Schock wants details in State of the Union Address

Chris Kaergard
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) found little to like in President Obama's State of the Union Address.

U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock wants to hear one atypical thing tonight when President Barack Obama steps foot into the well of the House of Representatives: Details.

State of the Union addresses are more often about rhetoric than a detailed, step-by-step policy road map, but the second-term Peoria Republican said that with unemployment continuing to remain above 8 percent nationally, Americans need concrete proposals on how Obama hopes to get them back to work.

"What I'm looking for more than anything hopefully are specific plans," Schock said. "What is his plan this year to address the economy, to address job growth? . . . Our country expects elected officials to lead with specific plans."

Such plans are crucial for establishing a long-term economic recovery, including in area industries, Schock said.

"What will it take for companies like Excel (Foundry and Machine) in Pekin or Caterpillar (Inc.) in Peoria or any of the other manufacturing or service industries in Peoria and around Illinois to hire?" he asked.

Among the matters where he wants Obama to spell out his stance and what he wants to see in terms of legislation is tax reform, where he said Americans "need certainty" in addition to comprehensive reform. "We've heard that from the president before, but we've not seen a plan," Schock said.

The value of a comprehensive tax reform package is twofold, he said.

"One, we can lower the overall rate by eliminating loopholes and special carve-outs. . . . We can do that without reducing revenue to the government," he said. "Second, there would be consistency to that."

The latter point referred to the inconsistency and uncertainty Schock said is pervasive with taxpayers not knowing whether the George W. Bush-era tax cuts will again be extended at the end of a contentious election year. That uncertainty, he said, means "the economy will be stifled."

However, Schock was willing to praise, if faintly, Obama's recent call to consolidate several trade-related offices in the federal government.

"I will support any and all efforts the president puts forward to streamline government and to make it more responsive to taxpaying citizens," he said. "I think the trade office is a good start," though it's likely that House Republicans will "bring forward a more robust proposal" to identify more agencies that can be combined.