Rush Second Longest Serving Member from the 1st Congressional District
CONTACT: Debra Johnson
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) was sworn in for his 11th term on Thursday, January 3rd making him the 2nd longest serving congressman from the First Congressional District of Illinois. The late William L. Dawson served 14 terms making him the longest serving representative of the First District.
Congressman Rush will serve in the 113th United States Congress as a senior Democratic ranking member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee. Key initiatives for Congressman Rush this term will cover a wide reaching scope of issues that cohesively address the most critical needs of Illinois’ First District. His five key initiatives include preserving social security, fostering access to health care for the uninsured, reducing gun violence through increased gun control and firearm safety and other measures, improving America’s energy independence and energy security, protecting consumer privacy and promoting minority ownership and job creation in high growth sectors, including energy, media, wireless communications and online commerce.
Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”)
The Illinois Medicaid program provides primary and acute medical services and long-term care services to more than 3 million individuals residing in the state. Low-income seniors and persons with disabilities are the predominant majority of those covered by Medicaid. As federal and state health regulators implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congressman Rush will be advocating for the prudent expansion of the Illinois Medicaid program and for sufficient initial funding from the federal government for that expansion. Congressman Rush and his staff are prepared to assist residents of the First District who are legally eligible for Medicaid coverage apply for and retain their eligibility under Medicaid. Another health care priority of the Congressman’s is for Illinois to establish a well-run and consumer-friendly, affordable health insurance exchange, which is activated and operational by January 1, 2014. The Illinois state health insurance exchange will provide uninsured individuals and small employers with access to a competitive marketplace for directly comparing available private health insurance options on the basis of price, quality, and other important decisional factors.
Gun Violence and Gun Control
The nation averages 87 gun deaths each day as a function of gun violence. The recent school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, and the City of Chicago reporting 506 deaths in 2012 due to gun violence point to the need for tougher gun laws. Congressman Rush introduced H.R. 34, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2012, legislation aimed at establishing a nationwide system for prohibiting unlicensed gun-ownership and granting the U.S. Attorney General broad authority over the program. Gun violence in the United States is associated with the majority of homicides, over half the suicides, and two-thirds of non-fatal violent injuries; and six on the afternoon of May 10, 2007, when Blair Holt, a junior at Julian High School in Chicago, was killed. Blair was riding home from school on a public bus when he used his body to shield a girl who was in the line of fire after a young man boarded the bus and started shooting.
Congressman Rush, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power in the 112th Congress vigorously defended the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Acts, and introduced or cosponsored dozens of bills and legislative amendments to strengthen weaknesses in these laws. During the 112th Congress, Congressman Rush also authored a number of articles and testified before the Chicago City Council in support of City of Chicago air quality laws and actions needed to curb excessive pollution and toxic and carbon emissions.
Seeing that, in producing electricity, Illinois currently has more operating nuclear reactors than any other state, Congressman Rush will continue to make nuclear plant operating safety and the safe disposal of nuclear waste energy a priority in the 113th Congress. An added priority for Congressman Rush in the upcoming Congress is to further develop more clean and renewable forms of energy that over time will be less costly and much less harmful to public health, safety and the environment than traditional fossil fuels.
Many consumers, especially those who shop online, say they have serious concerns about the types and extent of personal and sensitive information about them that is collected, used, shared and sometimes, even sold to third parties. Recent surveys show that well over half of U.S. consumers are bothered by these practices and over 70 percent of consumers believe that this information should only be collected and used with their prior permission.
For the past two Congresses, Congressman Rush has introduced comprehensive consumer privacy legislation known as the Best Practices Act. He is known among his colleagues in the U.S. Congress as a thought and policy leader on privacy issues. In coming years, these issues are expected to intensify in scope and significance due to the increasing importance of online commerce in our global economy, consumers’ surging use of wireless devices and smart phones, and differing views on individual privacy held by foreign governments and online users living in those nations.
Minority Ownership & Job Creation – Media, Wireless Communications & Online Commerce
Congressman Rush knows that the economic recovery has not touched all individuals and communities. Given the latest national employment data showing African-American unemployment rates hovering over 13 percent and Hispanic-American unemployment rates at 10 percent (compared to 6.4 and 6.8 percent for Asian- and whites-Americans), this is a supportable conclusion.
Minorities are even more underrepresented in key, high-growth sectors of the economy, such as information and Internet services and communications media. Given their importance in informing our democracy, educating and entertaining our students and larger society, and equipping workers of today with the skills and training that will be needed for many of tomorrow’s jobs; it is sensible to target them a viable remedy to the underemployment of minorities. Increasing minority ownership in firms that conduct business in these sectors may yield better employment outcomes for minority workers.