Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2012, 10:15 pm
Bustos seeks seat on Armed Services panel
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Rep-elect Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, is lobbying for seats on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
After a tour of the Rock Island Arsenal on Monday, Ms. Bustos said the two committees could have important decisions related to the Arsenal, the Quad-Cities' largest employer, and funding for a new Interstate 74 bridge.
Ms. Bustos will take office in January at a time when defense spending is under threat from the fiscal cliff, the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, who lost his re-election bid to Ms. Bustos last month, sits on the Armed Services Committee.
Ms. Bustos said she has spoke to "key folks in Congress" seeking a seat on the committee when she takes office.But she acknowledged that, as a freshman member of the minority party, she will face strong competition for assignments to important committees.
"Now here's the reality: There's tough competition from new members that were just elected to serve on those committees," she said. "So as I stand here, I can't make a promise that's where I'll end up serving."
Flanked by East Moline Mayor John Thodos and Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba at a Monday news conference, Ms. Bustos said U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, was "lobbying" on her behalf.
"Whether she's on House Armed Services or not, the fact is she understands the value of the island and can work with our allies such as (Rep.) Dave Loebsack, who will continue to be on the House Armed Services, and Sen. (Dick) Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. (Mark) Kirk, (R-Ill.)" Mr. Thodos said.
The two mayors said they both harbored concerns about the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff that will occur Jan. 1 unless President Barack Obama and House Republicans reach a compromise.
"It was a mistake by Congress to create a mess like this that could threaten the well-being of the Arsenal, the well-being of a lot of jobs and the well-being of this country," Mayor Gluba said.