Club President Peggy Sieber with Congressman Peter Roskam
By Nancy Thorner -
In early December, the Women's Republican Club of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff celebrated their 75th year at a luncheon keynoted by Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-08). Roskam's news from D.C. following the election of Donald Trump as president was upbeat and encouraging for the ladies.
Roskam, in his fifth term in the U.S. House, sits on the Health Subcommittee and chairs the Oversight Subcommittee – a key watchdog post with jurisdiction into the spending and operations of tax-writing and healthcare programs within the federal government.
Roskam quipped that, on election night it looked like the media was "passing a kidney stone." When Congress resumed its sessions the week following the election, Roskam described his Democrat congressmen colleagues as looking "thunder struck and bewildered."
Current board and current and several past presidents of Women's Republican Club
Democrats are in the midst of a civil war but haven't learned a thing. Instead of firing Nancy Pelosi, they rehired her. Pelosi defeated Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan to secure another term as Democratic Minority leader, despite Pelosi's record of having taken the Democratic agenda right off the cliff. People are tired of the identity politics used by Democrats. Roskam also noted the tone-deafness of Democrats who tell welders in Ohio that Global Warming is more important than jobs!
According to Roskam, the Republican majority in the House is very upbeat about accomplishing things in the days ahead. Trump is winning the expectations game. Furthermore, the appointments Trump is making are sound. Roskam had positive and enthusiastic things to say about vice president-elect Mike Pence, who served in the U.S. House for ten years. When Pence came to meet with House Republicans he entered a warm setting with a tone that was pitched perfectly. Pence will work hand and glove with Congress.
Roskam likewise expressed approval of Mike Pompeo as he heads to the CIA. "With his appointment, we will be able to sleep easier. Decisions will be made to take the fight to the enemy,” Roskam said. Also, meeting Roskam's approval was Tom Price as Secretary of Health. A consistent critic of Obamacare, Price had his own successful medical practice before being elected to Congress. Roskam described his friend Tom Price as a legislator who “knows where the plumbing is” in Obamacare, and thus knows how to dismantle it with minimal disruption and maximum efficiency.
Cited by Rep. Roskam as things Congress will do right out of the box:
1. Work to replace Obamacare. There are smart individuals who have the tools to make the transition a smooth one.
2. Reform the IRS code by taking away the complexity of the code. It's been 30 years (1986) since any tax reform took place. The code that exists now is a big complicated mess. Let's dump the code and come up with something new.
Democrats are inclined to say that they want to work with Republicans, but when push comes to shove, they obstruct and block what Republicans wish to do. The Democratic Party is now fractured, but tax reform might be one area where Republicans and Democrat can work together.
Roskam then went on to explain about Congress' "Regular Order" in contrast to "Reconciliation" as a way to pass legislation.
"Reconciliation" is a legislative process of the United States Senate intended to allow consideration of a budget bill with debate limited to twenty hours under Senate rules. Because of this limited debate, reconciliation bills are not subject to the filibuster in the Senate. Reconciliation also exists in the United States House of Representatives, but because the House regularly passes rules that constrain debate and amendment, the process has had a less significant impact on that body.
The idea of “regular order” seems simple enough. It means that the legislature agrees to operate by its own standing rules. In the House, regular order means that spending items are kept on budget, that bills move forward through a set process, and that members are allowed a good deal of freedom when it comes to offering amendments. When a bill passes out of the House, 60 votes are then needed in the Senate to pass the bill before signed or vetoed by the president.
Roskam described reconciliation as a slower method, such as to repeal Obamacare; however, the regular order route is more attractive and is tempting to use for bills dealing with tax policy that expire every three years and to work with Democrats willing to work with Republicans on a pro-growth agenda.
Obama didn't do the hard work of legislating by going to Congress for a vote. He acted with impunity and by so doing lost both the House and the Senate. As Obama said early on in his administration: "I've got a pen and a phone."
There will be a big push to undo regulations. Some regulations can be removed by undoing an Executive Order, as such Trump agencies will work to undo the rules put in place. Then there is the Congressional Reverse Act: Those regulations that are put in place 60 days before the Trump administration takes office can be declared void.
Roskam spoke of the Senate as "a different land" where floor time is limited. With 53 Republican senators, 51 votes are needed for the Senate to declare regulations void. Hopefully this process will be done as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Many legislators were never in office at a time when Republicans were in charge of both Houses. Roskam told of the interest in getting things done about the economy to achieve a growth rate of 4 – 5; eliminating harmful regulation; getting health care fixed; getting a Supreme Court Justice approved to replace Scalia; and for this nation to regain its position of importance in the world. "If we as conservatives follow these principles, things will work out fine."
Roskam expressed how China has challenges, but this nation has troubles. Roskam was relieved to be on U.S. soil again when landing at O'Hare Airport after visiting China. Those who live in the city of Beijing have five years shaved from their lives because of pollution.
As Roskam said, "We are the good guys. The Republican Party is better on growth issues. We are the Party that is about a very optimistic future."
Some federal programs are needed to help those Americans who need help, but they should not serve as a never-ending crutch for those who are addicted to viewing government as their nanny, he said.
It is foolish to rail against people who are successful, as Democrats do. What should instead be said: "How nice of you, that could be me."
Roskam said we must not be defensive about a value system that has produced a country that is the envy of the world, but that we must be grateful to God that we are citizens of this country. We must be stewards of our citizenship, handing it over to our children, so they can make this nation even better.
The Women's GOP Club of LF-LB
The Women's Republican Club of LF-LB, founded in 1941, is sustained by members' dues. Membership is open to men and women as well as GOP local, state of federal candidates and office holders. Residence in Lake forest or Lake Bluff is not required. The WRC is the oldest continuing organization here in Illinois. It exists to assist GOP candidates and office-holder and to educate voters of issues of importance. Margaret "Peggy" Siebert, a Lake Forest resident, serves as the Club's president.
Peggy Siebert kicked off the luncheon with the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation—80 voices raised in the song “God Bless America.”
Pat Kammerer, a past president of the Women's Republican Club (2006 – 2008) and a GOP stalwart for decades, was awarded the WRC "President's Award." Pat, a long-time committeeman and perennial campaign volunteer also heeded the call to be a poll watcher for Gov. Scott Walker in the hotly contested recall election in Wisconsin, leaving her station only when her safety was threatened and local police informed Pat they could not guarantee her personal safety. Forty-two women have served as president of the WRC since its founding in 1942.
Lake County GOP Chairman Mark Shaw with club's immediate past president Pat Kammerer
What Happened During the Election in Illinois?
Before Roskam's address, Mark Shaw, head of the Lake County Republican Party and 10th District Illinois State Central Committeeman, offered the following remarks that gave an overall view of "What Happened Here in Illinois."
He noted that Illinoisans are often led to believe that Illinois is basically a blue state. There are 102 counties, but there exists in Illinois a sea of red in until you get to Cook County and its four collar counties. Most of Illinois' counties went for Trump, yet there were not enough votes cast for Trump to counter the heavy Democratic vote in the City of Chicago and its five collar counties for Trump to win Illinois. While Trump won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, not since 1980 did Illinois go Republican with the election of G. H. Bush. Pat Toomey won on the coattails of Trump in PA; Ron Johnson did the same in Wisconsin; and Republican Todd Young beat Evan Bayh in Indiana, who was favored to win the Senate seat as he was a former governor of Indiana.
Despite extensive phone banking that took place at the Lake County Republican Headquarters and other “Get Out the Vote” activities, Lake County was one of the four collar counties that went for Hillary. The others collar counties were Kane, DuPage and Will. Only McHenry voted Republican. The phone banking did protect Republican County Board members. And Rauner ally Comptroller Leslie Munger won Lake County, but unfortunately, lost the statewide race.
With decisive Republican wins across this nation, despite its lack of direction here in Illinois, the Republican Party does have a good foundation to move forward. Two-thirds of state legislatures and two-thirds of governor mansions are now controlled by Republicans.
Candidates and Office-Holders in Attendance:
- Senator Dan McConchie - Senate District #26
- Lynn O’Brien - Third Vice President, Lake County Republican Central Committee and Dan McConchie’s Campaign Manager
- David Stolman - L.C. Treasurer
- Willard Helander - Retired County Clerk of Lake County
- Illinois Comptroller – Leslie Munger
- President of College of Lake County - Dr. William Griffith
- Ann Brennan - Ran for Lake County District Board 13
- Mark Nerheim – State's Attorney
- Laura Lambrecht – unsuccessful run for L.C. Board, District 11
- Marty Zeidman - Chairman, Moraine Township GOP Organization
- Dr. Howard Cooper - Newly elected coroner of Lake County
- John Munger – husband of Leslie Munger, Chairman of the Vernon Township GOP Organization
- Terry Darraugh, candidate for Shields Township Supervisor Supervisor of Shield's Township
- Matt Garrity, candidate for Shields Township Trustee
- Hilary Till, Chairman, West Deerfield Township GOP Organization
Nancy Thorner is a citizen journalist that writes for Illinois Review on local political events.