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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate's second-ranking Democrat says he'd be open to negotiating a compromise if Republicans block Democrats' efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
 
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says Democrats' goal remains a $10.10 minimum wage.
 
In the coming days, the Senate could debate a plan by Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin that would gradually lift today's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.
 
Democrats will need 60 Senate votes to overcome Republican opposition to the increase to $10.10. That means they will need at least five GOP votes to prevail.
 
No Republicans have publicly backed that increase, and Democrats have seemed unlikely to succeed.
 
The minimum wage bill is among several income-related issues Democrats are pushing as this fall's congressional elections near.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois' Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says he has no plans to campaign with the GOP state lawmaker hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in November.
 
Kirk told reporters Monday that he's going to be "protecting his relationship" with Durbin and won't launch "into a partisan jihad."
 
Durbin is the Senate's No. 2 Democrat.
 
State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove won the GOP nomination last week. His family owns a chain of ice cream shops. Oberweis says his name recognition will help his U.S. Senate campaign. However, Oberweis has been under fire in the past, including for remarks about immigrants.
 
Kirk and Durbin have worked together and have had a public friendship, particularly after Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012.
Published in Local News
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is among eight senators urging more drugstore chains to follow the example of CVS Caremark by ending the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
CVS Caremark Corp. said last week it will phase out tobacco in its 7,600 stores nationwide as it shifts toward being more of a health care provider.
The Illinois Democrat and other senators sent letters Monday to chief executives of Walgreen, Rite Aid and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. The senators urged them to stop selling tobacco products and promote stop-smoking efforts.
The senators, all Democrats, are Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Barbara Boxer of California, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Published in Local News
   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin says the Senate's passage of a bill that would delay premium hikes for years for buyers of federal flood insurance is good news for areas along the Mississippi River.
   Durbin cheered Thursday's advance of the measure that would put off huge premium increases that are supposed to phase in next year under new, updated government flood maps.
   Those maps are of concern in southwestern Illinois from Alton south to Columbia, where the Army Corps of Engineers believes many levies are in need of millions of dollars in upgrades.
   Officials in those districts are scrambling to make the fixes to avoid having them downgraded to functionally useless. That would require thousands of homeowners with federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance.
 
Published in Local News
ALTON, Ill. (AP) - Members of Illinois' congressional delegation want the Army Corps of Engineers to use some of the funding included in a spending bill to fix portions of a Mississippi River levee.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, and Republican congressmen Rodney Davis and John Shimkus made the request in a letter also signed by Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart.
In correspondence to Jo-Ellen Darcy, a top Army Corps official, the delegation asks that the corps make fixing the Wood River levee northeast of St. Louis near Alton a priority.
Calling the problem "critical," the lawmakers say the river barrier was negatively affected by a design deficiency in the construction of the Melvin Price Lock and Dam near Alton.
 
Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has removed a Facebook post that erroneously claimed a GOP leader had told the president, "I can't even stand to look at you."

   Durbin said Monday he's satisfied that that people now know he's not to blame for the mistake.

   The decision resolves a point of tension between the White House and one of President Barack Obama's most loyal defenders. The White House acknowledges the error stemmed from a "miscommunication."

   Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, was not at the meeting where the statement in question would have been made. He says his source was a White House staffer who briefed him.

   The post drew rebukes from Republicans who said no such statement was made.

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Thousands of disappointed Illinois residents are expected at the state Capitol to rally for same-sex marriage.

   Organizers say several thousand people are expected to take part in the "March on Springfield" -a grassroots effort to urge the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois.

   The Illinois Senate approved the measure last February, but the measure has stalled in the House. Speaker Michael Madigan has said about a dozen votes are still needed.

   The event will begin with a noon concert followed by a rally at 1 p.m. and a 2:30 p.m. March. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are participating in the event. The governor says he will sign legislation if passed by the General Assembly.

   Currently 13 states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.

 

 
Published in Local News

Senator Dick Durbin and other Democrats are asking energy drink companies not to market to children. The Illinois Democrat and his colleagues sent letters to 17 energy drink companies asking that they voluntarily list, on the label, the amount of caffeine in a product as well as any adverse events associated with consuming the drinks.  Earlier this year, Senator Durbin co-authored a report entitled “What’s all the Buzz about?” which highlighted the inconsistencies in the labeling and classification of energy drinks. The report found high levels of caffeine in the energy drinks that exceeded what is considered safe in soda by the Food and Drug Administration. The report also found that adolescent consumers are frequent targets for the marketing pitches of energy drink companies. Product design and placement on store shelves help to create product images that appeal to children and teens. 

 

Published in Local News
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 02:01

Durbin headed to Washington for Syria debate

   CHICAGO (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has cancelled a Tuesday luncheon appearance before Chicago's business and political elite to head to Washington and begin preparing for congressional debate on possible action in Syria.

   The No. 2 Senate Democrat was among the 15 members of Congress briefed on the situation by telephone last week.

   President Barack Obama says he'll seek congressional approval for military strikes against the Assad regime. He's trying to rally support among Americans and congressmen.

   Durbin was to speak about sentencing for non-violent drug offenders Tuesday before the City Club of Chicago. His office issued a notice Monday that as a member of Senate leadership and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he'll be in Washington preparing for debate instead.

 

Published in Local News

   WHEATON, Ill. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is continuing his drum beat for immigration reform, saying he hopes the House of Representatives will take action this year on legislation passed by the Senate.

   The Illinois Democrat said in a round-table discussion in Wheaton on Monday he hopes to show House Republicans there is "a diverse level of support" for fixing the nation's "broken" immigration system.

   The round-table, which took place in the district of Republican Congressman Peter Roskam, included business, health, religious and community leaders.

   Durbin is one of the sponsors of legislation approved by the Senate that would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the country unlawfully. The bill also would expand access to visas for workers and graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

 
Published in Local News
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