Press Releases


Medicare Prescription Part D

Medicare prescription Part D is a program long overdue. When Medicare was created by President Johnson in the 1960s, it didn't include prescription drugs. Over the years, as more and better prescription drugs were discovered and invented and marketed, we understood that to keep people healthy, our parents and grandparents and disabled people needed access to affordable drugs. For many years, many of us have supported the idea of including prescription drugs in the Medicare plan so seni… Continue Reading


Court Security Improvement Act

Now comes this bill before us, the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007. This bill is the kind of bill which routinely passes in the Senate with no debate. The reason is, it isn't debatable. It comes down to a question of protecting the men and women who serve in the Federal judiciary. This is an issue which is personal with me. In 2005, one of my close personal friends, a woman I appointed to the Federal court in Chicago, Joan Lefkow, went through a tragic personal experience. Someon… Continue Reading


Stem Cell Research Bill; Deriving Stem Cells in a Positive Way to Save Lives

Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Georgia for his gracious gesture. I also thank my colleague from Iowa, Senator Harkin, along with Senator Specter, for introducing this bill on stem cell research. Some important things have been said on the Senate floor today. Senator Smith of Oregon made an exceptionally moving statement on this issue. I thank him for sharing his views. This is a tough issue. It is not easy. I totally respect those who see it differently than I do, including t… Continue Reading


School Libraries--READesign Program and "Adopt a School Library Month"

Mr. President, When I was growing up in East St. Louis, I spent hours reading about faraway places, exciting adventures, and historic figures and events. I spent countless hours in the library discovering wonderful stories and developed a lifelong love of reading. Now imagine going to school where the library is dark and uninviting, and where there is no librarian in sight. These conditions are real. I have visited schools in my home State of Illinois and seen libraries that show their … Continue Reading


Legal Options to Stop Human Trafficking

Good afternoon, and welcome to the second hearing of our new Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. Unfortunately, our ranking member, Senator Coburn, is not able to be here today. But I know he feels as strongly as I do about the issue we will discuss today, and about the mission of this subcommittee. This is the first time in Senate history there has been a subcommittee focused on human rights. At this moment in time, it is crucial to our national interest to promote greater res… Continue Reading


Fair Elections Now Act

Mr. President, imagine a President coming before a joint session of Congress and using his bully pulpit to call for a fundamental change in the way we fund political campaigns in America. Imagine a President saying we need to buy back our democracy by replacing special-interest-funded elections with publicly funded elections. As hard as it may be to believe, that happened. An American President did say that--100 years ago. His name was Teddy Roosevelt, and his call for public financing … Continue Reading


Fourth Anniversary of Iraq War --Veterans' Care, VA Funding

Mr. President, today marks a somber milestone. It was 4 years ago today that President Bush ordered our military to launch a preemptive invasion of Iraq. I can recall the vote on the Senate floor--I have spoken of it many times--which led to that decision by the President. We cast thousands of votes as Members of the Senate, the House, and most of them are hard to remember. One can never forget a vote cast about war. You know people will die as a result of that decision. We focus on eli… Continue Reading


High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act

Chairperson Howard, Members of the Committee, I am pleased to have the opportunity to submit this statement for the record with regard to Representative Howard's High Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act of 2007. The proposed legislation builds on the positive developments we've witnessed in the State of Kentucky in terms of increasing broadband penetration and access. Much of that success was enabled by the work of the public-private Connect Kentucky partnership. Th… Continue Reading


Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Forum

Mr. President, this morning I held a hearing in Chicago at the University of Illinois, Chicago medical campus. It was a hearing to discuss the challenges we face with returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. It was clear from the turnout at that hearing there is an intense interest in this subject. Much of it was brought on by the Washington Post front-page story of a few weeks ago about the now infamous Building 18 at Walter Reed Hospital. Like many Members of Congress, I have vis… Continue Reading


Benefits of Social Security and the Need to Make It Stronger

Mr. President, I rise to speak in morning business and address the issue which has become central to our debate about the domestic agenda for America. There is a lot of time being spent by the President and Members of Congress talking about the privatization of Social Security. Social Security is a very important program for millions of Americans. It brought dignity to senior citizens and gave them a chance in their retirement years to live with enough money to get by. Before Social Se… Continue Reading


Hearing--Genocide and the Rule of Law

Welcome to "Genocide and the Rule of Law," the inaugural hearing of the Judiciary Committee's newly-created Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. We are honored to welcome as well this distinguished panel of witnesses to share their views on this important and timely issue. After a few opening remarks, I will recognize Senator Coburn, the Ranking Member, for an opening statement, and then we will turn to our witnesses. But first a word about this new Subcommittee. I want to th… Continue Reading


S. 3977 Patriot Employers Bill--Providing a Tax Cut to our Best Companies

Mr. President, when companies make headlines today it is often for all the wrong reasons: fraud, tax avoidance, profiteering, etc. Yet many of the companies that are currently providing jobs across America are conscientious corporate citizens that strive to treat their workers fairly even as they seek to create good products that consumers want and to maximize profits for their shareholders. I believe that we should reward such companies for providing good jobs to American workers, and cr… Continue Reading


Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation Approved By Senate

[WASHINGTON, DC] - The United States Senate today approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill balances enforcement - stronger border security, tougher sanctions on employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants - with provisions allowing undocumented immigrants who work hard and play by the rules to earn their way to legal status. The Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 62 to 36. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that while the bill was not perfect, it was a com… Continue Reading


Mine Safety Enforcement, Reporting, and Training Act

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Mine Safety Enforcement, Reporting, and Training Act. This bill will raise the minimum fine for safety violations from $60 to $500, require coal mine operators to pay fines up front, require a public yearly report of fine payments, and double funding for education and training grants to States from $10 million to $20 million. The recent tragic events in West Virginia and Kentucky have captured the Nation's attention and exposed the serious dang… Continue Reading


Durbin, Hagel, Lugar: Congress Should Act Now to Help Students Gain Access to Higher Education

[WASHINGTON, DC] - U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) said today that Congress should act to help undocumented students by providing them with a pathway to legalize their immigration status and attend college. The senators have introduced S. 2075, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, legislation which would allow states to provide in-state college tuition to undocumented students who grew up in the United States, and would a… Continue Reading


2006 as the "Year of Study Abroad"

Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support a Senate resolution designating 2006 as the "Year of Study Abroad." This resolution encourages initiatives to promote and expand study abroad opportunities. Now more than ever, America needs citizens who can understand and communicate with people all over the world. However, fewer than 1 percent of all U.S. undergraduates participate in study abroad programs while nearly 600,000 international students from more than 200 countrie… Continue Reading


Treatment of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay

Mr. President, there has been a lot of discussion in recent days about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. This debate misses the point. It is not a question of whether detainees are held at Guantanamo Bay or some other location. The question is how we should treat those who have been detained there. Whether we treat them according to the law or not does not depend on their address. It depends on our policy as a nation. How should we treat them? This is not a new qu… Continue Reading

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