Congressman-elect Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, hasn't settled quite yet on a long-term place to stay when the U.S. House of Representatives reconvenes in January and Davis is sworn in as a member of the 113th Congress.
So Davis, at least for now, plans to take the frugal approach for a place to live in Washington, D.C.
"I'm going to kick back in the office for a while," he said.
Like other new congressmen, Davis is waiting to hear on what committees he will serve.
Because of the many farms and agri-businesses in his central Illinois district, Davis already submitted a bid letter for the House agriculture panel.
In addition, he also sought seats on that chamber's transportation and education and work force panels.
The 112th Congress, which ends Jan. 3, has been criticized for partisanship and inaction.
The 113th Congress, however, seems characterized by veteran Republicans who've expressed "a mood to find common ground solutions," Davis said.
"And I know the freshman class, I talked to numerous members of both parties, and there is a willingness to work together and get away from the polarization of politics that we've seen in the last few years."
Davis, a former top aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, narrowly defeated Dr. David Gill, D-Bloomington, in the Nov. 6 election to represent the 13th U.S. House District.
John Hartman, an Edwardsville independent, also ran for the seat.
The newly drawn district runs from Madison County and includes parts of Edwardsville, Collinsville and Maryville, as well as 13 other counties, terminating at Champaign County on the state's eastern edge.
Davis replaces U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Champaign, who, after winning the GOP primary in May, abruptly announced in May his retirement from office after 11 years.
Meanwhile, negotiations continue between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, about how to avoid the one-two punch of steep tax increases and deep spending cuts that are scheduled to take place Jan. 1 -- that is, if Obama and Boehner can't work out a deal on reducing the nation's $16 trillion public debt and deficit-plagued yearly budgets.
Davis said he has no doubt that efforts to cut the deficit will dominate the House agenda for the years ahead.
Davis said he wants to make permanent the tax cuts that congress passed under former President George W. Bush in 2003 and 2006.
Those tax cuts are set to expire Dec. 31. By making them permanent, business owners will have greater certainty concerning their costs going forward, Davis said.
"The fact is they don't know what their tax bill will be at the end of the year," he said. "Frankly, they don't even know what their health care costs will be."
Davis' opposition to any increase in income taxes stands in contrast to the plans presented so far by Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The powerful Democrats want to see the Bush-era tax cuts extended for middle-class individuals and families, but expire for individuals and families earning more than $200,000 and $250,000, respectively, per year.
Another issue Davis said he wishes to take a hard look at as a congressman consists of the factors that keep unemployed workers from getting the training they need to find new jobs.
For instance, an unemployed worker who attends a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville program on biofuel management, but without the approval of the federal agency overseeing his re-training, "would lose their unemployment benefits even if they paid for it out of their own pockets," he said. "Those things have to stop."
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2533.