WBEZ | Senator Dick Dubrin http://www.wbez.org/tags/senator-dick-dubrin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Durbin criticizes Republicans for jobs bill halt http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-criticizes-republicans-jobs-bill-halt-93382 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100812_ttruitt_1559876_U.S..JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Some Illinois lawmakers are weighing in on the fight over President Barack Obama's jobs bill.</p><p>Last week, a piece of the bill that would have funneled millions to state and local governments to help them avoid teacher and firefighter layoffs did not get the support it needed to pass the U.S. Senate. The chamber split 50-50 on the vote, failing to receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.</p><p>Democratic Senator Dick Durbin criticized Republicans for not coming up with a jobs solution of their own.</p><p>"If they're just going to say no in the hopes that they can defeat Barack Obama, that's a heavy price for 14 million unemployed Americans to pay," said Durbin.</p><p>Many Republicans have criticized the president for not seeking a compromise. Three Democrats sided with Republicans in voting down the measure.</p></p> Mon, 24 Oct 2011 10:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-criticizes-republicans-jobs-bill-halt-93382 Sen. Durbin praises troop withdrawal http://www.wbez.org/story/sen-durbin-praises-troop-withdrawal-93381 <p><p>Some Illinois lawmakers are reacting to President Barack Obama's announcement that he'll withdraw all US troops from Iraq by the end of this year.</p><p>Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the United States has made a great sacrifice in the Iraq war. He says he hopes Iraq can be an ally to the United States going forward.</p><p>"They have their own fate in their own hands. And it wouldn't have happened if the United States hadn't been there," said Durbin. "We paid a heavy price for it, and we hope in the end&nbsp; that Iraq is going to be a friend of the United States and share our values."</p><p>Durbin was one of 23 senators who voted against the Iraq war in 2003.</p></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 22:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/sen-durbin-praises-troop-withdrawal-93381 Sen. Durbin on 'Gang of Six' and the debt challenges of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-30/sen-durbin-gang-six-and-debt-challenges-social-security-medicare-and-med <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/84538307.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>During a press conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama reminded Congress, and the country, that it was time to “seize this moment” and to “seize it soon.” This spring, the Treasury Department warned that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by August 2<sup>nd</sup>, the United States could default on its debt. The so-called “Gang of Six” – a bipartisan group of Senators –convened to concoct a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction.</p><p>The group is now down a man but talks continued in an effort to meet a self-imposed July 1 deadline. Sen. Dick Durbin emerged as a leader of the pack early on. The senior senator from Illinois joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight’s</em> Alison Cuddy Thursday to discuss the group’s progress.</p><p>Durbin has not been coy about the import of the group’s task. He has communicated that everything is on the table during negotiations—including entitlements. Cuddy began by asking the senator what changes he would accept on programs like Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.</p><p>The senator recognized that Social Security is only solvent for about 25 years before it “falls off the edge of the table.” But many Americans were forced to reshape their retirement plans in the last few years—the stock market tumbled, savings shrunk and many lost private pension plans as companies filed for bankruptcy—making Social Security, Durbin argued, more important than ever.</p><p>“Turns out, the only solid thing left, is Social Security and people need to count on it,” Durbin said.</p><p>He would like to work on a plan that buys the program 75 years of solvency—and he said he thought it might be possible if Congress revisits it every 10 years. Ensuring 75-year solvency, he said, will give young people and retirees peace of mind that their Social Security will be there when they’re ready to claim it.</p><p>But the hurdles facing Medicare and Medicaid are a separate ballgame, according to Durbin.</p><p>“If the challenges of Social Security can be quantified in mathematical terms, it’s simple math,” Durbin said. “When you get into Medicare, you’re in advanced calculus.”</p><p>The senator pointed to Medicare’s many moving parts and levers with varying degrees of effectiveness. But to be serious about the deficit of the United States of America, Durbin said, a basic concession must be made—health care costs, which continue to rise faster than inflation, must be confronted. Durbin also pointed to the country’s changing demographics—9,000 Americans reach the age of 65 every day. Those numbers, he argued, must be part of the equation.</p><p>In response to the premise, Cuddy asked Durbin if it was a fair trade to cut benefits under Medicaid to satiate Republicans’ appetite for reduced spending in exchange for tax concessions from the GOP.</p><p>“The idea of cutting benefits under Medicaid at this point, in order to get the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes, is an awful bargain,” Durbin said.</p><p>Durbin added that well-off Americans should be willing to help; to sacrifice some in order to avoid serious cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid, he emphasized, represents not only care for aging parents, grandparents and the disabled, but also the healthcare of one-third of the children in America.</p><p>Protecting their interests is part of the reason Durbin joined the “Gang of Six” in the first place; why, he said, a person from the left side of the spectrum decided to sit with “flinty-eyed conservatives.”</p><p>At the gang’s initial meeting, Durbin stated his purpose to the group: “I got two things I want to preserve: The safety net in America and the progressivity of our tax code so that middle-income families who are falling behind have a tax code that gives them a fighting chance,” he recounted.</p><p>He told Cuddy that from his vantage point, the current conversation does not address those priorities—many Americans remain vulnerable to the deficit shockwave in the long-term. And their well-being, he said, cannot be sacrificed.</p><p>But the reality of politics in Washington, Durbin resigned, is that Republicans control the House of Representatives with a commanding majority. The Democrats have a nominal control of the U.S. Senate with 53 votes—but to meet the required 60, a degree of Republican support is needed.</p><p>Nonetheless, Durbin said there is general agreement among Senate Democrats that the party should ask for more in terms of tax revenue.</p><p>“We want to close down some of the rotten subsidies that are going on—whether they’re for oil companies, or thoroughbred horses, or corporate jets, or ways for companies to move jobs overseas with the help of the tax code—it’s time to put an end to that stuff,” Durbin said.</p><p>But he fears that even if the August 2 deadline is avoided, and a short-term, bipartisan deficit plan is adopted, another threat still looms.</p><p>“We still face the real situation that 30 bond traders in New York City can decide that the future of the American economy is in doubt and start raising questions about interest rates; that could happen,” Durbin warned.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 13:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-30/sen-durbin-gang-six-and-debt-challenges-social-security-medicare-and-med Durbin calls for more regulations of for-profit colleges http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-calls-more-regulations-profit-colleges-85808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-28/108736338.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some federal officials in Illinois are renewing calls for stricter regulations of for-profit colleges. For-profit colleges like Everest advertise heavily on TV.</p><p>COMMERCIAL: You keep procrastinating. Over and over. Well maybe I'll go to school next year or maybe next semester. No. Do it right now.</p><p>Schools like Everest College are causing U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, to repeatedly call for more regulations. At a hearing in downtown Chicago Thursday, Durbin told reporters he thought many for-profit schools like Everest don't have proper accreditation and waste students' time and money.</p><p>"We know that many of them are failing miserably when it comes to providing a good education and they are trapping these young people in a debt they will never, ever be able to repay," Durbin said.</p><p>He said the federal government should cut funding to those schools.</p><p>Meanwhile, a spokesman for the parent company of Everest College defends its accreditation and says further government regulations would hurt low income students.</p></p> Fri, 29 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/durbin-calls-more-regulations-profit-colleges-85808 Is Lake Shore Drive Safe? U.S. Senators weigh in http://www.wbez.org/story/blizzard/lake-shore-drive-safe-us-senators-weigh <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/108759823.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois' two U.S. Senators are looking into the safety of Lake Shore Drive. That follows last week's blizzard, which forced hundreds of drivers to abandon their vehicles there.</p><p>Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are trying to coordinate efforts between different government agencies. At the top of the list is studying the impact waves could have had on Lake Shore Drive during last week's blizzard if water levels hadn't been incredibly low.</p><p>In a letter sent to the Army Corp of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Durbin and Kirk said they want to talk about increasing the amount of green space along the lakefront in addition to preventing floods. They said the City of Chicago and the Park District will head up discussions on the local level.</p><p>Hundreds of drivers were stranded for hours during the storm after three accidents occurred in the same area in quick succession. Because of the standstill, Lake Shore Drive was closed to drivers for more than 30 hours.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 07 Feb 2011 13:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/blizzard/lake-shore-drive-safe-us-senators-weigh