Entries in Dick Durbin (8)


Sen. Dick Durbin: Medicare, Medicaid Fair Game in Talks to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday that his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate should be willing to address entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid in deficit reduction negotiations.

“From my side of the table, bring entitlement reform into the conversation,” Durbin said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “Social Security — set aside … doesn’t add to the deficit.  But when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, protect the integrity of the program, but give it solvency for more and more years.”

But Durbin ruled out raising the age of Medicare eligibility as a potential reform.

“We’ve got to make sure that there is seamless coverage of affordable health insurance for every American,” Durbin said. “My concern about raising that Medicare retirement age is there will be gaps in coverage or coverage that’s way too expensive for seniors to purchase.”

Durbin added that Republicans should do more than open the door to eliminating deductions, which he said would not raise enough revenue to bring down the deficit.

“Let the [highest tax] rates go up to 39 [percent]. Let us also take a look at the deductions. Let’s make sure that revenue is an integral part of deficit reduction,” Durbin said.

Also speaking on “This Week,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that putting revenue on the table by reducing deductions for high income Americans is “fair” only if Democrats will also agree to address entitlement reform.

He added that in order to reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff he would defy a no-tax increase pledge that he and many Republicans made to lobbyist Grover Norquist and his group Americans for Tax Reform, a promise he first made several months ago.

“The only pledges we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece,” Graham said today. “Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation so I agree with Grover we shouldn’t raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can’t cut deductions and buy down debt.”

“I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country only if Democrats will do entitlement reform,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Durbin: Bank of America Ending Fee Proves Consumers Have a Voice

Durbin [dot] Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL., one of the fiercest Congressional critics of Bank of America’s $5 monthly debit card fee, celebrated the announcement Tuesday that the bank is abandoning this approach as a win for Americans who stood up and left the bank because of the charge.

“It is a good thing because it is an indication to me that the consumers across America have a much larger voice in this process today than they did even a few weeks ago,” Durbin said on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.  “I said customers of these banks should vote with their feet.  Start looking for another bank; find a bank or a credit union that treats them in the manner they want to be treated -- fairly and respectfully.  Well, the message got out.  And that message ended up creating a substantial move of customers from some banking credit institutions to others.”

Bank of America announced Tuesday that they are completly scrapping their planned $5 monthly debit card fee, a reversal of its announcement in late September.

Sen. Durbin said the update represents the benefits of a free-market economy, in which customers have a choice in where they do business.

“I hope it is the beginning of a trend,” Durbin said.  “Consumers are now saying they’ll only do business with banks that care about serving them instead of squeezing them.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reid Begins Process to Move His Bill to the Floor, But Does Not File Cloture

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did not file cloture, as expected, on his debt plan Monday night on the Senate floor, which means that there will not be a midweek vote on his proposal.

Instead, Reid used a procedural move called “filling the tree” which blocks Republicans from offering amendments to his plan.  It is in essence a procedural lock which sets up a vote later in the week, without a specific deadline. It may have been used to force Speaker of the House John Boehner’s plan to be voted on in the House first.

“We have put into process our efforts, sound legislation to end the budget crisis we’re in. It in effect does everything the Republicans have asked,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday evening. “Virtually everything we have in there has been suggested by the Republicans. And now they need to take yes for an answer. Give a yes.”

On Monday evening Reid convened with the Democratic caucus, in which he briefed his fellow Democrats about his plan. Leaving the meeting Monday night, Senate Democrats appeared to be trying to show a united front in support of Reid’s plan.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said that the Reid plan was received “extremely well” by the caucus.

"The Reid plan is a realistic way forward," Conrad said. "And you know there's obviously got to be at some point further agreement."

“We’re going to pass ours,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said. "That’s our goal....there’s a feeling now that we have to stand together.”

Can it get 60 votes to pass, though? “Well it depends on the Republicans,” Durbin said. “It still comes down to that.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Durbin to ABC News: 'Disappointed' in Status of Debt Talks

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sources on both sides of the debt negotiations tell ABC News that Sunday night’s meeting did nothing to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats. The only thing negotiators could agree on was to keep meeting; that, plus a shared belief in the room that those who downplay the consequences of default are just plain wrong.

After President Obama ratchets up the pressure with another press conference Monday, negotiators will go back in and lay out their differing perspectives on the amount of savings agreed to during the talks led by Vice President Biden last month. (Democrats and Republicans could be as much as $1 trillion apart.)

Reaching the fallback $2-2.5 trillion deal may not be all that much easier than the $4 trillion deal that collapsed this weekend. But Monday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America Democratic negotiator Sen. Dick Durbin was cautiously optimistic.

“I can tell you the president is determined to keep us there and make certain that we’re focused on the fact that the decision we make in that room will affect families across the American and decide whether this economy is going to recover. If we falter, if we don’t have sufficient political courage and will to get this done and this economy is going to be hurt then it’s going to fall on our shoulders,” he said.

Durbin called on GOP counterparts to “stay at the table” and said both sides need to be willing to put up big items. And he didn’t hesitate to point a finger at House Speaker John Boehner’s balk at the bigger $4 trillion deal.

“I’m disappointed. Last Thursday there was resolve through most of the leadership, Democrat, Republican, to do something serious and something large enough that would address our deficit in a...serious way but in a coordinated way, bringing everything to the table and being balanced,” Durbin said. “Unfortunately over the weekend Speaker Boehner said ‘I can’t deliver. I can’t produce on my side.’”

So how do they reach a deal in the next few days?

“I think that’s why the president has told us ‘Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to stay and get the job done.’ There have been a lot of folks on the other side of the table who have said ‘Well, maybe we need half a deal, maybe we need it for just a few months,’ and the president said ‘No.’ He’s told us over and over again, ‘We’ve heard your speeches, but this deficit is a moral crisis, it’s holding back our economic recovery and we’ve got to give some certainty to the business community across America about our future,” Durbin said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Terrorist Suspect Held at Sea Causes Political Argument

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted the Obama administration Wednesday morning for the decision to bring Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, the Somali man facing terrorism charges to New York for trial, saying the administration’s “ideological rigidity” is “harming the national security” of the country.

“Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame is a foreign enemy combatant,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, “He should be treated as one; he should be sitting in a cell Guantanamo Bay, and eventually be tried before a military commission. Warsame is an admitted terrorist.”

Over the weekend, Warsame, who had been held and interrogated on a U.S. Navy ship for the past two and half months, was flown to New York to face criminal charges in a civilian court. Republicans have argued that foreign terrorism suspects should be tried in military commissions rather than civilian courts.

“It’s astonishing that this administration is determined to give foreign fighters all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens regardless of where they are captured,” McConnell continued, “And now Warsame, an enemy combatant with ties to al Qaeda who was captured overseas and detained by the military for months, is now in the United States awaiting trial as a civilian criminal suspect. It is not necessary to bring or continue to harbor these terrorists within the United States. The infrastructure is already in place to handle these dangerous individuals at Guantanamo.”

The Obama administration has fallen short of President Obama’s goal to close Guantanamo within the first year of his administration.   McConnell says that with that move it is “abundantly clear” that the administration has “no intention of utilizing Guantanamo unless an enemy combatant is already being held there,” with or without the detainee camp being closed or not.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., responded that it was “unfair” to second-guess the president as he said Senator McConnell has, because “the same standard was not applied to the Republican president who tried hundreds of would-be terrorists, accused terrorists in our criminal courts successfully.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama bin Laden's Death Brings Praise from Capitol Hill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- News of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces striking inside Pakistan Sunday brought praise from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, D.C., but all agree the U.S. must remain vigilant in the war on terrorism.

Here is what some lawmakers are saying:

Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, top Republican on Senate Armed Services Committee:

“I am overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist.  The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it.  I hope the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done.  I commend the president and his team, as well as our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals, for this superb achievement.  But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"The killing of Osama bin Laden closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world.  We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our ten-year manhunt was in search of justice not revenge.  Terrorists everywhere must never doubt that the United States will hunt them down no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes.

"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women of our intelligence agencies and our military for their tireless dedication and enormous sacrifice to bring justice to a man responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11 and thousands more men, women, and children around the world.

"I commend President Obama and his national security team for never forgetting the need to secure justice for those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago and for those who have lost their lives in the war against extremism that continues today.

"A single death does not end the threat from al Qaeda and its affiliated groups.  We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure."

House Speaker John Boehner:

"This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world.  We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people.  I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success.  I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

“The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaeda.  I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment.  It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope that today’s action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores.

“Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country.”

Rep. Peter King, R-NY:

“Today, the American people have seen justice.  The leader of the United States’ top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

“In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.’  President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words.  President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda.

“This great success would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless brave men and women who have served around the world in this War on Terror.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, top Senate Republican:

"The death of Osama bin Laden marks a long-awaited end to the work of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  No one who remembers the horror of that day can help but feel relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead.  This is a great victory in the War on Terror and for all who have worked so tirelessly over the years to thwart the monstrous designs of this madman and his disciples.  On Sept. 11, 2001, America came together and vowed that we would never forget the memory of those whose lives were lost on that terrible day.  Tonight's announcement shows that we have made good on that pledge.  It is proof that no matter how difficult or how long it takes, our military, intelligence forces and law enforcement officials will never stop until the job is done.  America celebrates tonight, and is grateful for the heroic efforts of the many men and women around the world who have fought and who are still fighting to protect the world from terrorism.  Though they may never make the headlines, we are ever mindful of their many sacrifices.  This war on terror continues, but we can be happy tonight that with the death of Osama bin Laden, the world is a better place.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY:

"This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers -- and citizens from all over the world -- who were murdered on 9/11.  It took close to ten years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate.  New York's heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.  This is a massive accomplishment for the countless military and intelligence personnel who have been urgently dedicated to this task for the past decade.  Because bin Laden's evil dogma has poisoned the minds of so many others, we cannot let up in the war on terror.  This successful mission sends a definitive message to those who would test the resolve of the people of the United States of America: do not doubt our resolve; if you do us harm, we will find you, we will mete out justice, and we will prevail."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate:

“I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed.  Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable.  Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to our intelligence community and military for pursuing this manhunt for almost ten years and successfully eliminating the most high profile terrorist on earth.  Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, top Republican on U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

"This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities.  I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out with no injuries to women or children inside the compound.  The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. Dick Durbin: Social Security Cuts Should Not Be Ruled Out

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says the bi-partisan group of senators working to find a way to reduce the deficit -- the so-called "Gang of Six" -- is near agreement on a plan that will chart a middle ground between the House Republican budget and the plan outlined last week by President Obama.

And while other top Democrats say Social Security should be untouched, Durbin says Social Security changes should be made now.

"You have the House Republican budget from Congressman Paul Ryan, who I know and like, which is going to be placed somewhere on the right side of the spectrum. You have the president's suggestion, which will be on the other side of the spectrum.  And if and when we reach an agreement, it will be in the middle, a bipartisan effort, which I think has a chance to succeed," Durbin said in an interview with ABC News.

He expects the Gang of Six -- which, in addition to Durbin, includes Senators Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; and Kent Conrad, D-N.D. -- to agree on a plan shortly after Congress returns from its Easter recess.

"We're very, very close," Durbin said.  "And there's a sense of urgency.  Our relevance is going to be hooked to our timeliness.  If we wait too long, we may not be players.  And a lot of people are counting on us to be players."

Durbin criticized a resolution put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, that says Social Security should not be cut under a deficit reduction plan.  Durbin said he would not vote for such a resolution.

"I think Bernie is going too far with his language," Durbin said.

"In 2037, as we know it, Social Security falls off a cliff," he said.  "There's a 22 percent reduction rate in payments, which is really not something we can tolerate.  If we deal with it today, it's an easier solution than waiting.  I think we ought to deal with it.  Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day.  But from my point of view, leaving it out makes it easier politically, including it, I think, meets an obligation, which we have to senior citizens."

One specific change Durbin said should be considered right now is reducing Social Security benefits to the wealthy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Democrats Say Vote On Tax Cuts Likely Delayed Until Lame-Duck

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats acknowledged Thursday that they will almost definitely delay a debate and vote on extending the Bush tax cuts until the lame-duck session after the November elections.  “The reality is nothing’s going to happen before the elections,” the Senate’s number-two Democrat Dick Durbin said after a caucus meeting Thursday afternoon.  While Durbin said Majority Leader Harry Reid “will make the final decision,” the Illinois lawmaker admitted that “the likelihood of our passing anything by way of tax extensions is very very slim.”  Durbin also emphasized the difficulty of finding a "bipartisan answer to the challenges we face.” As Democrats themselves acknowledged Thursday, they are a party divided.  "Opinions were all over the place,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., of the caucus meeting. Bayh, who is retiring this fall, has broken with his party to support an extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  The tax cuts will expire on January 1st unless Congress acts.

Copyright 2010 -- ABC News Radio.

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