Americans have lost faith in their government, and I don't blame them. Numerous elected officials, especially here in Illinois, have been indicted for corruption. And special federal appropriations, or earmarks, have been requested for a range of dubious projects, from the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere,' to a Christmas Tree Museum.
We need to take bold steps towards ending the culture of waste, corruption, and runaway spending. That's why I took a earmark moratorium to press the reset button on how Washington makes spending decisions, and push through meaningful reforms that will actually lead to a reduction in spending, not just a rebranding of the same old outrageous habits. It's also why I was proud to vote for an earmark moratorium last year.
Americans deserve a better, more transparent and ethical government. And I'll continue to fight for no less.
Congress also needs to work together to address the challenges confronting America.
Whether it's cutting waste or creating jobs, I've always put results over politics.
As a former school board president and long-time community volunteer, I have a proven track record of listening to constituents and bringing people together to find solutions that work. I approach my work in Congress with the same spirit, which is why I was honored when my peers on the other side of the aisle voted me one of the "Ten Most Bipartisan" members of the House.
This past year, I again put that philosophy to work as Chairman of the House Insurance and Housing Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the nation's flood insurance program. Working with every group -- from insurers to consumers to environmentalists, realtors and others -- and every member of Congress, representing diverse areas across the nation, we crafted compromise legislation to finally revamp and reauthorize our nation's outdated flood insurance program. Starting with a working draft (instead of a bill), and taking input from all sides, we addressed everyone's concerns; no one got everything but everyone was satisfied. Passed out of committee by a vote of 54-0 and by the full House by a vote of 406-22, the bill became one of a handful of major reform packages passed by the House in 2011 and may become law in 2012.