Congresswoman-elect Cheri Bustos takes office today and immediately will be plunged into debates over the fiscal cliff and raising the debt limit.|
Ms. Bustos will be sworn in at noon in the U.S. Capitol after her victory in the November election as the new representative for the 17th Congressional District.
"I'm honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be sworn in tomorrow at the U.S. Capitol in front of family and friends as the new voice for the hardworking people of Illinois' 17th Congressional District," she said on Wednesday.
"I look forward to working each day with a spirit of bipartisanship and Midwestern common sense to do what's right for middle-class families in communities across the district."
The man she'll replace said Ms. Bustos is likely to face a tough start.
"There's a lot of interesting things coming up, and she's going to be thrown right into it," said U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona. "It's going to be kind of like drinking from the fire hose."
But Rep. Schilling, who owns a pizzeria, said diving into the deep end early would serve Ms. Bustos well later.
"When you hire a (restaurant) server, they don't really learn much if they start on a Monday night," he said. "You want to put them into the Friday night rush."
The fiscal cliff compromise approved on Tuesday postponed a decision on $110 billion in automatic spending cuts for two months.
The agreementprevented income tax cuts from expiring for the middle class, but it raised rates on individuals with incomes more than $400,000 or households making more than $450,000.
Postponing spending cuts as a new debate on raising the federal government's debt ceiling looms, sets the stage for further drama in Congress over the next few months.
Rep. Schilling said Ms. Bustos will do well as the 17th District's representative in Congress if she listens to her constituents.
The East Moline Democrat will be sworn in along with the other members of the 113th United States Congress.
On Wednesday, she announced the addition of two staff members to her team.
She has hired Todd Wolf as legislative director and Colin Milligan as communications director.
A native of Dubuque, Mr. Wolfmost recently was senior legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley in Iowa's 1st Congressional District. Before that, he worked for U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, also of Iowa.
Colin Milligan was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., and most recently was press secretary for U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley's run for the U.S. Senate in Nevada. Before that, he worked at the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Mr. Wolf and Mr. Milligan join chief of staff Allison Jaslow and district director Jerry Lack.
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