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Bustos Delivered Results for Illinois Families

CheriBustosThroughout 2019, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos fought for Illinoisans, securing a number of significant victories.  From helping Gold Star families and injured veterans, to increasing rural access to healthcare, to working to lower prescription drug costs, Congresswoman Bustos worked across the aisle to deliver commonsense solutions for Illinois families.

Highlights include the All-American Flag Act, which would require the Government to purchase flags that are American-made and manufactured.  Introduced by Congresswoman Bustos, this was one of the first bills to pass the House in 2019.

She secured significant local wins through her role on the powerful Appropriations Committee.  She worked to pass a strong United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) for labor, agricultural, and manufacturing stakeholders.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • $319,593.90 – Money recovered from the Social Security Administration, the IRS, and the VA, and returned to constituents in the District.  Constituents having problems with any of these agencies are encouraged to reach out to one of her offices in Peoria, Rock Island, or Rockford, IL.
  • 605 – Constituent cases resolved this year.  Congresswoman Bustos fights to make sure the Government works for the people;  She is dedicated to helping Illinoisans cut through red tape at the VA, IRS, and other Federal agencies.
  • 201 – Events in the District hosted or attended by Congresswoman Bustos:  38 supermarket visits; 35 business and organization tours; 21 Cheri on Shifts; 19 roundtable discussions; 16 rural library visits, in addition to book donations.  She is proud to maintain strong outreach in Peoria, Rockford, and the Quad Cities.
  • Nearly 10,000 – Miles that Congresswoman Bustos traveled throughout the District in 2019.

CLEANING UP CORRUPTION AND STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

Congresswoman Bustos helped introduce and pass H.R. 1 the "For the People Act," which would take transformative steps to clean up corruption in Washington, D.C. and make Congress more accountable to the people--by strengthening ethics laws; ending the dominance of big money in our elections; making it easier for Americans to vote.  She helped pass pieces of legislation to build on the "For the People Act," protect the sanctity of our election process; strengthen our voting infrastructure; combat foreign interference in our elections.  These bills include the Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for A Lasting Democracy (SHIELD) Act and the Securing America's Federal Elections (SAFE) Act of 2019.

GIVING THE DISTRICT A SEAT ON THE POWERFUL HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

She continued to serve in Democratic House Leadership, as Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Congresswoman Bustos was appointed to serve on the powerful Appropriations Committee.  This gave the Heartland a seat at the decision-making table and a voice in critical Federal funding investment.  While on the Appropriations Committee this year, Congresswoman Bustos delivered a number of local wins for Illinois, as part of major funding packages to fully fund the Federal government.  Some examples of financial provisions she procured will address teacher recruitment and retention; extend the biodiesel tax credit until 2022; support Federal workers in Thomson and Pekin; deliver state-of-the-art equipment for the 182nd Air National Guard in Peoria.

INCREASING ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE AND LOWERING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS

Beginning with helping to pass legislation to protect Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions, Congresswoman Bustos worked tirelessly to increase access to healthcare for Illinoisans.  In 2019, she secured millions in Federal funding for rural health centers, such as in Henderson and Knox Counties.  As part of a year-end spending bill, Congresswoman Bustos worked to include a permanent repeal of the "Cadillac Tax," that was included in the Affordable Care Act.  This tax would have placed a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans.  After convening roundtable discussions in Peoria and Rockford to engage community leaders, and bringing constituent stories to the Floor of the House, Congresswoman Bustos helped pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would rein in skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs and expand Medicare coverage.

FIGHTING FOR A STRONG TRADE DEAL FOR ALL

Illinois farmers and workers deserve the strongest trade deal possible.  The USMCA, which passed this year, delivers real progress for labor, farmers, and manufacturers.  During USMCA negotiations, Congresswoman Bustos worked to create a path forward to provide a seat at the table for labor and agricultural stakeholders, including convening a meeting between the Speaker of the House, the Illinois Farm Bureau, and Farmers for Free Trade.

DELIVERING FOR RURAL AREAS

In August, Congresswoman Bustos introduced the Rural Green Partnership to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.  RGP is a framework of principles and policies to combat climate change, spur economic growth, and lift farmers' voices in the conversation on climate.  The Rural Green Partnership details a set of policies that work with Federal, local, and State Governments; producers; businesses; unions; non-governmental organizations; other stakeholders to lower greenhouse gas emissions, in every economic sector of rural America.  As part of her role on the powerful Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Bustos secured funding for rural development, including USDA funding for the Village of Erie and the Village of Vermont.

SUPPORTING VETERANS AND HONORING HEROES

Congresswoman Bustos held two different ceremonies to rename Post Offices after local heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation:  the Alpha, IL, Post Office after Captain Joshua E. Steele and the Pekin, IL, Post Office after Lance Cpl. Jordan Bastean.  She introduced a bill to rename the Galesburg, IL, Post Office after Senior Airman Daniel Miller.  In addition, she spearheaded support for Gold Star families and spouses of catastrophically injured service members, through her bipartisan, bicameral Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Service Members Leasing Relief Expansion Act.  It was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.  In a major military spending bill, the Congresswoman worked to include provisions that address significant barriers for veterans.  These include transportation in rural areas (the Bill increased outreach to rural veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs;) a lack of rural VA health providers )the Bill increased the use of telehealth and broadband access.)  As part of a year-end funding package, Congresswoman Bustos secured a $300 million investment in rural health initiatives at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

ENSURING THE FUTURE SUCCESS OF ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL

Congresswoman Bustos worked across the aisle to prioritize support for the Rock Island Arsenal's success, including advocating for the Arsenal during key Appropriations Committee hearings and securing over $50 million in funding for much needed building repairs on the Island.  As part of a major year-end funding package, Congresswoman Bustos included millions for the Rock Island Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (JMTC), the conversion of Humvees into service trucks, and future projects.  In addition to increased Federal investment in the Arsenal, the Congresswoman joined her colleagues in the Senate to announce 50 new jobs at the site earlier this year.

SUPPORTING THE CHICAGO ROCKFORD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

With a long track record of supporting the Chicago Rockford International Airport, Congresswoman Bustos founded the Air Cargo Caucus, to allow members of Congress and industry leaders the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, and foster relationships.  In May, Congresswoman Bustos announced $9 million in Federal funding for the airport, and later announced additional grant funding to rehabilitate the airport's taxis and runways.  She also helped to secure $10 million for aviation workforce development grants for the aircraft pilot workforce and aviation maintenance workforce, in order to address the skills gap in the industry.

SUPPORTING THE QUAD CITIES RAIL ROUTE

Congresswoman Bustos believes in investing in public transportation infrastructure.  Earlier this year, she was proud to announce an extension for $177 million in Federal Railroad Administration funding for the Amtrak route between Chicago, IL, and Moline, IL, through December 31, 2024.  Support for this critical rail funding passed the House as part of a major funding package in December.

SAVING THE PEORIA AG LAB AND PEORIA AIR NATIONAL GUARD PROJECT

Congresswoman Bustos has spent this year tirelessly working to ensure the Peoria Ag Lab and Air National Guard Project's successes.  She advocated for the Ag Lab to the Secretary of Agriculture and ensured that the President's budget included funding for the program, after it was proposed to be eliminated.  A year-end legislative package included a requirement that the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service fill its vacant staff positions with permanent scientists, in order to help the Peoria Ag Lab fully staff up.  She also worked to protect and secure funding for the Peoria Air National Guard Project, through support for vital programs.  In May, Congresswoman Bustos announced the award of a $7.8 million contract for the construction of a new Fire Crash Rescue Station at the Peoria Air National Guard, safeguarding funding for the project.  In a year-end package, Congresswoman Bustos worked to include $79 million for engine enhancement packages for C-130H aircraft, like those in operation at the 182nd Air National Guard squadron.

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