Dold: U.S. needs economic growth, poverty, security plans

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U.S. Rep. Robert “Bob” Dold says the nation is in desperate need of new plans to stimulate economic growth, upgrade infrastructure, whittle its national debt and the growing number of Americans in poverty, and address national/global security issues, including Iran.

The 45-year-old representative for Illinois’ 10th congressional district issued his assessments in a speech Monday before the City Club of Chicago, after earning a coveted seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee last week.

The Kenilworth Republican will succeed the scandal-plagued Aaron Schock of Peoria, who resigned under fire last month. Schock was able to use the seat to raise his national profile and push key tax issues, and it is expected Dold will do the same.

The tenets of a Dold economic growth plan include a reform of both individual and corporate tax codes, which he called “punitive” to small businesses, and a disadvantage to U.S. corporations competing internationally; and stimulating domestic manufacturing.

Passage of two major trade agreements, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S. and European Union, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership is critical, he said, along with funding investments in national infrastructure, particularly transportation.

“This isn’t just an abstract funding issue. It affects the day-to-day lives of everybody in our communities.  This affects everything — bridges, waterways, railways, roads, highways, mass transit, aviation, drinking water, our energy infrastructure,” Dold said.

“Unfortunately, the resources to finance our infrastructure have been dwindling. How are we going to attract more businesses if we don’t have infrastructure that’s going to be able to support them?”

Dold last year regained his House seat from Democrat Brad Schneider in a hard-fought race. Dold previously served from 2011 to 2013, after winning the seat to replace Republican incumbent Mark Kirk in 2010, then was narrowly defeated by Schneider in 2012. Schneider announced earlier this month that he would seek a rematch in 2016.

“Over a seventh of our country lives on less than $24,000 a year for a family of four. For all of the broad claims we make about the United States, especially considering our roots in the ‘American Dream,’ it is truly sad,” Dold said. “For too long this has been considered a partisan issue. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to reinvigorating our nation’s approach to anti-poverty programs.”

The critic of the Affordable Care Act maintained fixes are needed.

“However, the only way we are ever going to move beyond simply talking about the law’s many flaws and finally deliver solutions for the American people is through bipartisan reforms that can pass both chambers of Congress and receive the president’s signature,” he said.

Regarding Iran, Dold said while he did not agree with the members of Congress who penned the notorious Iran letter, he wholeheartedly supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s breaking protocol to address Congress directly about Iran.

“The cycle of open-ended extensions and never-ending concessions to the Iranian regime has seen our national and global security unilaterally weakened,” Dold maintained.

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