Daniel David "Dan" Rostenkowski (January 2, 1928 – August 11, 2010) was a United States Representative from Illinois, serving from 1959 to 1995. Raised in a blue-collar neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Rostenkowski rose to become one of the most powerful legislators in Washington. He was a member of the Democratic Party. The son of an alderman and a product of the Cook County machine, Rostenkowski was for many years Democratic Committeeman of Chicago's 32nd Ward, retaining this position even while serving in Congress.
In Washington, he rose by virtue of seniority to the rank of Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 1981, just as the Reagan Revolution marginalized many other Democratic politicians. As Chairman of Ways and Means, he played a critical role in formulating tax policy during the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan, including the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, which cut income taxes by 25%, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which further cut taxes and reduced the number of brackets to only two. He was also involved in trade policy, as well as reforms of the welfare system, health care and Social Security programs
Rostenkowski closed legislative deals between the toughest power brokers in the U.S., from union chiefs to corporate titans to the president himself. The book Chicago and the American Century credited Rostenkowski with securing billions of dollars for projects in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The book named him the sixth most significant politician to come from Chicago in the twentieth century.
Rostenkowski's political career ended abruptly in 1996 when he pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and was fined and sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Read more about Dan Rostenkowski: Early Life and Political Beginnings, Illinois Legislature, Connecting With The Kennedys, Early Years, U.S. Congress, 1968 Democratic National Convention, Political Payback, Political Comeback, Major Legislation Enacted During Chairmanship, Felony Conviction, Changing Times, In Chicago, For Chicago, Books
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“There is a potential 4-6 percentage point net gain for the President [George Bush] by replacing Dan Quayle on the ticket with someone of neutral stature.”
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