U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

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Members of Illinois' congressional delegation marked improvements at Chicago Rockford International Airport Monday.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and Senator Dick Durbin broke ground on an expansion to the airport’s international cargo building, along with a new ramp for cargo plane parking. Bustos says the airport has made significant investments, and these upgrades will further increase efficiency.

The delivery of air cargo is a $35 billion proposition, and  the officials say Rockford is doing a great job of tapping into that.

State of Illinois

Thomson Prison is on course to open by the end of 2019. 

The prison was built by Illinois in 2001, but state government didn't have enough funds to keep it running. As a result, it was sold to the federal Bureau of Prisons in 2012.  The Bureau's Acting Director, Hugh Hurwitz, says it will open as a high-security facility with some specialized units and have up to 600 employees. 

Jessie Schlacks/WNIJ

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he’s not seeing enough statewide progress in addressing the opioid addiction crisis.  

The Democratic senator visited Mercyhealth in Rockford Wednesday for a roundtable conversation with doctors, first responders, treatment specialists and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. 

Participants echoed a similar theme: they're strapped when it comes to finances to provide adequate services. 

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner discussed several state issues at a news conference in Rockford Friday.

The event began as a private roundtable with small business owners at the Field Fastener company. They aired various grievances regarding state policy and how it affects their companies.  Field Fastener President Jim Derry said many of his current customers are outside the area or the state, compared with when he began the business 27 years ago, and said reforms are needed.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin criticized Republicans on Thursday for rushing to deliver a sweeping overhaul of tax laws before Christmas—a package that the senior Illinois Democrat says gives too much away to wealthy Americans and large corporations.


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Congress needs to act soon to shore up the federal online health insurance marketplaces put in place by the Affordable Care Act.  

The Illinois Democrat said he welcomes  bipartisan Senate hearings to discuss long-term ways to improve coverage for millions of Americans.  But for now, he said, swift action is needed to address the higher insurance premiums and the increased costs of prescription drugs.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Chicago Rockford International Airport secured $8.3 million in federal grants Thursday. 

The announcement came yesterday from U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. The Rockford Register Star reports the grants will go toward two main projects.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has voiced his support for President Trump’s nominee for FBI Director.

In his statement of support for Christopher Wray, the Illinois Democrat expressed concern about the actions of President Trump in dismissing former FBI Director James Comey. But Durbin said he has confidence that Wray would remain independent, even under pressure from the White House.


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants to see the United States eventually implement a “Medicare for all” type health care program.


At a news conference Thursday in Urbana, the Illinois Democrat acknowledged that isn’t politically feasible with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress and the White House. However, Durbin said an interim step could be offering some type of “public option” as part of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges.


Two Illinois Congressmen held a rare bipartisan community meeting Saturday.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican, discussed health-care policy with the Ministerial Alliance of Springfield. The meeting came less than a week after Davis was among several Republicans targeted by a gunman at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

Davis says that, in a polarized environment, “politics became [the shooter’s] religion.”

U.S. Senator Durbin Condemns GOP Healthcare Plan

Mar 24, 2017

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin took a swipe at the Republican healthcare plan in Springfield Friday.

Republicans could not get the votes to pass the measure, even though both the president and the speaker of the House put their full weight behind the plan. Durbin says in Washington, that usually means a slam dunk.

“When the president puts his reputation on the line, whoever that president may be, they’ve never lost. Underline the word never,” Durbin said. “Ultimately, I expect the Trump and Paul Ryan effort to succeed in the House. If it doesn’t, it’s historic.”

"Wheelchair" by Flickr User zeevveez / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin had harsh words Monday for Republican proposals in Congress to repeal Obamacare and give states more responsibility in running Medicaid.

President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have both said they’re in favor of so-called block grants; it would transform Medicaid into a system where each state receives a bulk payment from the federal government to pay for healthcare for the poor, elderly and disabled.

That means each state would have to figure out its own how to direct that money and what services to provide.


There aren’t many areas where Democrat Dick Durbin thinks he’ll agree with Donald Trump. But rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure is one of them:

“If he wishes to move forward on infrastructure, for example, I hope we can find a way to do it. We desperately need it as a nation. He said as much. I hope he can convince Republicans in Congress as well.”

The senior Illinois U.S. Senator says he has serious doubts about many of Trump’s picks for cabinet secretaries, including Rick Perry for the Department of Energy and Betsy DeVos for the Department of Education.


Community health centers across Illinois are receiving federal grants totaling more than $12 million.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says the money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "will help community health centers across our state continue to improve health outcomes and reduce patient costs."

Community health centers deliver comprehensive primary health care in areas where there are geographic or economic barriers to affordable care. They also integrate pharmacy, mental health, substance abuse and oral health services.


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says his Democratic colleagues will pose tough questions to President-elect Donald Trump’s appointees. 

Durbin will vote on nominees such as Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General. Durbin has worked closely with Sessions in the past but also differed with the Alabama Republican on certain issues.  He wants Sessions to lay out his views on immigration and criminal justice reform.


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is defending Hillary Clinton against criticisms that she’s too cozy with Wall Street.

The Democratic presidential nominee's stance on big business came into question in the wake of the release of hacked emails.   

“It is true that Hillary Clinton made speeches -- if these WikiLeaks are accurate, I don’t know that they are — uh, that raise questions about what she felt at the time,"  Durbin said.  "What she said during this campaign on the record makes it clear that she’s not going to treat Wall Street with kid gloves.”

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is pleading with school administrators to help prevent for-profit colleges efforts to recruit their students.

His comments came during a statewide meeting of school principals Monday.

Citing studies that show the average graduate of a for-profit college makes less than a high school drop-out, Durbin says he’s sometimes questioned by students about why the federal government awards Pell grants for them to attend bad schools.


Illinois' senior US Senator Dick Durbin is trying to lead by example.

He cast an early vote Monday in Springfield, and is encouraging others to do the same. 

"More and more people in Illinois are voting early. And once you do vote by mail, or come in early, that becomes your way to do things. A pattern of life,” Durbin said.

Early voting has been on the rise in Illinois since it was first offered in 2006. 

Before then, anyone unable to vote on Election Day in person had to give authorities a reason for requesting an “absentee ballot.”

Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are working hard to promote awareness of the Republican presidential nominee.


Donald Trump polls far behind Hillary Clinton in Illinois.

Many local Republicans are keeping their distance, but Democrats want to push them back together.

At a Democratic meeting today in Springfield, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos linked Trump’s rhetoric with that of Governor Bruce Rauner.

Dick Durbin said today at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that he’s focusing on the presidential race, and will make an announcement when the election’s over.

“Regardless of whether I run for another office anytime in my life, I am outraged by what I see in our state. I go down to southern Illinois and have Republican mayors tell me the devastating impact of this budget impact on their local economy. Losing jobs, people losing value in their homes, it is unacceptable.”


  Democratic Illinois U-S Senator Dick Durbin met with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Wednesday and called out Republicans for not granting Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination a hearing.


Durbin says he wants to see Garland on the Supreme Court.

He says Republicans - including Illinois Senator Mark Kirk - should put more pressure on Republican leaders to have a vote.



The senior U.S. Senator from Illinois says the nation is locking up too many people for far too long. He hopes to change that soon.

Democrat Dick Durbin has worked with Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa on the sentencing reform and corrections act.

Durbin says the act would ease mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that don't involve guns, gangs, or violence. He says he believes the U.S. overreacted with the war on drugs and other "get tough on crime" measures.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin paid tribute to the late Justice Antonin Scalia yesterday.

He says Scalia was a bright, funny and dedicated public servant — though they disagreed on many issues.

But Durbin says he cannot understand why Senate Republicans have vowed to block anyone President Barack Obama nominates to the vacancy.

“Obama was elected for four years. He has eleven months or so left in this term. There’s more than enough time for him to prepare a nominee, submit it to the Senate, go through the orderly process and take a vote," Durbin said.


U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Illinois should start working to achieve energy efficiency and use green technology to combat climate change.


The Supreme Court last week blocked a federal plan to limit greenhouse gases emitted by power plants.  Durbin says it's time for Illinois to be proactive about saving the planet.  


"It's really going to help us in the future and for our kids, it's going to leave them a world they can live in,” Durbin said.


Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says it’s too early to say who could come away with the GOP nomination for President.  

The Democrat and Senate Minority Whip says with the Iowa Caucuses two weeks away, he believes even most Republicans couldn’t yet answer that question.

Durbin says in his experience, voters need to wait until early March, after a few primaries and caucuses, to get a true sense of who’s leading. 

But the Senator admits surprise with Donald Trump’s high polling numbers.

Susan Walsh / AP

In this election year… each side of the political aisle had different takes on President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, and what it could mean for his legacy. 

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin calls President Obama’s address the kind given by a man tested by conflict, and served as a rebuttal to much of the rhetoric in the GOP race to succeed him. Like the president, the Illinois Democratic Senator is downplaying the threat ISIS poses to this country’s future.  

Sen. Durbin: More Money For Medical Research

Jan 11, 2016

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin visited Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine Friday to announce an increase in federal funding for medical research for this year.

Senator Durbin said the federal government will pay an extra $2 billion more than last year to study and treat diseases.

The Democrat held up a 3-D model of an infant heart with a birth defect as an example of how advances in medical research can help families.

His late daughter, Christine, had the same heart defect as the 3-D model when she was born.


Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a $25 million federal grant for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center in Peoria Thurs. The aim is to help local manufacturers compete in a rapidly changing industry.

The Peoria-based consultant advises and trains manufacturing companies on ways to increase profits, sustainability and cost-savings. The bulk of IMEC’s clients are small to mid-size companies. That’s why Democratic Senator Durbin says the funding will help give small businesses in Illinois a leg-up in the tech-driven, global market.


Consumers may like the ability to shop online and avoid paying state and local sales taxes, and many online retailers may like the competitive advantage the arrangement provides them over “bricks and mortar” businesses across the country; but U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. says the situation has a significant price.

“It’s really not fair to say to that store down the block that’s paying rent and paying property taxes and collecting sales tax [that] we’re going to put them at a disadvantage to their Internet counterparts,” Durbin said.

College Textbooks Could Soon Get A Lot Cheaper

Oct 12, 2015

College students could soon save thousands of dollars each year on textbooks. Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Al Franken, from Minnesota, are proposing a bill so colleges and universities can provide more textbooks online for free.

Franken says the cost of textbooks has risen 82-percent over the last decade, and the average student spends over $1,200 on books each year. And, textbooks are one of the most "overlooked costs" when it comes to college affordability.