ST. CHARLES – U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, said he is proud of what he and his fellow lawmakers have been able to accomplish since taking office.
Casten took office in January after beating incumbent Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, in November’s midterm election.
“I’ve run for one elected office in my entire life and I won, so if you want advice on how to get to office, I’m batting a thousand,” Casten said , in talking to St. Charles Chamber of Commerce members April 26 at the Baker Community Center.
He spoke to them about his first 100 days in office. That included a discussion about the For The People Act, a bill approved in the U.S. House to expand voting rights, limit partisan gerrymandering, strengthen ethics rules and limit the influence of private donor money in politics.
“It’s really powerful to be an incumbent and that means it’s really hard to have an incentive as an incumbent to change the rules,” Casten said, talking about the need for the legislation.
The House also approved legislation which would require background checks for all gun purchases across the country. He said the legislation is “long overdue.”
“In some ways, even more importantly, we passed H.R. 1112 that closes the ‘Charleston Loophole,’” Casten said.
“It’s one thing to do background checks for guns. The second question is, who are you checking and what are you checking?”
The bill would prevent a gun sale from proceeding if a background check isn’t completed within three days, as allowed under current law. In 2015, nine people were murdered at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a gunman who would not have passed a background check.
Casten said he is also working on legislation that would lower drug prices.
“There’s a bill that I introduced in the House that Senator Dick Durbin has introduced in the Senate called the FLAT (Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous Prices Prices Act),” he said.
The legislation would reduce the government-granted monopoly period for medications if their prices are significantly increased, enabling lower-cost generic drugs to come to market earlier.
Currently, pharmaceutical companies are awarded “monopoly periods” of five to 12 years by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for new drug approvals.
During this time, FDA agrees not to review cheaper, generic alternatives.
“It’s just kind of a way of keeping people honest,” Casten said.