February 16th, 2009
09:26 AM ET
2 years ago

IL Republican: Obama only arm-twisted in public

(CNN) – It’s not often that a freshman member of Congress gets a ride on Air Force One and a personal shout-out from the President himself in front of the hometown crowd. Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock got both last week but still voted against President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus bill.

After joining Obama on the presidential plane to Peoria, which is part of Schock’s congressional district, the President made a specific appeal to Schock during an event at a Caterpillar plant.

“Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,” the President said last Thursday. “He’s a very talented young man. I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria,” Obama added.

But the presidential spotlight was not enough to win over Schock.

“Ultimately, I listened to my constituents and I looked at what I knew about the bill and determined it was not in the best interests of my constituents,” the freshman Republican said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It was not really a stimulus bill with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy.”


Schock says the new president was kind notwithstanding their differences over how best to help the nation’s struggling economy.

Being on Air Force One “was an amazing experience,” Schock told Chief National Correspondent John King.

Related: Air Force One is one 'spiffy ride,' Obama says

“I like the President. He’s a very good guy . . . I want him to be successful. I want to vote for a stimulus bill. I appreciated his hospitality in bringing me along on the trip. . . . But at the end of the day my responsibility is to the people who gave me this job – my constituents,” the 27-year-old said.

President Obama “could not have been more cordial” onboard Air Force One, Schock said. “He waited for the hard sell, if you will, in front of the national media. That’s when I really got both of my arms twisted there in front of hundreds of my constituents and the national media when he had me stand up and basically ask my constituents to put the pressure on me.”

Like some of his Republican colleagues in the Senate, Schock also took issue with the legislative process that resulted in the massive stimulus bill.

“Bipartisanship is not one party writes the bill and we all vote for it. Bipartisanship means you truly meld together both sides ideas and come up with a compromise bill,” Schock told King. “That didn’t happen in this case and ultimately, that’s why I voted against it.”

Schock is currently the youngest member of the 111th Congress and was recently voted the “Hottest Freshman” in Congress in a poll of Huffington Post readers.

soundoff (777 Responses)
  1. Promyse Benibo

    Mr. Schock sounds quite naive to me. Does n't Mr. Schock understand that the Majority always writes a Bill of this importance, and not the Minority? By Bipartisan, President Obama does not mean that Bills will be written by equal number of the Majority and Minority sitting across a table, but that the Minority will be consulted and any constructive suggestions put forward by them may be reflected in the bills.

    In my opinion, Mr. Schock is making the same mistake made by the Republican party by voting against the stimulus package. It seems to me that the Republican party as whole has decided to oppose the efforts of the President to work with them. In general, almost all of them seem to call the package " a spending Bill," arguing that it is not stimulative enough. What a lame economic reason for not voting for the Bill.

    In the parlance of Economics, a stimulus economic package ,by its nature, is a spending bill. It is meant to stimulate the Demand of Goods and Services in the Economy in order to stir up Supply and ultimately Employment. Contrary to the Republican argument, Tax Relief, in general, is not direct spending; hence, it will not stimulate the Economy as direct spending will.

    Unfortunately, Republicans generally tend to utilize Tax Relief as the single most important economic tool to stimulate the Economy, even though the results of such misquided efforts are dismal. Why then do Republicans always and even swear by Tax Relief?

    The answer, in my opinion, is that most Republicans often claim to be Conservatives, and in the parlance of Finance, Conservatives by nature are those who are reluctant to update their information sets in the face of new information. Thus, Conservatives tend to get stuck with and often apply invalid Economic Principles- Economic concepts that used to hold under certain conditions but no longer hold under present conditions. Incidentally, this may explain why the last Administration failed so miserably.

    February 15, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  2. Robert in Boonville, MO

    Funny, for the last 8 years they locked out the Democrats but now things are supposed to change when they are the minority. Maybe someone should tell these sore losers that they actually LOST in both 2006 and 2008. Apparently they didn't get the memo.

    February 16, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  3. Joseph From Ohio

    Disappointed not disappointment. Slight typo error.

    February 16, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  4. Ivonne

    It does not make a difference which party writes the bill, at the end there are comments and edits anyway which comes down to the same as if two parties wrote the bills. Everyone has to work together for the country, too much negativity, we are in this together. Of course, there are those that are not experiencing financial drawbacks so they really can't identify with those people who lost their jobs and are experiencing financial difficulties. They don't know what it is for their family not to have medical coverage.

    February 16, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  5. Elvis

    Who cares? he's a republican what did you expect him to do. Thet had a chance to fix all these problem when they had the power,but they saw fit to make it worse. same old failed politics did work then so why shold we listen to them now?

    February 16, 2009 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  6. yes we can and yes he did

    I'm an Obama supporter however I do believe that the stimulus is over doing it only because off the bail outs that have already been passed. These bail outs and stimulus packages are only going to make the big companies richer. The government will bail them out and those same companies will continue to collect bad debt from the american people which means they will end up getting paid twice. We need a plan that goes directly to the american people. If we do that then banks, auto makers and other companies would not need government help that would make profit from consumers payments and purchases

    February 16, 2009 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  7. yes we can and yes he did

    I'm an Obama supporter however I do believe that the stimulus is over doing it only because of the bail outs that have already been passed. These bail outs and stimulus packages are only going to make the big companies richer. The government will bail them out and those same companies will continue to collect bad debt from the american people which means they will end up getting paid twice. We need a plan that goes directly to the american people. If we do that then banks, auto makers and other companies would not need government help that would make profit from consumers payments and purchases

    February 16, 2009 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  8. R

    President Obama was trying to save your re-election, not twist your arms. You didn't get it then and you didn't get it when you voted against a stimulus package that will help your constitutents. Too bad.

    February 16, 2009 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  9. Monica Linville

    Um, I'm confused. The gentleman who was recently voted the "hottest Freshman" in Congress voted against the stimulus package because, quote, "it's not really a stimulus package with the majority of the money going towards stimulating the economy." I'm speechless.

    February 16, 2009 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  10. A tired American

    “Bipartisanship is not one party writes the bill and we all vote for it. Bipartisanship means you truly meld together both sides ideas and come up with a compromise bill..."
    Compromise means no one gets all that he or she wants, but all get some of what they want. Although the Republicans might not have their stamp on the provisions, some of the provisions were what the Republicans wanted. Not all the Democrats got what they wanted either, but they still voted for it – as a compromise bill.
    Republicans can spin this anyway they want, but it still boils down to them throwing a temper tantrum.

    February 16, 2009 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  11. Adam

    Best interests of your constituents, eh?

    Does this mean that his district shouldn't get any funding? Go ahead, tell us your district doesn't need it. There are plenty of public works projects in other districts and sates, since yours does not need it.

    February 16, 2009 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  12. Corwin7

    What a suprise...the new republican is acting like the old republicans did... "Meet the new Boss....Same as the old boss". Apparently "bipartisan" to republicans means doing things "thier way" regardless of how the public votes and the disaster those very policies have led us too...i.e. tax cuts for the rich so they can hire Mexicans, Chinese, and Indians over Americans to make huge profits while we lose our homes and familys. So my question is this...Exactly HOW BADLY do the "Tax Cuts, trickle drown economics and privatization" have to fail before someone with an "R" next to thier name admits they don't frakin work?

    February 16, 2009 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  13. do not insult me

    Why is this important? Everyone knows that not one republican voted for the package. It is not news to us. I have watched my brother look for a job after his plant closed after over 25 years of faithful service. I have seen the worry on his face. I have seen the humiliation as we help him with groceries, bills for his family. His savings has dwindled and the unemployment helps very little. This story is an insult to me as I wake up early in the morning before I go to work. I pray for my brother and others like him. I pary for this man and others like him as well. I pray for my President as he tries to work with a party that is not concerned with the people. They do not want unity. They want to fight. I do not know who this young man is, but shame on him and others like him. It is an insult for the republican party to vote a Black man to lead them and think that Black people will blindly follow him. I am ashamed when I hear him speak. He has come to spar with our President as he stated. Yet my brother is depressed and doing his best to keep the faith. I know taht God will see us through this time. How Bush and others that caused this crisis can sleep at night is beyond my understanding. I do not want to hear or read of another person that states why thye did not vote for this plan. It matters not one iota to me. I am praying that God will sustain this nation. Where there is unity there is strength. A house divided cannot stand. This is not a direct quote from Lincoln, Jesus said it first.

    February 16, 2009 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  14. Independent_me

    Schock- Schmock...

    February 16, 2009 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. William

    “Ultimately, I listened to my constituents"

    No you didn't. You voted the way your leaders told you to vote. We all know that Republicans have to tow the party line or be targeted for replacement. That's why there are no more liberal and almost no moderate Republicans left in Congress.

    February 16, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  16. Doc

    Bipartisanship is what Eric Cantor tells you it is, Aaron.

    February 16, 2009 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  17. meadowlands

    Looks like Ilinois finally has someone with brains.

    February 16, 2009 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  18. AnaHadWolves

    Proof, once again, that Republicans march in locked goose-step. Too bad for the country that their little brains are so totally devoured by partisanship instead of statesmanship. Shame on the entire lot of Republicans.

    February 16, 2009 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  19. Dawn

    Free Ride....

    February 16, 2009 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  20. grahame

    These Republicans are a laugh a minute. They decry the Democrat package yet all they offer is the same old failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place. It's typical of Schock (read McCain) to play the same old nonsense about Obama having a rocky start and not supporting anything This of course is just sour grapes anyway because the Republicans just went along party lines even though there is a crisis in this country. It's obvious that Republicans are just puppets, wind them up and they all say it's anyone's fault but theirs.
    If you think this is diversive just wait until the medical bill is pushed forward.

    February 16, 2009 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  21. Earl

    That is the problem with politics today is that its all about the politicians own personal interest. As the young republican senator stated, he did not vote for the bill because it was not in the best interest of his " constituents". It's not about your constituents but the american people or have we forgotten.

    February 16, 2009 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  22. DaisyPA

    good for him – he didn't bow to the "beauty & the bling"

    February 16, 2009 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  23. Robert

    Come on! A freshmen Republican Senator listen to a Democratic President. This guy is still trying to find the men's bathroom. He's going to do what ever the minority whip tells him to do, or he'll be locked out of the "Grand Ol' Party."

    February 16, 2009 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  24. scdemocrat

    How is it that in the latest polls 66% of Americans approve of the stimulus package , yet all of the Republicans say they were listening to their constituents in voting against it. Does this mean that EVERY person who votes Republican is against this bill and everyone else supports it ? Well, maybe these Republicans should pay attention to what just happened in the election, and try and realize their ideas are outdated and have been discounted by the American people. Time to get on board or get the heck out of the way.

    February 16, 2009 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  25. Norma Tumberg

    Wow, I am SO impressed..... a politician that actually will stand up for his principles and not be taken in by sweet talk and pressure. We need a lot more like him, way to go!! Could he be the next prez??

    February 16, 2009 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
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