Business & Economy
Jonathan Wallace's Statement on CAT's Decisions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jonathan Wallace   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:33

Rock Island, IL...Recently Caterpillar Inc. turned down Silvis, Illinois for a plant location citing, "concerns about the business climate and overall fiscal health of the state of Illinois."* Jonathan Wallace, candidate for State Representative, released the following statement regarding Caterpillar's decision to rule out Illinois for future plants:


“First a tax increase, then a credit downgrade, and now a major job creator tells it like it is: Illinois has a toxic policy environment for job creation. We need to stymie the tide of failing business confidence by electing leaders who actively engage and cultivate the growth of business, small and large.


“We need to hold our elected officials in Springfield accountable for this loss. Another lost business opportunity can be added to State Rep. Pat Verschoore’s extensive record of poor policies. It’s time for a new era of leadership in Illinois for the sake of job creation and the next generation.”


*Caterpillar rules out Silvis and other Illinois sites for plant; reasons include business climate, Dispatch Argus, February 8, 2012.



Schilling Supports Bipartisan Budget Reform Efforts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:31
Washington, DC – On the very day the Administration expressed “no opinion” about whether the Senate should pass a budget, Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) joined with the majority of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting bipartisan efforts to reform the budgeting process. 

“Neither side of the aisle is blameless for the fiscal crisis we are in, and both are responsible for guiding us out of it,” Schilling said.  “The current budgeting process is neither transparent nor accurate, and – if you take a look at the 1,015 days since the Senate last passed a budget – hardly mandatory. 

“The fact of the matter is that we are in a spending-driven crisis with a national debt of more than $15 trillion.   We will be unable to get ourselves out of it unless we seriously develop a credible plan to get our fiscal house in order, grow our economy, and get Americans back to work.  The House has passed more than 25 bipartisan jobs bills that are currently stalled in the Senate and I am pleased to support these two budget reform bills, continuing to fundamentally change how Washington does business and end its spending addiction once and for all.”

Schilling this week voted in favor of H.R. 3521, the Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act, put forth by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).  This bill would give the president authority to identify reductions in spending provisions within an appropriations bill, which would only take effect if legislation was passed by an up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress.  Each dollar of savings from the rescission would be devoted to deficit reduction.  Schilling yesterday supported H.R. 3581, the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which would  increase transparency and accuracy in budgeting for federal credit programs, the housing-related government sponsored enterprises, and the publication of budget-justification materials.  More information on these bills can be found on the House Budget Committee’s website.

In addition to introducing the Govern Before Going Home resolution in 2011, Schilling has cosponsored the H.R. 3643, the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would prohibit Members of Congress from getting paid should they miss deadlines for annual budget and appropriations bills, and ensures that missed pay could not be recouped retroactively.

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Schilling: "CAT's Decision Must Serve as a Wakeup Call" PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:17

Washington, DC – Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) released the following statement upon Caterpillar Inc.’s announcement that it will not be building its new North American plant in the state of Illinois:

“Caterpillar’s announcement, though certainly disappointing, is not at all surprising.  As a small business owner myself, I understand Caterpillar’s concerns about Illinois’ unfriendly business climate.  With nearly 10 percent of Illinoisans searching for work, we simply cannot afford any more missed opportunities.  If nothing else, this decision must serve as a wakeup call  for our state legislators.  Our state can fix this, but it is long past time to change course.  We need leaders in Springfield to speak out, guide our state out of this mess, and work to create an environment that invites companies to build their businesses here and hire the unemployed men and women of Illinois.”

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Schilling, Chu Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reform Small Business Contracting PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andie Pivarunas   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:14

Washington, DC – Along with Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) today introduced the bipartisan Building Better Business Partnerships Act.  The bill, which is part of the House Committee on Small Business contracting reform initiative, is intended to help remove bureaucratic impediments for small contractors wishing to do business with the federal government.

Small businesses have proven that they can perform a service or produce goods for the government at a lower cost and often at a faster pace than their larger counterparts, however – as illustrated in this CNBC piece, “Fifth Time’s a Charm: Winning a Government Contract” – too many challenges remain for too many businesspeople seeking to break through the bureaucracy. 

Rep. Schilling said, “As a small business owner, I understand that many federal programs intended to help businesses are ultimately too time consuming or onerous to navigate.  Unfortunately, many mentor-protégé programs are no different.  The Building Better Business Partnerships Act would streamline the contracting process, and place the SBA in charge of overseeing and setting standards for mentor-protégé programs based on what we know works.  This bill also adds transparency to the program by requiring the SBA to report on the number of small businesses participating in each program, including the number of those that are women-owned, disadvantaged, HUBZone, or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.  This will help all small businesses to more easily and more effectively contract with the federal government, enabling them to grow, create jobs, and get folks back to work.”

Mentor-protégé programs are intended to partner small businesses with established mentors in order to improve the small business’ ability to win and perform on contracts and subcontracts, but the 13 federal agency programs lack standardized measures of success and are duplicative.  This creates an unnecessary paperwork burden for participants.  The Building Better Business Partnerships Act allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to oversee civilian agency mentor-protégé programs in order to promote portability of agreements between the agencies, guarantee that the programs benefit small businesses, and ensure that the mentor-protégé agreement doesn’t inadvertently harm the protégé’s small business status.  It also encourages equal treatment among small businesses (women- and minority-owned, etc) by authorizing the SBA to have mentor-protégé programs for all small businesses. 

“I hear one question over and over again from small businesses: How do I break into federal contracting?” said Rep. Chu, Ranking Member on the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce.  “With annual spending averaging $500 billion, there is no better way for small businesses to expand during these tough times than through federal contracts.  Unfortunately, only 20 percent of that spending is going to small businesses right now.   The Building Better Businesses Partnership Act of 2012 will help small firms break into federal contracting by making it easier for them to join mentor-protégé programs. Helping small businesses win contracts will help put Americans back to work, and with two out of every three jobs coming from small businesses, this bill will help the true driving force behind America’s economy.”

As part of the Committee’s contracting initiative, two other bipartisan pieces of legislation were introduced today with the goal of creating protections to fight contracting fraud and empowering advocates who fight for small business during the federal acquisition process.  More information on the Committee’s initiative can be found here on the Committee’s website.

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Grassley: High-Skilled American Workers Struggling to Find Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:42

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley said today that he is concerned that President Obama doesn’t understand the difficulty that many high-skilled American workers are facing as they look for employment.

In a letter to the President, Grassley notes that the President seemed surprised about the employment struggles of high-skilled Americans when he learned during an online conversation with Jennifer Wedel whose husband, a  semiconductor engineer, had been out of work for three years.

Grassley said the administration’s recent policy changes affecting foreign students and spouses of H-1B visa holders puts American workers at a disadvantage.  Instead, Grassley said that President Obama should support his H-1B reform legislation that will help ensure high-skilled Americans are given the first opportunity to compete for jobs.

Grassley’s H-1B visa reform legislation would help to root out fraud and abuse in the program.  The legislation makes reforms to increase enforcement, modify wage requirements and ensure protection for visa holders and American workers.  The bill does not eliminate the program or change the numerical cap of visas available to petitioning employers.  The legislation has been introduced in previous congresses by Grassley and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.


Here’s a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter to the President.  A signed copy can be found here.


February 7, 2012


President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I read with interest news reports about your Google Plus “hangout” on January 30th, specifically your conversation with Ms. Jennifer Wedel.  Ms. Wedel told of her husband’s personal struggle in trying to find employment despite the fact that he has an engineering degree and over ten years of experience.  She expressed concern that the government continues to distribute H-1B visas at a time of record unemployment.

I was surprised to learn that you responded to Ms. Wedel by saying “industry tells me that they don’t have enough highly skilled engineers.”  You also said that “the word we’re getting is that somebody in that kind of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away.”  You said there’s a huge demand for engineers across the country, with which Ms. Wedel seemed to take issue.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would also suggest otherwise.  According to the BLS, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers rose 3.7% from 2006 to 2010.

Your response to Ms. Wedel leads me to believe that you don’t understand the plight of many unemployed high-skill Americans.  Mr. Wedel’s situation is all too common.  Thousands of qualified Americans remain out of work while companies are incentivized to import foreign workers.  I’m concerned that you’re hearing only one side of the story -- from businesses who claim that there are better and brighter people abroad.

Despite your online chat and interest in investigating the problem, just last week, your administration proposed rules to “attract and retain highly skilled immigrants.”  The Department of Homeland Security will expand the eligibility for foreign students to stay in the U.S. under the Optional Practical Training program.  This program does not have U.S. worker protections, nor does it require that employers pay prevailing wages to these foreign students/employees.  Your administration will also provide work authorizations to spouses of H-1B visa holders, thus increasing the competition for many Americans who are looking for work.   It’s astonishing that, at this time of record unemployment, your administration’s solution is to grant more work authorizations to foreign workers.  These initiatives will do very little to boost our economy or increase our competitiveness.

Nevertheless, I’m encouraged by your statement that “The H1-B should be reserved only for those companies who say they cannot find somebody in that particular field.”  I have long believed that it’s not unreasonable to ask businesses to first determine if there are qualified Americans to fill vacant positions.  It seems you may agree with this premise.

Therefore, I strongly encourage you to endorse legislation that I have cosponsored with Senator Durbin in the past.  Our bill, which has been included in various comprehensive immigration reform proposals, warrants your leadership.  With your help, we can reform the H-1B visa program and ensure that Americans like Mr. Wedel are on equal footing with foreign workers who are flooding the market.

While I’m glad that Mr. Wedel has been contacted by many employers since your online discussion took place, there are many more highly skilled Americans that need our help and attention.  I hope you’ll work with me to make changes to the H-1B visa program on behalf of all these Americans.

I appreciate your consideration of my views.



Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator

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