Press Releases


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


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


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 Statement on the Resignation of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement today after Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announced his resignation: "When I first interviewed Patrick Fitzgerald for U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, he gave me his word that he would not show any political favoritism in his professional duties. He kept his word." "His aggressive prosecution of wrongdoing - including politicians in both par… 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


Durbin, Kirk: White House Nominates Durkin to Fill Federal Judgeship in Northern District

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today announced that President Obama has nominated Thomas Durkin to fill a pending vacancy on the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. "Thomas Durkin is an outstanding candidate for a federal judgeship in the Northern District and I am pleased that President Obama has nominated him today. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated strong leadership in his community and a solid commitment to publi… Continue Reading


Durbin: Congress Approves Legislation That Will Continue to Help Illinois Businesses Succeed in Global Economy and Create Jobs Here at Home

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said that bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank will support thousands of Illinois jobs and help Illinois businesses, both large and small, succeed in the global economy. The Export-Import Bank is responsible for supporting 288,000 jobs at more than 2,700 American companies - 113 of them in Illinois including 80 small businesses. Today's legislation, which passed the House of Representatives, last week, was appro… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Tharp to Fill Federal Judgeship in Northern District

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Senate has confirmed John "Jay" Tharp for a federal judgeship in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. The Senate approved Tharp by a vote of 86-1. Senators Kirk and Durbin have worked closely together since early 2011 to fill the two judicial vacancies in the Northern District of Illinois. Under Senate tradition for Illinois, the senator from the party not in control o… Continue Reading


Durbin Calls for Passage of Safe Chemicals Act

[CHICAGO, IL] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called for Senate passage of legislation that would overhaul an antiquated law that has left American families exposed to dangerous toxic chemicals included in everyday household products and furnishings and given the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) little recourse against the aggressive chemical companies that have exploited the lack of oversight. "The U.S. EPA, wittingly or unwittingly, has allowed the manufacturers of toxic … Continue Reading


Durbin, Vitter Commend USDA Rule to Close Loophole and Regulate Online Puppy Sales

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and David Vitter (R-LA) today commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for closing a loophole that allows domestic puppy mills selling puppies via the internet to escape regulation and avoid inspection. This rule, which will specifically apply to large breeders, is an important step towards ensuring that pets sold over the Internet are treated humanely and receive proper care. La… Continue Reading


Illinois / Iowa Senators Introduce Bill to Require Strategic Plan for Workload Increases at Rock Island Arsenal

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help increase the workload and help ensure the long-term health of Rock Island Arsenal. The Army Arsenal Strategic Workload Enhancement Act of 2012 would require the Army to create a strategic plan to increase workload and ensures arsenals around the nation are considered for military contracts Defense-wide rather than just within the … Continue Reading


Durbin Chairs Hearing on FCC Budget

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired a hearing today before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and Government on the President's FY13 budget request for the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). "Our nation's communications system enables us to keep in touch with friends and family; enjoy endless forms of entertainment; stay up to date on the news of the day; and to participate in the global economy," Durbin said. "The FCC ensu… Continue Reading


Durbin: Transportation Secretary's Visit Underscores Importance of Transportation Bill

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the transportation bill Conference Committee, today spoke with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the importance of passing a transportation bill that includes funding for a new competitive grant program for projects of regional and national significance. This grant program would give Illinois and Iowa the opportunity to seek additional federal funding for the I-74 Bridge project which Secretary LaHood is scheduled to visi… Continue Reading


Durbin Calls on Members of Illinois Senate to Support Bill to Improve Security in East St. Louis

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on members of the Illinois Senate to support legislation introduced by Illinois State Senate Majority Leader James Clayborne that would strengthen local policing efforts and help improve the safety and security of East St. Louis and three nearby Metro East communities. Durbin added that, as a member of Congress, it is extremely rare for him to advocate for the passage of state legislation - a move he does not take lightly. "… Continue Reading


Durbin Calls for Illinois Postal Facilities to Remain Open GIving House of Representatives More Time to Act on Bipartisan Senate Bill

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today called on Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to keep Illinois post offices and mail processing facilities open in order to give the House of Representatives additional time to act on the comprehensive bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate to reform the postal service. Durbin cited the important role these facilities play in the Postal Service's operations and Illinois' economy. "In spite of Senate action, it is my understandi… Continue Reading

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