Rep. Aaron Schock: Millennials Can Solve Nation's Woes

Image: Rep. Aaron Schock: Millennials Can Solve Nation's Woes

Sunday, 22 Dec 2013 01:42 PM

By Amy Woods

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The under-40 set in Congress is growing, and that's a good thing because today's leaders are finding themselves hindered by party demands and establishment bases, Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, of Illinois, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Right now, our leadership on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers, are a bit challenged at being leaders because they're so concerned about their ideological bases, they're afraid to be what their title says, which is a leader," Schock, 32, said.

The Illinois representative said his Congressional Future Caucus is aimed at bringing together so-called "millennials" to focus on longer-term legislation aimed at solving the country's woes.

"A lot of the younger members are much less ideologically strident, they are much more ambitious by nature because they got here at a young age, and they're much more impatient about solving America's problems," Schock said.

He said there were four members of the House younger than 40 when he was elected in 2008. Now there are 40 — 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Schock said it's going to be difficult to sell it to young people.

"Young people didn't want to buy insurance before because they didn't think they needed it," he said. "Now, it's more expensive than it was before, and the penalty of noncompliance is very, very inexpensive — it's $100. No matter the sales pitch, no matter what rock star you get involved, it's going to be hard to convince young people to part with more and more of their money."

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, appearing on the same show, said House members younger than 40 are ready to get to work without getting mired in politics like some of the veteran representatives.

"We're not willing to sit around and wait for another 20 or 30 years to be in a position of seniority … but to find out how do we kind of create the pressure points," said Gabbard, who heads the Congressional Future Caucus along with Schock.

"What we're trying to accomplish is to provide a platform and to grow a community of people who are building a relationship based on trust, based on respect and understanding."

While the Affordable Care Act is banking on young, healthy Americans to sign up for it, Gabbard said it's a tough sell because of disengagement from the law, a lack of trust in it, and a "clear cynicism" and "frustration with government as a whole."



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