in the midst of sorting out who they're going to be. Our economic premise is based on the fundamental premise that people have private rights and that intellectual property is protected and that we're a free people making free decisions in a free market. It's very dynamic. China in contrast does not have that in mind. They have a low view of people yet they're building massive economic growth on a shaky foundation. Either the foundation will change with more freedom or the opposite will happen."
On Iraq, Roskam reported that Congress is anxiously awaiting the appearance of General Petraeus. He will explain the situation in Iraq and whether or not the recent deployment of an additional 25,000 troops has had any positive effect.
"His appearance will be the next pivot point in decision making," Roskam said. "He's expected to come back in September and report. All of the other initiatives on the House floor are political."
As for the upcoming federal spending bill, Roskam said a major battle between Republicans and Democrats is brewing in Washington. He said that Democrats have introduced proposals that he calls "big and bloated" and the Senate has done nothing yet on the matter.
"The president has said he intends to veto it and if so we're looking at a big showdown on the spending side," Roskam said. "A lot of representatives feel like I do that government is spending too much money. I think we would sustain a veto which would bring everything back to the table."
Added Roskam about Iraq: "The mood of people in the 6th Dist. is that people want us to win in Iraq but they're frustrated that we've not been winning and it's taking so long. It's not just stay the course, but I think a majority of people want us to be successful in Iraq and use whatever means are possible so we don't have to fight a third war there."