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Election 2018 candidate: Brad Schneider, 10th Congressional District representative

Brad Schneider, Democrat for Congress in Illinois' 10th Congressional District
Brad Schneider, Democrat for Congress in Illinois' 10th Congressional District

Name: Brad Schneider

Age: 57

Town of residence: Deerfield

Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives, 10th District

Party: Democrat



1. Why are you the best person to represent your district in Congress?

I’ve worked to be an independent voice in Washington – standing up to President Trump for the values of our district, while still reaching across the aisle to make progress on the issues that matter, including lowering health care costs to breaking the impasse on immigration to achieving commonsense gun safety reforms.

I know the only way we can really improve health care, get dark money out of politics and make Washington work for the rest of us is by working towards bipartisan solutions. That’s why I helped organize the Problem Solvers Caucus, bringing together Democrats and Republicans to solve the challenges we face.

I am proud to have introduced more than 30 separate pieces of legislation this Congress, and to see four of these measures signed into law, including action to improve student safety by helping schools install emergency buttons in individual classrooms.

At home, I continue to place great emphasis on helping constituents. We have helped residents recover more than $1.3 million from Medicare, Social Security, the VA and other federal agencies.

I have also kept in touch with almost 30 in-person Congress on Your Corner town halls, a dozen telephone town halls direct from Washington, and even “Commuter Town Halls” to hear from constituents on trains and buses.

By listening, I’ve gained a stronger understanding of your priorities. If re-elected, you can count of me to continue fighting for an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top.; to protect the promises we’ve made to seniors with Medicare and Social Security.; to stand up to President Trump’s attacks on our environment, immigrants, and a woman’s right to choose; and to ensure the next generation of Americans inherit a stronger and more secure future than what our parents sacrificed to give us.

2. The amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted on federal returns was capped this year at $10,000. Illinoisans pay some of the highest property taxes in the country and recently were hit with a state income tax hike to boot. How will you work to protect residents from double-taxation?

I voted against the federal tax plan passed last year because it recklessly explodes our debt (by more than $1.9 trillion) to reward those already at the top at the expense of many of my constituents and our state. Nearly eighty-three percent of the tax benefit of the bill goes to the top one-percent of earners, while many working families in my district will see little benefit or even tax increases through restriction of the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction.

New data from the IRS showed that in 2016, Lake County residents claimed the highest average SALT deduction in all of Illinois – more than $18,000. This new bill severely hurts our district.

In Washington, I’m working across the aisle to reverse this change to the SALT deduction and prevent double-taxation. I chair the New Democrat Tax Reform task force, and during the tax debate, I reached out to Chairman Kevin Brady, who leads the Ways & Means Committee that wrote the tax bill, to say we wanted to work together. Unfortunately, Republican leadership chose to go it alone without bipartisan input and the resulting legislation suffered for it.

The fact is, we still need real tax reform that is fair, spurs economic growth and reduces our deficits without accounting gimmicks. The only way to achieve lasting tax reform is through bipartisan cooperation, and I will continue to work to achieve that and reverse the changes to SALT deduction.

3. Do you believe any additional federal gun control measures are warranted? If so, what? If not, why not?

Yes, I support federal action to strengthen our gun laws to reduce gun violence in our nation, including universal background checks, an end to the sale of assault weapons, bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, and making trafficking of guns across state lines a federal crime.

I’ve personally introduced legislation this Congress to reduce the number of stolen guns that end up on the street. The SECURE Firearm Storage Act would require federal firearm licensees, such as gun dealers, to securely lock up their inventory after hours. Many gun stores leave their firearms in cases that are susceptible to smash-and-grab robberies. This bill was inspired in part by a 2012 robbery in Des Plaines in which more than 140 guns were stolen.

I’ve also focused on legislation to prevent individuals from evading our nations’ background check system. Most recently, I introduced with my colleagues a bill to block the online publication of blueprints to manufacture firearms with 3-D printers. I have also introduced legislation with colleagues that would close the “Ghost Gun” loophole that allows buyers to purchase unassembled firearms online without a background check, as well as a bill that would institute the same multiple firearm sale reporting requirements to long-guns as currently exist for handguns.

Beyond this, we need to work on holistic solutions including better promoting economic opportunities and addressing mental health in our nation.

Earlier this year, bipartisan legislation I introduced with Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) to help schools install panic buttons to alert first responders in an emergency was signed into law. I will continue to work to build bridges across the aisle to make progress on this critical issue for the safety of our communities.

4. What is your opinion on the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election? Would you vote to impeach President Trump?

I support the Mueller investigation and have been impressed by the thoroughness and professionalism with which it has been undertaken, as evidenced by the lack of leaks.

Our elections, including the Illinois State Board of Elections, were attacked in 2016 by Russia, and this investigation is critical to understanding what happened so that we can prevent foreign interference in the future.

The Mueller team be allowed to complete their work without political influence. I have serious concerns by the words from President Trump and some Republicans in Congress disparaging the investigation, which is why I have co-sponsored the Special Counsel Protection Act to prevent a politically-motivated firing of the Special Counsel.

I believe impeachment can never be used as a political weapon. I have a responsibility to follow the facts wherever they lead and am waiting to make a final judgement until the investigation is finished.

5. Do you agree with the Trump administration's approach to immigration policy? What is the proper way to enforce America's immigration laws?

We are a nation of immigrants, and I strongly oppose efforts by the current Administration to restrict legal immigration, limit our acceptance of refugees and asylum seekers, separate undocumented families, and build a wall across the border with Mexico.

I supported the bipartisan 2013 comprehensive immigration reform effort that included border security, reform to legal immigration processes, e-Verify, and permanent legal status and eventual pathway to citizenship to those here illegally, after they pay back fees and meet other requirements.

This Congress, I have worked to find a bipartisan solution for DREAMers in the wake of President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the USA Act, a bipartisan compromise bill that would pair permanent legal status for DREAMers with smart investments in border security. I also signed the discharge petition that would force a vote over the objections of House Republican leadership on this proposal (as well as 3 others) and was disappointed to see this bipartisan effort stall just a few signatures short of the required number.

I oppose President Trump’s border wall because it is wasteful and unnecessary – there are both smarter and more effective ways to secure our border.

6. Please tell us your position on abortion. Should it be a matter of federal law, or should states be free to regulate it as they see fit?

I support every woman’s right to choose. Politicians do not have a role to play regulating women’s bodies, and I believe a woman’s health care decisions, including abortion, should be between her, her doctor and no one else.

I am proud to have earned a 100 percent voting record from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

7. What role should the federal government play in America's health care system? Should the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) be repealed?

I have consistently voted against repeal of the Affordable Care Act and will continue to do so. However, while the Affordable Care Act was an improvement over the previous status quo, it is far from perfect. The best path forward is continuing to build upon what is working and reforming what is not, rather than wholesale repeal of the law.

Last year, with my colleagues in the Problem Solvers Caucus, I helped develop a proposal to stabilize the insurance markets and provide relief to consumers. Our proposal included fully funding cost sharing reduction payments, creating a dedicated stability fund, modifying the employer mandate, repealing the medical device tax, and allowing states to innovate on the exchanges and create regional compacts. Released during the height of the polarizing effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we brought together 44 Democrats and Republicans to endorse a proposal with practical solutions to improve our health care system. This proposal became the basis of the Alexander-Murray draft legislation in the Senate last fall, which had broad bipartisan support before President Trump blocked it.

I am deeply disappointed that since the collapse of the GOP health care repeal effort, the Trump Administration continues to seek to undermine the Affordable Care Act, including fighting protections on pre-existing conditions, creating uncertainty, cutting funding for health care navigators and most recently rolling out misleading and discriminatory “junk” plans.

Despite these challenges, I will continue to work to make bipartisan progress to make quality health care more affordable and available.

8. What is your stance on international trade? Do you agree with the tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration in the name of national security?

President Trump’s approach to trade is misguided and counter-productive, hurting American workers and businesses. By placing tariffs on our close allies under the dubious claims of national security, the President spurred the retaliatory tariffs that are harming our local economy. I saw this firsthand during a recent tour of manufacturing businesses in my district. In one memorable conversation, a small business owner showed me the letter he received the day after the tariffs were imposed informing him of price hikes on the steel used by his business. With these tariffs are in place his business is less likely to hire or grow.

To lessen the effects of the Administration’s trade policy, I introduced legislation to expand eligibility for Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program to companies suffering from reduced exports due to retaliatory tariffs. Under current law, this program, which helps firms develop and implement business recovery plans to adapt to competition caused by changing trade policies, is not available to businesses whose exports are negatively affected by tariffs. I also support similar legislation introduced by my colleagues to help workers and farmers.

When trade rules are fair and American companies have equitable access to global markets, our workers don’t just compete, we succeed and benefit. We must still protect against, and hold to account, countries that seek to abuse trading with the U.S., such as China, but we should always be willing to pursue policies that strengthen American workers’ global access and create opportunities to expand existing and enter new markets

I will continue to urge the Trump Administration to reverse its policy, and instead engage with our trade partners to enact a sensible, enforceable trade policy that protects American workers, American intellectual property, and our environment.

9. What’s your assessment of the job the federal government does in caring for military veterans? How can services be improved?

Our country has a responsibility to care for the physical and mental health of the veterans who served us. As the father of an active-duty Navy officer, this is an issue of personal importance.

The Tenth District is proud to be home of Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the only combined Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs hospital in the country. I have met with the leadership and staff there and know they are dedicated to serving our military and veteran population. Still, there is always more we can do to serve our veterans, particularly those who live in rural areas far from VA facilities.

I was proud to support the “Forever GI Bill” and see it signed into law. Among other changes, this legislation removes time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI Bill benefits for their entire lives as opposed to the current 15-year timeline.

This Congress, I have also focused on promoting job opportunities for veterans. I introduced legislation to codify the “Boots to Business” program that provides entrepreneurship training to service members transitioning into civilian life, as well as introduced the bipartisan GI Internship Program Act, which would allow veterans to use their GI bill credit to pay for internship and apprenticeship programs outside of the classroom.

At home, I have also hosted a Veteran Resource Fair and Veteran Day Breakfast to help connect veterans with the resources in our community. In addition, I have hosted four ceremonies to honor Vietnam-Era Veterans for their service as part of the US-Vietnam 50th Commemoration Anniversary.

10. Is there an important issue in the federal government that has not received adequate attention? How would you solve it?

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure currently gives our nation a D+. I believe investing in our nation’s infrastructure is a huge opportunity to both improve our economic competitiveness and create good-paying jobs.

Towards that end, I’ve co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would create an infrastructure fund using repatriated corporate earnings currently held overseas as well as promote public-private partnerships.

President Trump raised this issue during his State of the Union address and I believe it is an area of potential bipartisan progress. I will continue to work with bipartisan groups such as the Problem Solvers Caucus and Bipartisan Working Group to bring people together and get this issue on the agenda.

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