Congressman Dan Lipinski
Throughout his service in Congress, Dan Lipinski has been a leader on transportation issues, the promotion of American manufacturing, job creation through research and technological innovation, strengthening Buy American laws, restoring fiscal responsibility and honoring the nation’s veterans and seniors.
Dan has earned a reputation as a legislator who brings people together to solve problems. As Congress has struggled with historic gridlock, Dan has been able to get bills signed into law, including legislation that boosts manufacturing jobs, and a bill that protects Americans from cybercrimes and increases national security, among others. Check out his comprehensive work on the issues:
Manufacturing built America and the middle class, and if we’re going to rebuild the middle class we need to boost American manufacturing. That’s why I authored the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act; the passage of this bill into law means that America will have a manufacturing strategy for the first time since Alexander Hamilton. The first plan will be published in Spring 2018, and every four years a revised plan will be created. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail; we cannot fail on manufacturing or else we’re failing America’s middle class.
I have also been a leader in promoting Buy American policies, which assure that when the federal government spends taxpayer money it is investing in American-made goods and American workers. I have been successful in adding Buy American provisions to numerous pieces of legislation and have introduced the Buy American Improvement Act to expand made-in-America requirements to more federal programs and to close loopholes in current policy.
Putting American manufacturing and manufacturing workers on the cutting edge of innovation is vital for our competitiveness. I was a leader in getting the law passed to create the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which is the program that led to Chicago’s Digital Manufacturing Design Institute, a pioneering center that will help manufacturing in Illinois and the nation innovate and become more efficient, while also training workers in cutting edge technologies.
Middle-class Americans have suffered from bad trade deals made over the past 25 years. Manufacturing has been particularly hard hit. These agreements have contributed significantly to stagnant wages. I have fought against bad trade deals. I helped lead the fight that killed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would have been the biggest trade deal in history and would have led to more disastrous job losses. We need a new model for trade that protects American workers. That is why I helped introduce legislation to establish a 21st Century Workers Bill of Rights that should be included in all future trade agreements to protect workers’ rights instead of only helping multinational corporations.
America must remain at the cutting edge of innovation if we are going to have a strong economy and create new jobs for the middle class. As the top Democrat on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Research and Technology Subcommittee, I have been a leader in making sure that America continues to fund research and give entrepreneurs the tools they need to innovate. I helped create the Innovation Corps that is helping to turn research at universities, national labs, and federal agencies into new products and new jobs. I also helped bring the federally-funded research center on battery technology to Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont.
One of the most important priorities for elected officials should be working to keep their communities safe. I have made it a priority to support our brave police officers, firefighters, and other first responders, and I have secured millions of dollars in federal funding to hire more officers and firefighters and purchase new equipment. I passed a law naming a local post office after a fallen Chicago firefighter – Captain Herbie Johnson, fought for federal funding for memorials for fallen police officers, and helped raised money to purchase bullet-proof vests for local police. I understand the need to do a better job keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and have supported measures that expand background checks to all gun sales and that make gun trafficking a federal crime. I have introduced legislation to improve security on transit systems and worked with the DOT and railroads to develop an app that will help firefighters prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. I’ve passed an amendment to strengthen regulations governing railroad tank car safety. To fight the opioid crisis, I have fought for increased funding for addiction treatment and helped establish local drug disposal points.
Unfortunately, women continue to face inequality in pay and treatment at work. To provide greater opportunities for women I’ve supported the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to close the wage gap and prevent pay discrimination. I’ve also cosponsored the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to require employers to provide proper accommodations for pregnant workers. And to ensure that pregnancy can be increasingly safe, I’ve supported measures to reduce maternal deaths, improve access to maternity care, and to help better address post-partum depression. I have been a strong supporter of reauthorizing and fully funding the Violence Against Women Act, and I was also proud to author legislation, signed into law, that requires the Defense Department to deploy specially-trained sexual assault nurses with all military deployments to assure that we can properly treat sexual assault victims and prosecute perpetrators.
As the most senior member from Illinois on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have been a leader in Congress improving local roads, transit, trails, and airports. I understand that easing congestion on our roads saves every family time and money, as well as helping to spur job growth in our region. I helped author the FAST Act in 2015 which increased federal funding for Illinois roads by 10 percent and increased funding for public transit. I have brought home more than $375 million in federal money for local transportation projects. I fought for and achieved expanded service on Metra’s Southwest Service and Heritage Corridor Lines and helped improve Metra, Pace, and CTA stations and transit centers in the Third District. I’ve brought back tens of millions of dollars to help Midway Airport remain an economic engine on the Southwest Side of Chicago, while also working to alleviate noise issues that affect local residents.
Seniors built this nation through their hard work and sacrifice. We owe it to our seniors and future generations to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. I have fought against privatizing Social Security and against raids of the Medicare Trust Fund. During my tenure, I’ve held over 100 Senior Fairs across the 3rd District and helped hundreds of seniors receive help with Social Security, Medicare, and other issues. I’ve helped introduce legislation to create an inflation index based on the real costs that seniors face so that they see more realistic annual increases in their Social Security checks.
Our health care system must work better for America’s middle class and for small businesses. For many Americans, premiums and out-of-pocket costs are too high. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) needs to be fixed, not repealed. Since the ACA became law I’ve been working to make improvements so that families and small businesses have better access to more affordable care. I have voted for dozens of fixes to the ACA and believe we must do more to help rein in the costs charged by big drug companies, hospitals, and other providers. I’ve supported allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for bulk discounts – as we do for the VA health care system – which would save seniors and the government billions of dollars per year. I have been a strong supporter of increased funding for community health centers, and have fought for more funding for the National Institutes of Health so we can help find cures to more of our great health challenges.
We can never fully repay all the brave men and women who have defended our nation and kept us free, but we must do all we can to honor and take care of our veterans. I have consistently worked for more funding for veterans and better medical treatment at the VA. I have fought for better treatment and for jobs and business opportunities for our recently returning service members. I spurred the Defense Department to bring home the remains of Americans who died in the pivotal WWII Battle of Tarawa. I have supported Honor Flight and have helped veterans share their stories through the Veterans History Project. Through my constituent service program, my staff and I have helped hundreds of veterans in the district receive the benefits they have earned.
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and I’ve fought to make sure the federal government expands opportunities for small businesses to thrive. If we don’t support our small business owners, our communities will suffer. That is why I support putting our small businesses on a level playing field with online sellers instead of placing an unfair tax burden on them. I have fought against and helped repeal overburdensome regulations that were hurting small businesses. I cosponsored and helped enact into law the Small Business Health Care Relief Act and the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, which fixed flaws in the ACA that would have destabilized the small business insurance market and effectively prohibited small businesses from assisting their workers with purchasing health coverage. While we’ve lost local manufacturers over the years we still have many fighting to survive and provide good-paying jobs. When a local small manufacturer lost a contract because the DOD didn’t follow Buy American laws, I stepped in and got the decision reversed, resulting in dozens of more jobs. I’ve been a leader in expanding the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to give new businesses an early boost.
Most immigrants come to the United States to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families. It is in our national interest for Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform. I will continue to push for legislation that allows immigrants to contribute to and become a part of our nation, while also stopping illegal immigration, defending our borders, and protecting American workers. We should start by passing the BRIDGE Act – which I have cosponsored and built bipartisan support for – to protect from deportation those brought to our nation as children and who have qualified for DACA status. While we must always protect our nation from those who would do us harm, I have opposed President Trump’s ill-conceived travel ban which has been harmful to innocent individuals, including refugees fleeing persecution.
I taught American Government to college students before being elected to Congress, so I understand how critical a good, affordable education is for every American to reach their potential and for our nation to thrive. I have fought to make college more affordable and lower the onerous college loans that are saddling so many young people and their families. I helped repeal the ill-conceived No Child Left Behind Act which was hindering K-12 education, and replace it with a better law to help state and local governments determine how to best educate our children. As co-chair of the congressional STEM Education Caucus, the top Democrat on the Science Committee’s Research and Technology Subcommittee, and a former engineer, I have been a leader in improving science, technology, engineering, and math education at all levels and helping to increase the pipeline of students into STEM.
Americans face numerous security threats from countries like North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran, as well as terrorist organizations such as ISIS and their sympathizers. To keep our nation safe, we must have a strong military that provides our brave service members with the tools they need to protect us. I have supported robust funding for our military while opposing wasteful spending. And I have opposed intervention when it was not in the best interest of our nation, such as in Libya.
I know that we must take care of our environment to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. I have been a leader in creating policies that promote energy efficiency, cut emissions of dangerous pollutants, and help develop and bring to market clean alternative energy technologies. The Great Lakes are a tremendous environmental asset; I have continuously fought against pollution in the lake and I am leading efforts to support their restoration. I am a member of the House Climate Solutions Caucus and have brought Republican members into the group to advance effective policy solutions to deal with climate threats. I’ve been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, and to make investments in helping developing nations transition to a clean energy future. I have protected our national parks and other federal lands from exploitation. I’ve also fought for clean water, to protect this important national asset and assure safe drinking water for all Americans.
Far too often, Americans are not treated fairly by some businesses. These hassles make everyday life more difficult and end up wasting our time and money. That is why I have been a champion for consumers’ rights, pushing commonsense rules to require airlines to take better care of passengers whose flights are delayed by fault of the airline, and passing legislation that requires the return of baggage fees for delayed luggage. I’ve also fought to prevent telemarketers from being able to use ringless voicemails that would fill up cell phone voicemail boxes, and have fought against legislation that would undermine net neutrality and let cable companies and others limit your access to the content you want from the Internet.
Our growing national debt threatens the long-term solvency of Medicare, Social Security, and our ability to invest in national priorities like infrastructure, education, and research. I’ve made it a priority to try to keep our government’s focus on budget sanity a priority, and the Concord Coalition has recognized me for my fiscal leadership. Since passing a budget is one of Congress’s most important responsibilities, I support No Budget, No Pay, so that when we don’t pass our bills on time, we don’t get paid.