U.S. Rep. Phil Hare visits PI headquarters to discuss health care reform, GOP obstruction, and the mood in Illinois' 17th congressional district.
When we caught up with U.S. Rep. Phil Hare last summer, the Galesburg-born Democrat was giddy about his party's efforts to reform the nation's troubled health care system and extend affordable coverage to all Americans. "I think now, more than ever," he told us, "we need to push this."
That's exactly what Hare and his colleagues did, passing in March one of his party's longstanding policy priorities. Back in his home state for the August recess, Hare stopped by PI headquarters to reflect on that legislative fight, which he considered the most important achievement of his second term in office:
The 111th Congress could have been even more productive were it not for the procedural chicanery Republicans in the U.S. Senate employed to stall and block roughly 400 bills that passed in the lower chamber. In our interview, Hare didn't necessarily blame the opposition for its obstruction. Instead, he called on Democrats to change their message by promoting the stories of ordinary people whose lives have been devastated by the economic recession. Watch:
In November, Hare will face Republican Bobby Schilling in his re-election bid. Already, the Democrat has had to withstand attacks on his health care views and his military service. (Hare spent six years in the Army reserves). But he tells us that the experience has renewed his strength to represent working people in the nation's capitol. Below, he outlines a few legislative priorities he'd like to push in 2011: