One of the most important aspects of Congress is developing, making, and monitoring laws. New laws are created every week. As a Member of Congress, I am trying to be actively involved in sponsoring and drafting legislation about issues that are important to you. Please contact my offices to share your thoughts on current legislation that may affect you, your family and your community.
AMERICA Works Act:
The shortage of skilled workers and the growing skills gap are holding back our economy and having real consequences for our businesses, especially those in the innovative manufacturing hub of Illinois’s Tenth District. Our community has the third-highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the entire country. Make no mistake; these are not your smokestack, Rust-Belt manufacturing jobs of the last century. The majority of these manufacturers are highly-skilled and innovative companies producing products for everything from energy-efficient car batteries to NASA space drills. When I visit these businesses through my “Brad at Your Business” initiative, I hear again and again that the skills gap is both real and a drag on our economic growth.
The AMERICA Works Act is a direct response to the concerns and challenges our area businesses face. In an effort to bridge the gap and ensure we have the skilled workers we need to be successful, I introduced this bipartisan bill to help bring educators and industry leaders together to design programs to train workers with the most in-demand skills. The AMERICA Works Act is a strong step toward ensuring our workforce is properly trained and positioned to help us lead in the 21st Century global economy. Read more about the AMERICA Works Act here.
On-the-Job training, which is learning by doing, is one of the fastest and most effective ways to acquire a new skill. I’ve seen this in my own business experience, and I have heard it from employers. That is why I introduced the LEARN Act. This legislation would expand our nation’s On-the-Job training programs. These are some of the most effective programs for training or retraining workers, with recent employment rates for On-the-Job trainees outpacing those of other programs. Given the effectiveness of On-the-Job training programs, it just makes sense to expand their use.
As our economy continues to recover, albeit slower than we would like, and workers adjust to a rapidly-changing marketplace, On-the-Job training is a win-win proposition. Businesses have the ability to train workers with the precise skills necessary to be competitive in the 21st Century, but too many find the costs of hiring and training prohibitive. The LEARN Act helps offset these costs, allowing businesses to quickly expand their workforce. Reduced costs free businesses to invest more in new technologies, and strategies —free to invest more in and their futures.
I am excited about the new opportunities the LEARN Act can create in our communities. Read more about the LEARN Act here.
Israel Qualitative Military Edge Act:
As Israel continues to face a broad spectrum of threats, from a nuclear Iran to a collapsing Syria, the United States must be steadfast in its efforts to ensure that Israel has the tools to maintain her qualitative military edge over those who seek to do her harm. This bill strengthens our partnership with Israel and helps preserve Israel’s ability to defend herself by herself against unconventional weapons and increasingly dangerous cyber-attacks.”
The bipartisan Israel Qualitative Military Edge Enhancement Act, ensures Israel retains a defensive edge by increasing the frequency of assessment from four years to two, ensuring that Israel is always prepared to confront constantly evolving conventional and asymmetrical threats.
The Israel Qualitative Military Edge Enhancement Act passed the House on Dec. 11, 2013, by a vote of 399 to 0. Read more about the bill here.
A Measure to Protect Small Businesses During Tax Reform:
Too often, discussions in Congress surrounding comprehensive tax reform focus on proposals that address only corporate and individual tax rates, ignoring the impact reform could have on small businesses.
I introduced a bipartisan measure to ensure that when Congress begins to debate and draft comprehensive tax reform, it doesn't just focus on the tax rate of large corporations’ taxes, but also supports and protects pass-through entities – those small businesses that employ more than half of our workforce, and create more than 60 percent of all new jobs and are the drivers of our economic growth.
This measure encourages Congress and House and Senate Leadership to address the tax rates of pass-through entities—partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, as well as sole proprietorships—and not just corporate tax rates in any tax reform proposal. Such entities represent 90 percent of businesses in the United States and their ability to thrive is the foundation of our future success.
Accelerate Our Startups Act:
Startups represent one of the expansive drivers of job creation in our economy. Unfortunately, too many startups lack the necessary support and too many of our entrepreneurs’ ideas and innovations never fully get off the ground. I introduced the Accelerate Our Startups Act to help provide these emerging businesses with the resources, services and assistance they need to go from startup to step out to long-term success. This bill leverages public-private partnerships and expands Small Business Administration (SBA) resources to increase the accessibility and prevalence of entities known as growth accelerators.
Modern growth accelerators provide entrepreneurs and startups with a variety of resources, from shared workspaces and networking to legal services and accounting courses. You will find growth accelerators in Silicon Valley and metropolitan areas like Chicago, but also in other, less urban areas where entrepreneurs do not have easy access to these critical, helpful resources. The Accelerate Our Startups Act authorizes the SBA to deploy resources for expanding growth accelerators to make their services more available to startups.
Barriers, otherwise easily overcome with a little assistance, too often hold back some of the most exciting and revolutionary ideas and businesses, and I am confident that my bill will help entrepreneurs overcome those obstacles. Read more about the Accelerate Our Startups Act here.