Under the Dome and Closer to Home: Fall Wrap-Up
Just before Thanksgiving, I had the privilege of taking a six-day congressional delegation trip to Afghanistan, where I thanked our brave service men and women who were there spending the holiday away from loved ones back home. I also attended numerous briefings and demonstrations focused on increasing the safety and protection of troops handling improvised explosion devices (IEDs). Towards the end of the trip, I stopped by the United States Navy's 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain to discuss Iran's growing influence in the Persian Gulf region and our efforts to address the threat.
No matter how many briefings I read or television accounts I watch, nothing comes close to breaking bread with Illinois soldiers and observing their daily lives. Visiting our service men and women was a tremendous privilege, and I hope the next time I see them is at home.
Back home in Chicago, attention has turned to the sentencing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Unfortunately, situations like this and others across the nation have put Americans' trust in government at an all time low. Until we restore the public's trust, we can't lead or make the tough choices necessary to move forward. In an effort to fight public corruption, legislation I created was approved by the House Judiciary Committee as part of the Clean Up Government Act. It will require public officials to disclose potential conflicts of interest and prohibit them from using their elected positions for personal gain. This bill will help ensure that the work conducted by elected officials benefits the taxpayers, not themselves.
As always, it is an honor to serve you. Please don't hesitate to contact our office if there's anything we can do for you. My district staff is here to serve you with any federal issue you might have, including passports, Medicare, veterans' benefits and more. In more Washington news, I recently testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement in favor of expanding the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to include Poland and other U.S. allies. Foreign travelers who come to America gain an understanding of what makes our country great, and they share these positive experiences with their neighbors. Expansion of the VWP will improve our international diplomatic relationships, create jobs, stimulate the economy and strengthen national security. It's time to expand outdated travel standards to include our proven allies.