Richard J Durbin

Census Bureau defends ‘efficiency’ changes ahead of 2020 count
Avoids details on gathering citizenship data through administrative records

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, prepares to testify during his 2018 Senate confirmation hearing (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call )

Census officials on Monday defended plans for next year’s count that they said would make it the “most efficient ever," as Democrats pressed the bureau to do more to ensure hard-to-count populations are not overlooked.

The latest salvo from Democrats came from members of the Illinois congressional delegation, led by Richard J. Durbin, the Senate minority whip, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, along with the rest of the state’s Democratic representatives. In a letter, they urged greater investment in outreach like Questionnaire Assistance Centers to avoid missing minorities, children, rural residents and the urban poor.

Champion of US agriculture, former Illinois Rep. Paul Findley dies at 98
Republican congressman drew attention for his criticism of U.S. policy on Palestine

Illinois Rep. Paul Findley works in his Capitol Hill office in 1976. (CQ/Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Paul Findley, who represented his Springfield-based district for 22 years, died Friday at the age of 98. 

The Illinois Republican was commemorated by the man who succeeded him — Democrat Richard J. Durbin, now the state’s senior senator — as an “exceptional public servant” and friend.

Senate Democrats push repeal of state and local tax rule
The $10,000 state tax deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., answers questions following a vote on the budget agreement on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will push to repeal a Treasury Department and IRS rule, which goes into effect Aug. 11, that they say would “block critical state workarounds” to the $10,000 limitation on state and local tax deductions.

The $10,000 deduction limit was a key feature of the 2017 tax code overhaul, and has been the subject of hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee where Democratic members are urging a repeal of that provision.

Thursday eyed for Senate budget vote, August recess start
The timing of final votes uncertain as senators look to jet out of town for August recess

Scott, a former Florida governor, says Washington spends too much. He has indicated he will vote against the debt limit deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate appears set to spend another day in session before lawmakers can go home for August recess.

The chamber appears likely to vote Thursday on legislation that would avoid a $125 billion discretionary spending cut next year, as well as push off the threat of default on the nation’s debt until possibly late 2021.

Senate inches toward Wednesday budget deal vote
McConnell laid out the process for a series of get-out-of town votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Capitol on Tuesday for a Senate Republican’ policy lunch at the National Republican Senate Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders edged toward get-out-of-town votes on Wednesday, lining up a series of President Donald Trump’s nominees for confirmation either this week or shortly after the summer recess.

There was still the matter of voting on the two-year budget caps and debt limit suspension package, but clearing that measure for Trump’s signature appeared likely Wednesday. A notice from Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois said consideration of the budget measure was “expected to occur” Wednesday. 

Not so fast, recess: Senate hurdles to late-summer departure
McConnell: There’s little time to confirm several Trump nominees, and clear a budget measure to beat the debt ceiling deadline

Empty chairs and a “quiet please” sign sit outside the Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators hoping to get out of town for an early summer recess departure faced a potentially lengthy workweek.

There’s little time to confirm several of President Donald Trump’s nominees, including judges, and clear a budget measure to beat the Treasury Department’s debt ceiling deadline before leaving, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday in opening remarks.

For spending bills, now comes the hard part
Both chambers need to reach agreement before Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 35-day partial government shutdown

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Homeland Security Appropriations chairwoman, said that getting her committee’s spending bill enacted will be ‘difficult.’ (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional leaders and the Trump administration proved last week that they can work together by reaching an agreement to avoid default on the nation’s financial obligations and prevent $125 billion in spending cuts that could disrupt the longest U.S. economic expansion on record.

Assuming the House-passed budget pact is cleared by the Senate this week and signed into law, lawmakers still have their work cut out for them.

Road ahead: Senate has plenty to do before August recess jet fumes
McConnell wants to clear budget deal, confirm nominations before recess

The August recess jet fumes are getting stronger on the Senate side of the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s August recess jet fumes are getting stronger, but there is still an abundance of chamber business to take care of this week.

The House is in recess until Sept. 9, but the Senate needs to clear the bipartisan budget caps agreement that would also suspend the debt limit into the summer of 2021, following House action last week.

Rep. Davis operative faked student reporter alias to join opponent’s press call
Illinois GOP congressman has had previous issues with campaign staffer crashing opponent’s events

Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis could face a rematch next year with Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Aug. 1, 2019, 1:36 p.m. | An unpaid political operative working for Rep. Rodney Davis pretended to be a student reporter for a local university newspaper to join a press call hosted by one of the Illinois Republican’s opponents, Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

Nick Klitzing, a former executive director of the Illinois GOP and campaign staffer for former Gov. Bruce Rauner, created the alias “Jim Sherman,” a (nonexistent) student journalist from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in order to join the call held last Wednesday, July 17, Central Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA reported.

Juul under continued scrutiny over flavors, marketing tactics
Juul officials will appear before panel Thursday and will likely address Wednesday allegations

Sen. Richard Durbin, the bill sponsor for preventing the sale of flavored e-cigarette products said that raising the age of tobacco purchasing 'isn't enough.' The popular e-cigarette Juul is under scrutiny for appealing to young people through e-cigarette flavors.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The popular e-cigarette Juul is under renewed scrutiny by Congress thanks to two days of hearings that could pressure lawmakers to act on e-cigarette flavors that appeal to young people.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee heard from witnesses about the company’s efforts to attract some vulnerable populations, namely teenagers and American Indians.