By Kate Hicks
The October issue of Townhall Magazine features a in-depth interview with Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL) about his position as "listener-in-chief," his efforts on reforming the tax code and his experiences debating President Obama.
On his time in the Illinois Legislature with Barack Obama:
"Roskam has something that no one else in Washington has, however: experience working with then-state Sen. Barack Obama in the Illinois state legislature. The two were on the judiciary committee together and collaborated to reform the state's death penalty laws. Roskam can attest to the fact that, despite his reluctance to do so now, President Obama is capable of bipartisanship when he chooses to be.
"'[H]e came at it from the point of view of wanting to abolish the death penalty, I came at it from the point of view of supporting the death penalty, but wanting to make sure that it worked correctly,' Roskam says. "And we were able to work together and gain the support of the ACLU, and the defense bar, and the prosecutors and police, and come up with something that passed the House, the Senate unanimously, and was signed into law.'"
On reforming the tax code and Medicare:
"'There's a real opportunity -- there is this growing recognition that the status quo on taxes is completely dissatisfactory, that it's holding the U.S. back vis-à-vis international competitors, and we can do something about it," he says. "[Y]ou can imagine putting a lot of pressure on a United States Senate, regardless of how it's configured, in order to move something forward that could be great for our country.'
"Besides tax policy, however, Roskam has also been leading the way toward -- and gathering broad support for -- Medicare fraud reform. He says that about $50 billion in questionable Medicare payments are administered each year because the program currently uses a "pay and chase" system, which doesn't verify claims before cutting a check.
"'You don't just pay a bill if you get one. It's ridiculous. So the idea is to change that framework, and instead change to what is known as predictive modeling,' he says."