Following the U.S. Senate's unanimous vote to avoid responsibility and not govern before going home, U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) today spoke to the need for elected officials to lead by example.
"Members of Congress have an obligation to lead by example," Schilling said. "That's the only way to start seriously tackling our nation's fiscal problems. I've done my best to cut back on spending in my own office--I proudly voted to cut congressional office budgets by more than 10 percent, and in addition to that my office returned an extra $110,000 to the taxpayers."
Schilling said some may see that as "too small of a savings."
"I don't believe in 'too small of a savings,'" Schilling said. "On its own, saving $110,000 won't solve our debt crisis. But I'm a firm believer that thousands saved turn into millions saved, which eventually turn into billions and trillions saved. Solving our budget crisis has to start somewhere, and I believe it starts with us leading by example in Washington."
Members of Congress are allotted a Members Representational Allowance (MRA), which is designated to pay for staff salaries, office supplies, and other operational costs. Schilling spent $405,018 less on staff salaries and office expenses in 2011 than his predecessor did in 2010, while increasing his office's level of communication with constituents to unprecedented levels, resulting in hundreds of new cases and thousands of constituents reaching out on legislative issues.
Schilling said that he is proud of his record of fiscal responsibility, and he pointed out that he and his opponent have very different records.
"I'm focused on finding savings wherever I can, and I'm willing to work with Democrats, Republicans, whoever--as long as we can find solutions and get things done," Schilling said. "My opponent had a very different record before she quit as an alderwoman in East Moline. She voted repeatedly for tax increases and fee hikes, while presiding over a million-dollar deficit. It's scary to think what would happen if we gave her a few extra zeroes and let her take her tax and spend policies to Washington."