CAT CEO backs Bobby Schilling

By Anna Yee

October 4, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 4:15 AM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- The political attacks aren't stopping.

But on Thursday, there was time for some praise, at least for Congressman Bobby Schilling.

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar CEO and Vice Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers, presented Schilling with an award for supporting the industry.

Oberhelman says 80 percent of Caterpillar's manufacturing jobs rely on exports to other countries.

He stands by Schilling's previous vote to pass free trade agreements, even if Schilling's 17th District Democrat opponent. Cheri Bustos, doesn't.

"We need to make sure we're shipping goods overseas not jobs overseas," said Bustos, "and we need to make sure we level the playing field in order for our workers to be able to compete with anyone in the world."

"Now you tell me how someone who's running for that seat in this district can talk to their constituents in that way," said Oberhelman. "It is an absolute abomination, in my opinion, that we have to put up with that."

Cheri Bustos attacks Schilling for giving tax breaks to companies sending jobs out of the country.

"Nothing can be further from the truth," said Rep. Schilling, (R) IL of the 17th Dist. "I want to keep American jobs here and actually allow companies overseas to bring their funds back here with no penalty."

That penalty is a federal corporate tax rate sitting at 35 percent.

President Obama says he wants to reduce it. Still, republicans want to see that rate even lower.

"Those other countries incentivize their companies to grow and expand jobs in their country. Why can't we do that?" said Schilling. "We've got to fix that."

With about a month left before elections, it's likely political bashing will stay in the spotlight.