Press Releases


Opening Remarks at the First-Ever Congressional Hearing on Solitary Confinement

America has led the fight for human rights around the world. This Subcommittee has tried to play a part in this effort, holding the first Congressional hearings on issues like rape as a weapon of war, and passing legislation like the Genocide Accountability Act. But we also have an obligation to look in the mirror and consider our own human-rights record. Today in the United States, more than 2.3 million people are imprisoned. This is - by far - the highest per capita rate of prisoners in th… Continue Reading


Durbin Chairs First-Ever Congressional Hearing on Solitary Confinement

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired a hearing today on the issue of solitary confinement in the nation's prisons, jails and detention centers. The hearing, held before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, focused on the human rights, fiscal and public safety consequences of solitary confinement. "The United States holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation in t… Continue Reading


Durbin Statement on DREAM Act and Administrative Action to Help Young Immigrants

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the Obama Administration would halt the deportations of immigrant students who could earn citizenship under Durbin's DREAM Act. "The Obama Administration's decision to extend temporary legal status to DREAM Act students is an historic humanitarian moment. This action will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the sha… Continue Reading


Durbin Calls on Illinois House Republicans to Demand Speak Boehner Bring Bipartisan Senate Transportation Bill to a Vote

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee on the next transportation bill, today called on Republican Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation to demand that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) call for a vote on the bipartisan transportation bill which passed the Senate by a vote of 74-22 and would create or save 67,900 jobs in Illinois. "It is increasingly clear that the only way to complete a multi-year transportation bil… Continue Reading


Durbin Meets with Quad Cities Airport Director to Discuss Support for Regional Transportation Initiatives

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Bruce Carter, Director of Quad Cities International Airport and Chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives, to discuss regional transportation and infrastructure priorities. A photo of today's meeting is available here. Carter has served as director of the Quad City International Airport since 1999. "Quad City International Airport is a critical transportation link for central Illinois, serving residents and v… Continue Reading


Durbin: Senate Committee Approves Provisions That Would Require Postal Service to Prove Cost Savings Before Closing Quincy and Rockford Mail Processing Facilities

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said that the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which he is a member, has approved a bill that includes his provision requiring the Postal Service to conduct a new audit that shows cost savings before moving forward with plans to close or consolidate facilities that were recently found to be efficient. The provision, originally included in the comprehensive postal reform legislation passed by the Senate in April of this year, would af… Continue Reading


Durbin, Kirk Praise the Establishment of a Public Charter School in North Chicago

[NORTH CHICAGO] - Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) announced their support for the establishment of the LEARN Public Charter School in North Chicago on the edge of Great Lakes Naval Station. The Senators congratulated the Navy, the LEARN Charter School Network, the Illinois State Board of Education and the community of North Chicago for their efforts in working together to establish the elementary charter school, which is scheduled to open on September 4, 2012 in Nor… Continue Reading


Durbin Unveils 2013 Financial Services, General Government Appropriations Bill

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), today unveiled the subcommittee's appropriations package for fiscal year 2013. The bill covers $22.99 billion in discretionary spending for the nation's consumer and financial watchdogs; the Treasury Department; the Federal Courts; District of Columbia; White House operations; and over two dozen independent agencies. "This year's appropri… Continue Reading


Durbin: Attorney General Again Confirms Obama Administration Will Never Seek to Transfer Guantanamo Bay Detainees to Thomson

[WASHINGTON, DC] - In response to questions from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder again confirmed that the Obama Administration will never seek to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson Correctional Center. Durbin is currently working with the State of Illinois and the Obama Administration to reprogram already appropriated funding within the Department of Justice (DOJ) that can be used to purchase the pris… Continue Reading


Durbin, Reed, Welch to Banks: Time to End Egregious Fees on Campus Debit Cards

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) today called for an end to egregious fees - some as high as $50 - that are charged to students in some campus debit and prepaid card programs. In a letter to fifteen major financial institutions, the Members of Congress expressed serious concerns about campus card fees that often cut into students' taxpayer-subsidized federal student financial aid and called… Continue Reading


Durbin to Chair Hearing on Solitary Confinement

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, announced today that he would hold the first-ever congressional hearing on the issue of solitary confinement at 10:00am ET on Tuesday, June 19. The hearing will focus on the human rights, fiscal and public safety consequences of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. During the last several decades, t… Continue Reading


Senators Ask That Decisions to Include Tobacco in Tariff Reductions be Reconsidered as Part of Trade Agreement

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and John Kerry (D-MA) today wrote to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk to express their strong support of the USTR's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement Tobacco Proposal, but also urged the USTR to reconsider the decision not to exclude tobacco products from future tariff reductions. As the TPP Agreement is being negotiated, the Obama Administration h… Continue Reading


Durbin Announces Nearly $1 Million in DOT Funding for Springfield Airport

[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $945,000 in funding to the Springfield Airport Authority. This funding will be used to rehabilitate existing apron pavement at the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, IL. "Today's grant will help maintain an airport that is vital to the city of Springfield," said Durbin. "The new improvements will allow the airport to continue to serve Central Illinois… Continue Reading


Durbin, Miller Urge Examination of Student Debit Card Practices

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Assistant Senate Majority Leader, and U.S. Representative George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, today sent letters to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray and Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe, expressing concern over the adverse financial impact debit card agreements between banks and institut… Continue Reading


Durbin Pledges to Work to End Campus Debit Card Fees that Send Taxpayer Funds Directly to Banks

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after the consumer group U.S. PIRG published a report describing troubling aspects of partnerships that colleges have formed with financial institutions to provide students with federal student aid disbursements via debit cards that carry significant fees. The report also discussed efforts by colleges and financial institutions to provide students with campus checking accounts and campus identification c… Continue Reading


Durbin's Statement on the Situation in Syria

[ISTANBUL, TURKEY] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today on the situation in Syria. Durbin made the statement from Turkey after visiting a Syrian refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border and meeting with Syrian opposition leaders in Istanbul: "I met with Syrian refugees in a camp in Southern Turkey where more than half of the camp's ten thousand refugees were women and children. It was a grim reminder of the human toll of the brutality of Bashar … Continue Reading


Durbin Travels to Ukraine, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) is on a week-long trip to Eastern Europe, Anatolia and the Caucuses where he will hold high-level meetings on regional political dynamics and security issues. Durbin first traveled to Kiev, for meetings with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryschenko to discuss the current political situation in Ukraine and the status of US-Ukraine relations. Durbin also meet … Continue Reading


The Passing of Chicago's Polka King

On Monday morning, Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. passed away in Palos Heights, Illinois. He was known in the greater Chicago area as the Polka King. Eddie was born in Chicago in 1941 to Polish immigrant parents-both musicians. It is no surprise, then, that Eddie started playing the accordion at the age of 12. Eddie's first love was rock-and-roll. But influenced by his mother's fondness for the music of her homeland, he was soon playing polka music. In 1962, Eddie Blazonczyk joined a local pol… Continue Reading


Durbin Marks the Passing of Chicago's "Polka King"

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today honored Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. - Chicago's "Polka King" - in the U.S. Senate. Blazonczyk, who passed away Monday at the age of 70, was a Chicago native who earned several Grammy nominations along with the Versatones polka band and also received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship for preserving Polish Heritage Music. "Eddie took a traditional sound and infused it with rock-and-roll, Cajun, zydeco, and cou… Continue Reading


Durbin: FDA Should Be Better Equipped to Respond to Dietary Supplement Safety Concerns

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the Senate floor about his amendment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act which would help ensure that the agency has the information it needs to respond quickly and efficiency when safety concerns about dietary supplements - including those contained in energy drinks - arise. Durbin's amendment is based on a provision in the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act which he introduced in 2011 with Senator… Continue Reading

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