Congressman Quigley shares fears about Russian investigation and three other challenges


Quigley takes time with a future voter

"I think pardoning Arpaio ["Sheriff Joe"] was a trial balloon," says Congressman Mike Quigley, 5th District, who admitted, in West Town Sunday, that his paranoia about President Trump's actions "beside firing Sessions who would fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who would fire special counsel Robert Mueller, is that he would pardon some of these guys [being investigated]. 

"Mueller is doing a good job, I have faith, we'll see. He could last two years. Watergate took over a year and it was not as complicated. Watergate wasn't international…you try subpoenaing an oligarch," he said laughing. 

A neighbor asked, "So how can you?" 

"Well there are actually a few who want to speak about Manafort," explained Quigley. "It would be very helpful, but how do you give them immunity in the manor they want? That is up to Mueller. We'll see." 

"I think there will be some indictments, but then will they be pardoned?" 

With his travels, interviews and research, as one of the 22-member Intelligence Committee, taking up much of his 75 to 80-hour weeks, Quigley commented, "I am   doing what I have to do, not what I want to do." 

Three other issues he does want to cover are: healthcare, infrastructure and the Democratic party. 


Quigley holds son of West Town Neighbors Assn.'s President, Liz Kuhn Tomka

Asked if it is feasible to fix the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Congressman said, "Sure if you are not trying to de-fund planned parenthood and knock 25 million people off! 

"Change the risk formulas and increase the incentives and stop undermining it along with two or three other things like dealing with the pharmaceutical costs by letting them do competitive bidding. But right now they are undermining it. Some of the exchanges are going to need a public option." 

The one payer option didn't happen when the Democrats were in control so unlikely in the current Congress. "On the floor we'd have about 58 votes. Being a pragmatist we can achieve the same goal, it's just a little more piecemeal," he said. 

There is a lot of support nationally to rebuild the country like the locks on the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence Seaway, according to Quigley. "During the Depression, we rebuilt a lot of the country and we are still using that infrastructure. 

"We got a billion for the Red Line last year. In the final analysis, it's all Federal money." While ribbon cutting ceremonies are generally focused on local politicians taking their bows, there are few matching funds. "I was sitting next to [Senator Dick] Durbin once at one of these things and he sees everybody speaking while we are the last two. Federal funding was 95% of that project. 

"The CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] carries more riders than Amtrak. In 34 days there are more CTA rides than on Amtrak nationally." 

According to CTA reports, the total bus and rail system ridership was 497.7 million in 2016, a decrease from 2015 of 3.8 percent from 2015. However it is up .6 percent over a 10-year ridership trend from 2006. In fact, rail ridership in 2016 was at its second-highest annual level of 238.6 million. Rail rides for the year decreased modestly by 1.5 percent from 2015’s all-time high. 

Also in 2016, CTA recorded its highest one-day rail ridership total ever, when it provided 1.15 million rail rides on Nov. 4, 2016, the day of the Cubs World Series Championship parade in Chicago. The CTA says it continues to see strong rail ridership relative to bus ridership trends, in line with trends seen at other major U.S. transit agencies. 

Next Quigley is out for Blue Line rebuilding funds. One neighbor complained about slowness and another asked about rebuilding stations. Quigley said that funding would be for a myriad of changes, as was the Red Line billion dollar renovation. 


A conversation with a local constituent appears to be more enjoyable than some beltway conversations

What is the Democratic agenda?
Can the Democrats [DNC: Democratic National Committee] get an agenda beyond "No to Trump?" 

That appears to be a question being discussed in caucus every day, according to Quigley. "For me it's infrastructure. It would be the first way to start creating jobs.

"You remember how bad the economy was when Obama took over? Only 6% of his bill was infrastructure and it created about 75% of the jobs." 

What needs to get done
He reports, to date Congress has not gotten much done under the new administration. He notes that the Republicans are still trying to repeal the healthcare law and Democrats are trying to give them options that are passable. 

"We have to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government. Then we'll be busy with the election cycle."




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