WBEZ | Senator Dick Durbin http://www.wbez.org/tags/senator-dick-durbin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sen. Durbin says draft immigration reform bill imminent http://www.wbez.org/news/sen-durbin-says-draft-immigration-reform-bill-imminent-106541 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said Monday the &ldquo;Gang of Eight&rdquo; could meet as soon as Tuesday to discuss a proposed immigration reform bill.</p><p>Sen. Durbin is a member of the bipartisan group of eight senators tasked with developing comprehensive immigration reform. At a press conference Monday, he pushed back on suggestions that the bill may not include ramped up border security.</p><p>&ldquo;The Republicans wouldn&rsquo;t have sat down at the table if we didn&rsquo;t agree to more border security, and it will be included,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It goes beyond anything I would have suggested but that&rsquo;s the nature of a compromise.&rdquo;</p><p>He said Democrats insisted on a &ldquo;pathway to citizenship&rdquo; for approximately 11 million immigrants living in the country without legal papers. The bill is also expected to include a guest worker program for low-skilled workers.</p><p>Sen. Durbin suggested the group could propose a bill by the end of the week. Once it emerges from the bipartisan group, any immigration reform deal will go through Senate Judiciary Committee and be subject to debate on the senate floor.</p><p><em>Lewis Wallace is a WBEZ Pritzker Journalism Fellow. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/lewispants">@lewispants</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sen-durbin-says-draft-immigration-reform-bill-imminent-106541 Legislators warn residents of compromises on immigration reform http://www.wbez.org/news/legislators-warn-residents-compromises-immigration-reform-106512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/DurbinGutierrez_130405_acm(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez Thursday warned that a senate immigration reform bill in the works might not address all of the problems facing residents living illegally in the United States.</p><p>They spoke to residents of the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Little Village in Chicago. They shared their optimism about a proposal from the team of bipartisan senators scheduled to come out next week. It offers a path to citizenship.</p><p>Senator Durbin said his ideal comprehensive package will be trimmed during negotiations at the nation&#39;s capital. The fundamentals, however, aren&#39;t up for debate.</p><p>&ldquo;We said to everybody, every senator walking into that room, before you sit down, you have to commit,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;That when this is over, these people will have the opportunity to become legal and then become citizens, and they say &lsquo;yes.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>But in a recent New York Times editorial co-authored with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gutierrez also expressed concern about farm workers and the possibility of a guest-worker program.</p><p>According to news reports, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce&nbsp; and the AFL-CIO have agreed on a work visa program that requires companies to pay immigrant workers fair wages.&nbsp;</p><p>Gutierrez hinted during a small gathering with constituents on Thursday that any proposal written by members in his chamber needs to addresses those issues.</p><p>The gathering took place at Enlace Chicago, a local community organization. Students and their parents shared their stories and asked both Durbin and Gutierrez to keep their concerns in mind.</p><p>Karen Canales is a current senior at Social Justice High School. She said President Obama&rsquo;s recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program does not really give her the opportunities she needs to move forward in her career.</p><p>&ldquo;The derefer action doesn&rsquo;t guarantee any FAFSA, any government loans for me to continue my education,&rdquo; Canales said.</p><p>Justina Alfaro is also a senior from Farragut Career Academy. She said eight years ago her dad was deported back to Mexico for not having a driver&rsquo;s license. She said she hopes the new immigration proposals will focus on reuniting families.</p><p>&ldquo; I was 11 years old when I saw that my dad was being arrested,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been difficult for my family&nbsp; and for me because he was the support of the house.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Durbin said if an agreement on immigration reform is reached, the bill will go to the Judiciary committee to start an amendment process.&nbsp; Meanwhile, Gutierrez said a House bill could be coming soon after the Senate&rsquo;s proposal.</p></p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/legislators-warn-residents-compromises-immigration-reform-106512 Durbin defends president's deficit reduction proposal http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-defends-presidents-deficit-reduction-proposal-92182 <p><p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill. ) is defending the president's proposal to reduce the deficit. President Barack Obama suggested raising $1.5 trillion dollars in new taxes, including higher taxes on wealthy Americans, on Monday.</p><p>Durbin, a Democrat, said the proposal needs bipartisan support, but Republicans are not backing it.</p><p>"People are sacrificing all over this country," Durbin said at a school on Chicago's West Side. "It's not too much to ask those who are doing very well to sacrifice along with them."</p><p>Durbin accused Republicans of blocking several of Mr. Obama's attempts to pass legislation throughout his presidency.</p><p>After Monday's announcement, many Republicans said they would not support a plan that would increase taxes to lower the deficit.</p></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 18:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-defends-presidents-deficit-reduction-proposal-92182 Durbin voices optimism over Obama's jobs speech http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-voices-optimism-over-obamas-jobs-speech-91644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-07/durbin.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>President Barack Obama's address to a joint session of Congress Thursday night has the potential to be divisive; the prospect has even prompted some government officials like Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh to boycott the event.</p><p>But U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he feels optimistic about the president's plan.</p><p>"Wouldn't it be heartwarming and encouraging for us on a bipartisan basis to work to create jobs?" asked Durbin at an unrelated event. "I think that's what the president's going to ask for, and I hope we meet that challenge."</p><p>Durbin said the summer recess was good for members of Congress. He said they needed a "cooling off period" to get back in touch with constituents.</p><p>The president is expected to announce $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending as part of a plan to stimulate job growth.</p></p> Wed, 07 Sep 2011 22:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-voices-optimism-over-obamas-jobs-speech-91644 Kirk backing off support of aid to Pakistan http://www.wbez.org/story/kirk-backing-support-aid-pakistan-91572 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/KIRK6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois' two U.S. Senators are arguing about how much financial support the U.S. should send to Pakistan.</p><p>Republican Sen. Mark Kirk made a policy speech Tuesday at the Union League Club, proposing a new warning against Pakistan.</p><p>"I think that we should rethink assistance to Pakistan, that it's naïve at best and counterproductive at worst," Kirk said.</p><p>It's a reversal for Kirk, who earlier this year cautioned against cutting aid to Pakistan. He just got back from a trip to Afghanistan and said the Pakistani government supports a group of terrorists called the Haqqani network. Pakistan's government has reportedly denied those claims.</p><p>Kirk said if relations don't improve, the U.S. could get additional help from India, a heated rival of Pakistan.</p><p>But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin disagrees.</p><p>"I will tell you that I think that would be cataclysmic," Durbin told reports Tuesday at an unrelated news conference when asked by reporters what he thought of bringing India into talks with Pakistan.</p><p>Durbin defended supporting the Pakistani government in fighting terrorism, saying the U.S. government gives a limited amount of money to the country. Spokesmen for Durbin and Kirk says the U.S. has given Pakistan $22 billion in the last decade.</p></p> Tue, 06 Sep 2011 20:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/kirk-backing-support-aid-pakistan-91572 Senator Durbin considers the future of the debt debates http://www.wbez.org/story/senator-durbin-considers-future-debt-debates-90277 <p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has revealed a bit more about what the future of the federal debt debates will look like.</p><p>Part of the agreement that extended the debt ceiling called for the creation of a bipartisan congressional committee made up of senators and representatives. That 12-person committee would be responsible for planning more than $1 trillion in cuts.</p><p>On Monday, Durbin said, "What lies ahead is going to be interesting."</p><p>"If they approve it, that'll be the roadmap for the next $1.5 trillion in cuts," said Durbin. "If they don't approve it, automatic cuts take place, all on the spending side - nothing in entitlements, nothing in revenue. But they're pretty deep cuts."</p><p>The 12-person committee will have 10 weeks to come up with the proposal, which will require a majority vote to be passed. Durbin said he doesn't know who will be on the committee.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 19:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/senator-durbin-considers-future-debt-debates-90277 Politicians react to Blagojevich verdict http://www.wbez.org/story/politicians-react-blagojevich-verdict-88411 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Pat Brady:</strong></p><p><strong>Illinois Republican Party Chairman</strong></p><p>“I'm glad that the verdict is finally in on Rod Blagojevich. However this closes only one chapter of Democrat corruption in Illinois. Illinois Democratic politicians who now try everything they can to hide their past support of Rod Blagojevich should look themselves in the mirror and remind themselves that little has changed since the day Blagojevich was arrested.</p><p>“Our current governor (Pat Quinn) has appointed lame duck legislators to high paid positions after they changed their views and voted for late night tax hikes. The Speaker of the Illinois House (and state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan) is partner in a law firm that has reaped millions in appealing tax assessments in a relationship that even Forrest Claypool (now a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Administration) said ‘has caused our taxes to go up and the level of faith in government to go down.’”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>John Cullerton:</strong></p><p><strong>Statement from Illinois Senate President John Cullerton:</strong></p><p>"Once again, the former governor's pattern of dishonesty has been confirmed. I thank the jury for its public service. Just as it was sad but necessary for the Senate to remove him from office, today is another sad event for Illinois. I would hope that this verdict would further allow us as a state to move on and ahead."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>David Morrison: </strong></p><p><strong>Deputy Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform </strong></p><p>“The jury today has ratified the sense of millions of Illinoisans, that Rod Blagojevich was a pox on Illinois' political system. His conviction also serves as a warning that no one is above the law and that anyone today thinking of abusing the public trust for their private benefit should consider the very real consequences. The jury today made clear that criminal acts are not "just politics." Blagojevich, and many of his advisors and staff, are facing serious prison time, financial penalties, and separation from their families and friends.</p><p>“Illinois has taken great strides to ensure that the next scandal will not follow the&nbsp;Blagojevich blueprint. Today's laws make it much harder to commit yesterday's actions. But preventing tomorrow's scandals require more vigilance. Voters must accountability from candidates. Officeholders must stand ready to call out their wavering colleagues. Staffers must understand the risks they take when they follow criminal orders. Reform is possible, one step at a time, and Illinois has a long road ahead.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Dan Rutherford: </strong></p><p><strong>Illinois State Treasurer</strong></p><p>“The guilty verdict against former Governor Rod Blagojevich closes a long, embarrassing chapter for the citizens of Illinois. He deserves everything he’s going to get.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Judy Baar Topinka:</strong></p><p><strong>Illinois Comptroller </strong></p><p>"I am heartened by the Jury's verdict against Rod Blagojevich, and pleased to see justice after many months of waiting. But make no mistake: this is nothing to celebrate. Through his unconscionable behavior and reckless leadership, Blagojevich inflicted damage on Illinois that will take years, if not generations, to repair. He broke the public trust and mismanaged dollars with a zeal that was unique even in our storied state.</p><p>"I find his behavior reprehensible and am personally pleased to see him held responsible. But more important, I hope that today's verdict delivers a reminder that elected leaders serve the public, not the other way around - and they will be held accountable, even if it takes a while.</p><p>“While I look forward to turning the page on Blagojevich, I hope that the lessons learned from his prosecution live on. Ironically, it would prove to be his greatest contribution to our state."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Adam Kinzinger:</strong></p><p><strong>Republican U.S. Representative</strong></p><p>“Rod Blagojevich never seemed to understand the difference between serving the public and serving his personal self interests. The evidence presented and verdict confirms that he was found guilty of seventeen of the twenty counts including wire fraud, attempted extortion and attempting to sell President Obama's old Senate seat, but far worse, he abused and shattered public trust. The shame and national embarrassment Blagojevich cast onto our state has only created further financial bearing.&nbsp;</p><p>"I applaud the U.S. Attorney’s office for their hard work, dedication and effort to see to it that justice has somewhat been served.&nbsp; Unfortunately, Blagojevich's verdict and punishment will not restore statewide, much less nationwide certainty in Illinois.&nbsp; We must now move beyond Rod Blagojevich and turn our focus toward working together to rebuild Illinois.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Jeff Schoenberg:</strong></p><p><strong>Senator, 9th District, Assistant Majority Leader</strong></p><p>"With this guilty verdict, Illinois has now been shamed once again as its second consecutive chief executive has failed its citizens in the most fundamental way possible. We must all redouble our efforts to restore confidence and integrity to Illinois government."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Dick Durbin:</strong></p><p><strong>Democratic U.S. Senator </strong></p><p>“I hope today’s verdict finally draws this sad and sordid chapter in Illinois history to a close.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Bill Brady:</strong></p><p><strong>State Senator, Bloomington</strong></p><p>“I believe our state will grow stronger as a result of the conviction of Rod Blagojevich today.&nbsp; Rod Blagojevich abused the office of Governor and made every attempt to capitalize on his public office for personal and political benefit.</p><p>“His overwhelming conviction today should serve as yet another reminder that public officials are in office to serve the public and not their own personal interests and ambitions.&nbsp; We have made some progress in ending pay-to-play politics in Illinois, but the decision today underscores the need for us in government to continue our work to earn the trust and confidence of our citizens.”</p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 21:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/politicians-react-blagojevich-verdict-88411 Durbin wants to continue financial aid for Pakistan http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-wants-continue-financial-aid-pakistan-86262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-09/IMG_3342.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said he wants to continue sending financial aid to Pakistan. His comments come a week after U.S. troops raided a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing Osama bin Laden.</p><p>Durbin said the U.S. gives about $3 billion a year to Pakistan and he says that money should remain in place, "unless and until we find out that they are not really cooperating with us on this war on terror."</p><p>Durbin said he's pleased Pakistan's prime minister announced that country's army is investigating how Osama bin Laden hid in the country undetected for so long. He said the U.S. will conduct its own investigation.</p><p>Durbin said supporting Pakistan financially will also help with the war in Afghanistan.</p><p>"They're an important part of our effort to keep America safe and an important part of ending the war in Afghanistan, so I want to give them the help they might need to continue in that effort," Durbin said.</p><p>Durbin says any Pakinstani officials who are found to have helped bin Laden hide in the country should be held accountable.</p></p> Mon, 09 May 2011 18:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-wants-continue-financial-aid-pakistan-86262 Illinois' senators weigh in on federal budget negotiations http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/illinois-senators-weigh-federal-budget-negotiations-84715 <p><p>Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.</p><p>Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.</p><p>"When we're down to eight or $10 billion, it's a lot of money, but not in the context of the whole budget," Durbin said. "We can find ways to cut the spending, do it thoughtfully, and I just hope Speaker Boehner can bring together his groups. That's really what we're waiting for."</p><p>Durbin said Republicans and Democrats have agreed on how much cutting needs to take place. It's just a matter of figuring out which programs will lose funding.</p><p>Illinois' Republican senator, Mark Kirk, said negotiations might come down to the wire.</p><p>"I think a deal will be found in Congressional fashion, right around two hours before the deadline," Kirk said.</p><p>Kirk said it's possible legislators will need an extra day or two past Friday to approve a budget.</p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 19:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget/illinois-senators-weigh-federal-budget-negotiations-84715 Durbin thinks Illinois prison will be sold soon http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/durbin-thinks-illinois-prison-will-be-sold-soon-84354 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/durbin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he thinks the federal government is very close to reaching a deal with Illinois to buy an under-used prison. The state is trying to sell a maximum security prison in Thomson, Illinois.</p><p>Durbin told reporters the deal makes sense.</p><p>&quot;The federal government needs more prison space. The State of Illinois has a surplus prison. It works,&quot; Durbin said.</p><p>Durbin wouldn't say how much the prison would cost. Federal officials originally looked at the prison to house detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but they have since backed off that plan.</p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 12:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/durbin-thinks-illinois-prison-will-be-sold-soon-84354