Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Schilling, Bustos discuss campaign

With the midterm elections less than three weeks away the race in the 17th congressional district of Illinois is heating up. The incumbent, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, is seeking a second term against former Congressman Bobby Schilling, who lost to Bustos in the 2012 midterms.
Schilling said Bustos failed to follow through on a promise to return 10 percent of her congressional pay, which she reportedly promised in an interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board in 2012.
Schilling said Bustos “runs a campaign that is built on misrepresentation and lies” and that she “is a politician who will do or say anything to try to get elected.”
In response, Bustos said the supposed promise was construed during “part of a very vigorous back and forth, when I repeatedly explained this 10 percent proposal [for all congressional members]. I made a mistake and responded in a way that indicated I was talking just about my own pay…I made a mistake in my answer and I will be the first to admit I did.”
Schilling and Bustos maintain they support congressional pay cuts.
Schilling and Bustos disagree on the Immigrant Investors Program, though, specifically the fifth preference of the Employee-Based Immigration standards (EB-5). The program was started in 1990 with the purpose job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, and undergoes recertification every three years.
The Eb-5 portion allows for foreign investors, who have created at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. citizens, to be granted a permanent green card. Bustos, who previously sponsored a bill to make the program permanent, is now attacking Schilling for sponsoring it, saying that it is selling visas.
“Just like a lot of legislation, I support legislation where you don’t like every single bit of it, but perhaps support the vast majority,” said Bustos. “It’s (the EB-5) specific to someone like Mr. Schilling, who cashed in on a vote he cast, and is now making a six figure salary as a result,” said Bustos.
The Congresswoman is referring to CMB Regional Centers of Rock Island, where Schilling is employed at. The company which deals with foreign investors interested in capital investments and permanent residency.
“(Schilling) voted for the program, leaves congress; shortly thereafter he cashes in on the vote that he cast during congress to get a job paying six figures…it’s this revolving door that he really despises,” said Bustos.
She also said there have been several scandals with businesses throughout Illinois abusing the program. However, CMB has not been implicated.
All attacks aside, the candidates agree Bi-partisanship is important. The House of Representatives and the Senate are currently gridlocked and polarized.
David Dehnel, a political science professor at Augustana, explains that this party polarization may lead to “members (of congress) who might be inclined to compromise, are afraid of their leadership. If they get out of line they may be likely to get their campaign funds cut off or get challenged in a primary”.
Both candidates have insisted on their willingness to cooperate with the other party. Schilling stated he will “work with any democrat out there that wants to move America forward”. Similarly, Bustos said a “willingness to collaborate” is extremely important.
However, according to, while in office Schilling voted along party lines 91% of the time. Comparatively, as of 2014, Bustos did so at a rate of 84.9%.
In 2012 Bustos ousted Schilling by 6.6 percent of the votes. Voting is held Nov. 4 and the race will be decided that night.

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Schilling, Bustos discuss campaign