Roskam also follows in the conservative footsteps of his predecessor and former boss on social policy and foreign policy. Like the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), whose name is attached to a law that has long barred federal funding of most abortions, Roskam opposes abortion. He was a legislative aide to Hyde and was also on the staff of then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in the mid-1980s.
He is also a vocal supporter of Israel and co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus: “Israel is our one friend that we can consistently count on that has a shared set of values, and we need to do those things that are necessary to make sure that the relationship is solid,” he said.
Working with Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, he wants to establish a non-profit, national Korean War museum in Chicago. Roskam’s father served in the Korean War.
In a nod to his optimism, Roskam does know that to get his legislative priorities done, or anything really in Congress, deadlines are key, and expiring tax provisions, such as the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts at the end of this year, or expiring funding laws, such as the surface transportation law, pose an opportunity, rather than a hindrance.
“Look, legislative bodies tend to be crisis-driven institutions,” he said. “I’ve experienced that in the state House and in the state Senate. It’s the way these institutions are made up. That is it. Say that there is a deadline, use the deadline and recognize that there is an opportunity to bring people together for it.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.