Senator Durbin Committee Assignments Are

For other people with the same name, see Richard Durbin.

Richard Durbin
Senate Minority Whip


Assumed office
January 3, 2015
LeaderHarry Reid
Chuck Schumer
Preceded byJohn Cornyn
In office
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
LeaderHarry Reid
Preceded byHarry Reid
Succeeded byTrent Lott
Senate Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2015
LeaderHarry Reid
Preceded byMitch McConnell
Succeeded byJohn Cornyn
United States Senator
from Illinois


Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Serving with Tammy Duckworth
Preceded byPaul Simon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 20th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byPaul Findley
Succeeded byJohn Shimkus
Personal details
BornRichard Joseph Durbin
(1944-11-21) November 21, 1944 (age 73)
East St. Louis, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Loretta Schaefer
EducationGeorgetown University(BS, JD)
WebsiteSenate website

Richard Joseph Durbin (born November 21, 1944) is an American politician serving as the seniorUnited States Senator from Illinois since 1997. He has been the Assistant Democratic Leader, the second-highest position in the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate, since 2005, serving as Minority Whip from 2005 to 2007, Majority Whip from 2007 to 2015, and Minority Whip again since 2015.

Durbin was born in East St. Louis, Illinois. He graduated from the Georgetown UniversitySchool of Foreign Service and Georgetown University Law Center. Working in state legal counsel throughout the 1970s, he made an unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 1978. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, representing the Springfield-based 20th congressional district. In 1996, he won election to the U.S. Senate by an unexpected 15-point margin. He has served as Senate Democratic Whip since 2005, and for a period of eight years (2007–2015) served as the Senate Majority Whip. He is currently dean of the Illinois congressional delegation, as he has served in Congress since 1983 as a U.S. Representative from Illinois 20th Congressional District, and from 1997 as a U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Durbin now serves as the Senate Minority Whip following the 2014 midterm election, where the Republicans gained a majority in the U.S. Senate and when he won reelection, beating his Republican opponent, Jim Oberweis, by a margin of 53.55% to 42.69%.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Durbin was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, to an Irish-American father, William Durbin, and a Lithuanian-born mother, Anna (née Kutkin; Lithuanian: Ona Kutkaitė).[1] He graduated from Assumption High School in East St. Louis in 1962. During his high school years he worked at a meatpacking plant. He earned a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1966. He was an intern in the office of Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois during his senior year in college. Durbin earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969 and was admitted to the Illinois bar later that year.

After graduating from law school, Durbin started a law practice in Springfield. He was legal counsel to Lieutenant GovernorPaul Simon from 1969 to 1972, and then legal counsel to the Illinois State Senate Judiciary Committee from 1972 to 1982. Durbin was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1976.[2] He ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1978 as the running mate of State Superintendent of Schools Michael Bakalis. They were defeated by Republican incumbents Jim Thompson and Dave O'Neal. Durbin then worked as an adjunct professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for five years while maintaining his law practice.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

In 1982, Durbin won the Democratic nomination for the now-eliminated 20th congressional district, which included most of Springfield. He scored a huge upset, defeating 22-year incumbent Paul Findley. As part of the decennialredistricting process, Findley's district had been redrawn to include more Democrats. Durbin's campaign emphasized unemployment and financial difficulties facing farmers, and told voters that electing him would send "a message to Washington and to President Reagan that our economic policies are not working." Durbin benefited from donations by pro-Israel groups from around the United States, in particular, concentrated support from AIPAC supporters,[3] that were opposed to Findley's advocacy on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization[4] In the year prior to the election. Durbin was re-elected six times, rarely facing serious opposition, and winning more than 55% of the vote in each election except 1994.[5][6][7]

U.S. Senate[edit]

In 1996, Durbin defeated Pat Quinn to become the Democratic Party's nominee to replace the retiring Democratic incumbent, Senator Paul Simon, a long-time friend. He faced Republican State RepresentativeAl Salvi in the November general election. Although the election had been expected to be competitive, Durbin won by a surprising 15-point margin, undoubtedly helped by Bill Clinton's 18-point win in Illinois that year. He has since been re-elected in 2002, 2008 and 2014, each time by at least 10%.


  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Defense (Ranking Member)[8]
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on the Judiciary
  • Committee on Rules and Administration

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Bi-Cameral High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus
  • Caucus on International Narcotics Control (Co-Chair)
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Senate Diabetes Caucus
  • Senate Hunger Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Senate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Congressional COPD Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Senate Ukraine Caucus (Co-Chair)[9]


In November 1998, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle appointed Durbin as his Assistant Democratic Whip. Following the 2004 election, Durbin became the Democratic Whip in the 109th Congress. He became the first senator from Illinois to serve as a Senate Whip since Everett Dirksen did so in the late 1950s, and the fifth to serve in Senate Leadership.[10] Durbin served as Assistant Minority Leader from 2005 until 2007, when the Democrats became the Majority Party in the Senate. He then assumed the role of Assistant Majority Leader, or Majority Whip.

In addition to his caucus duties, Durbin is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.[11]

In 2000, Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore reportedly considered asking Durbin to be his running mate and candidate for Vice President of the United States.[12] Gore ultimately selected Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.[13]

When Majority Leader Harry Reid faced a difficult re-election fight in 2010, some pundits predicted a possibly heated fight to succeed him between his assistant Durbin and Senator Chuck Schumer, who is well known for his fund-raising prowess.[14] Reid's re-election victory, however, rendered such speculation moot.

Political positions[edit]

Durbin is one of the most liberal members of Congress. Mother Jones has called him a "top Senate liberal."[15] His voting record is very similar to the Democratic caucus position, consistent with his leadership position as Whip, which has the duty of persuading senators to follow the party line in their votes. As a trial lawyer, Durbin has excellent debating abilities, so much so that majority leader Harry Reid called him "the best debater" in the U.S. senate.[citation needed]


As a congressman, Durbin voted consistently to uphold existing restrictions on abortion or impose new limitations, including supporting a Constitutional amendment that would have nullified Roe v. Wade.[16] He reversed his position in 1989 and has since voted to maintain access to abortion, including support for Medicaid funding of it, and opposition to any limitation that he considers a practical or potential encroachment upon Roe.[17] Durbin has maintained that this reversal came about as a result of personal reflection and his growing awareness of potentially harmful implications of his previous policy with respect to women facing dangerous pregnancies.[18] While visiting a home for abused children in Quincy, Illinois, the director, a friend, asked him to speak with two girls who were about to turn 18 and be turned out of state care. Talking with the girls, victims of gang rape and incest, made him reconsider his position on the subject. He says, "I still oppose abortion and would try my best to convince any woman in my family to carry the baby to term. But I believe that ultimately the decision must be made by the woman, her doctor, her family, and her conscience."[19]


On March 2, 2005, then Senator Jon Corzine presented the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (S. 495) to the Senate. Durbin was one of 40 senators who co-sponsored the bill. The Darfur Accountability Act is noted as the premier legislative attempt to instill peace in Darfur. The bill asks that all people involved in or deemed in some way responsible for the genocide in Darfur be denied visas and entrance to the U.S.

In 2006, Durbin co-sponsored the Durbin-Leahy Amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill for emergency funding to instill peace in Darfur. In 2006, he also co-sponsored the Lieberman Resolution, and the Clinton Amendment.

On June 7, 2007, Durbin introduced the Sudan Disclosure Enforcement Act, "Aimed at enhancing the U.S. Government's ability to impose penalties on violators of U.S. sanctions against Sudan." The bill called for the United Nations Security Council to vote on sanctions against the Sudanese Government for the genocide in Darfur.

Durbin has voted in favor of all Darfur-related legislation. In addition to the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, he also supported the Civilian Protection No-Fly Zone Act, the Hybrid Force Resolution, and the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act.

Gun law[edit]

Durbin has a "F" rating from the National Rifle Association for his consistent support for gun law reform.[20]

Durbin sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May 2017 asking for support in expanding the Chicago Police Department's violence prevention programs by expanding access to the Strategic Decision Support Centers and the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. He also asked the Department of Justice to support the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, which would stop illegal state-to-state gun trafficking.[21]

In response to mass shootings, including the Orlando nightclub shooting and Las Vegas shooting, Durbin has repeatedly called for expanded gun control laws, stating that Congress would be "complicit" in the shooting deaths of people if they did not act.[22][23]


In March 2007, Durbin introduced the African Health Capacity Investment Act of 2007 to the Senate. The bill was designed so that over a three-year period, the U.S. would supply over $600 million to help create safer medical facilities and working conditions, and the recruitment and training of doctors from all over the continent.

In December 2007, Durbin and two other senators co-sponsored Senator John Kerry's Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act. Also, in March 2007, Durbin joined thirty-two other senators to co-sponsor the Early Treatment for HIV Act of 2007.

2001 Invasion of Afghanistan[edit]

Durbin voted to approve the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. This act granted the executive broad military powers, and was used to justify the United States' invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, along with many subsequent military interventions.[24]

Iraq War[edit]

On September 9, 2002, Durbin was the first of four Democratic senators (the others being Sens. Bob Graham, Feinstein, and Levin) on the Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), responding to the Bush administration's request for a joint resolution authorizing a preemptive war on Iraq without having prepared a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), to ask George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, to prepare a NIE on the status of Iraq's Weapon of mass destruction programs.[25] Durbin was one of the few senators who read the resulting prepared October 1, 2002 NIE, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction.[26]

On September 29, 2002, Durbin held a news conference in Chicago to announce that "absent dramatic changes" in the resolution, he would vote against the resolution authorizing war on Iraq.[27] On October 2, 2002, at the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza, Durbin repeated his promise to oppose the resolution in a letter read during the rally.[28]

On October 10, 2002, the U.S. Senate failed to pass Durbin's amendment to the resolution to strike "the continuing threat posed by Iraq" and insert "an imminent threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction", by a vote of 30 to 70, with the majority of Democratic senators voting for the amendment, but with 21 Democratic senators joining all 49 Republican senators voting against it.[29] On October 11, 2002, Durbin was one of 23 senators to vote against the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War.[30]

On April 25, 2007, Durbin said that as an intelligence committee member he knew in 2002 from classified information that the American people were being misled by the Bush Administration into a war on Iraq, but he could not reveal this because, as an intelligence committee member, he was sworn to secrecy.[31] This revelation prompted an online attack ad against Durbin by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.[32]

Fair Sentencing Act[edit]

Durbin authored the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, legislation that has corrected some of the imbalance in cocaine sentencing.[33]

DREAM Act[edit]

He is the chief proponent for The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (the "DREAM Act"), a piece of proposed federal legislation. This bill would provide certain students who entered or were brought to the country illegally with the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they arrived in the US as children, graduated from a US high school, have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, submit biometric data, pass a criminal background check, and complete two years toward a four-year degree from an accredited university or complete at least two years in the military within a five-year period. Durbin's leadership on this issue was recognized in 2013 when the Immigrant Legal Resource Center presented him with inaugural Nancy Pelosi Award for Immigration & Civil Rights Policy.[34]

Tobacco regulation[edit]

In 1987, Durbin introduced major tobacco regulation legislation in the House to ban cigarette smoking on airline flights of two hours or less. He was joined by Rep. C.W. Bill Young, a Republican from Florida, in saying that the rights of smokers to smoke end where their smoking affects the health and safety of others, such as on airplanes. The bill went on to pass as part of the 1988 transportation spending bill. In 1989, Congress banned cigarette smoking on all domestic airline flights.[35]

In March 1994, Durbin proposed an amendment to the Improving America's Schools Act that required schools that receive Federal drug prevention money to teach elementary and secondary students about the dangers of tobacco in addition to those of drugs and alcohol. The amendment also required that schools warn students against tobacco and teach them how to resist peer pressure to smoke.[36]

In February 2008, Durbin called on Congress to support a measure that would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to oversee the tobacco industry. This measure would require companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products, restrict advertising and promotions, and mandate the removal of harmful ingredients in tobacco products. The measure would also prohibit tobacco companies from using terms such as "low risk," "light," and "mild" on packaging.

Durbin attributes his stance against tobacco smoking to his father, who smoked two packs of Camel cigarettes a day and died of lung cancer.

Freedom of expression[edit]

In 2007, speaking as Senate Majority Whip, Durbin went on record as stating that "It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine."[37]

In 2010, Durbin cosponsored and passed from committee the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, a bill that aims to combat media piracy by blacklisting websites though many opposed to the bill argue that it violates First Amendment rights and promotes censorship.[38][39] The announcement of the bill was followed by a wave of protest from digital rights activists, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation calling it censorship and stating that action may be taken against all users of sites in which only some users are uploading infringing material.[40]

Durbin was a sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act.[41]

Financial crisis of 2007–2010[edit]

On April 27, 2009, in an interview with WJJG talk radio host Ray Hanania, Durbin accused banks of creating the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Durbin expressed a belief that many of the banks responsible for creating the crisis "own the place," referring to the power wielded by the banking lobby on Capitol Hill.[42]

On September 18, 2008, Durbin attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and was urged to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. That same day (trade effective the next day), Durbin sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696, and reinvested it all with Warren Buffett.[43]

On February 26, 2009, Durbin introduced the Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2009, calling for a maximum annual interest rate cap of 36%, including all interest and fees.[44] This bill was intended to put an end to predatory lending activities.

Rod Blagojevich[edit]

Shortly after Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest on federal corruption charges on December 9, 2008, Durbin called for the Illinois legislature to quickly pass legislation for a special election to fill then President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.[45] He stated that no United States Senate appointment of Blagojevich's could produce a credible replacement under the circumstances.[46]

Durbin and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus in writing Illinois Governor Blagojevich to urge him to resign and not name a successor to Obama following Blagojevich's arrest.[47]


In January 2005, Durbin changed his longstanding position on sugar tariffs and price supports. After several years of voting to keep sugar quotas and price supports, Durbin now favors abolishing the program. "The sugar program depended on congressmen like me from states that grew corn," Durbin said, referring to the fact that, though they were formerly a single entity, the sugar market and the corn syrup market are now largely separate.[48]

In May 2006, Durbin campaigned to maintain a $0.54 per gallon tariff on imported ethanol. Durbin justified the tariff by joining Barack Obama in stating that "ethanol imports are neither necessary nor a practical response to current gasoline prices," arguing instead that domestic ethanol production is sufficient and expanding.[49] The American Coalition for Ethanol gave him a rating of 100%.[citation needed]

American Airlines praised him for arguing for the need to lower rising oil prices.[50]


Among Durbin's legislative causes are environmental protection, particularly the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. League of Conservation Voters gives him a rating of 89%. Sierra Club gives him a 90% rating.[citation needed]

Other positions[edit]

Durbin has also been a major proponent of expanded Amtrak funding and support. In October 2007, he opposed a bill in the Illinois General Assembly that would allow three casinos to be built, saying, "I really, really think we ought to stop and catch our breath and say, 'Is this the future of Illinois? That every time we want to do something we'll just build more casinos?'"[51]

Durbin reintroduced the Fair Elections Now Act during the 112th Congress. The bill would provide public funds to candidates who do not take political donations larger than $100 from any donor.[52]

On January 28, 2013, Durbin was a member of a bi-partisan group of eight Senators which announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).[53]

In April 2013, Durbin chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights concerning the moral, legal and constitutional issues surrounding targeted killings and the use of drones. Durbin stated, "Many in the national security community are concerned that we may undermine our counter-terrorism efforts if we do not carefully measure the benefits and costs of targeted killing."[54]

In June 2015, Durbin sent a letter to the prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsinuk, about fully supporting of Yatsinuk's efforts of governing.

Guantanamo interrogation criticism[edit]

Durbin received media attention on June 14, 2005, when in the U.S. Senate chambers he compared interrogation techniques used at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, as reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to those utilized by such regimes as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Khmer Rouge:

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here – I almost hesitate to put them in the record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18–24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold.... On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others – that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.[55]

Durbin's comments drew widespread criticism that comparing U.S. actions to such regimes insulted the United States and victims of genocide. Radio host Rush Limbaugh and White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove accused Durbin of treason,[56] while former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called on the Senate to censure Durbin.[57] Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose son Patrick was serving in U.S. Army, also called on Durbin to apologize for his remarks, saying that he thought it was a "disgrace to say that any man or woman in the military would act like that."[58] John Wertheim, Democratic state party chairman of New Mexico, and Jim Pederson, Arizona Democratic party chairman, also criticized Durbin's remarks.[59] The leader of the Veterans of Foreign Wars also demanded an apology,[60] as did the Anti-Defamation League[58]

Durbin initially did not apologize, but on June 21, 2005, he went before the Senate, saying, "More than most people, a senator lives by his words ... occasionally words fail us, occasionally we will fail words."[61]

Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, praised Durbin for raising serious moral issues about U.S. policy.[62] Other commentators, including liberal commentator Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of Daily Kos, condemned Durbin for apologizing to his critics, arguing Durbin made a mistake in making himself, rather than detention and torture concerns at Guantanamo Bay, the focus of media coverage.[63][64]

Attempts to remove PAC radio advertisements[edit]

In July 2014, Americas PAC, a Political Action Committee designed to elect conservative Republicans, released a radio advertisement attacking Durbin on his staff salaries.[65] This was based upon a Washington Times article that stated Durbin's female staff members made $11,000 less annually than his male staffers.[66] In response, lawyers representing Durbin submitted a letter claiming the information in the ad was false and that the radio stations would be liable for airing the ad, with the possibility of losing their FCC license.[67] The radio station stated the sources provided to back up the information provided by Americas PAC were checked and proved to be in line and that they would keep the radio advertisement on air.[68]

Electoral history[edit]

1982Richard J. Durbin100,7587001504000000000000♠50.4%Paul Findley (inc.)99,3487001496000000000000♠49.6%
1984Richard J. Durbin (inc.)145,0927001613000000000000♠61.3%Richard Austin91,7287001387000000000000♠38.7%
1986Richard J. Durbin (inc.)126,5567001681009999900000♠68.1%Kevin McCarthey59,2917001319000000000000♠31.9%
1988Richard J. Durbin (inc.)153,3417001689000000000000♠68.9%Paul Jurgens69,3037001311000000000000♠31.1%
1990Richard J. Durbin (inc.)130,1147001662000000000000♠66.2%Paul Jurgens66,4337001338009999900000♠33.8%
1992Richard J. Durbin (inc.)154,8697001565000000000000♠56.5%John M. Shimkus119,2197001435000000000000♠43.5%
1994Richard J. Durbin (inc.)108,0347001548000000000000♠54.8%Bill Owens88,9647001452000000000000♠45.2%
1996Richard J. Durbin2,384,02856%Al Salvi1,728,82441%
2002Richard J. Durbin2,103,76660%Jim Durkin1,325,70338%
2008Richard J. Durbin3,516,84668%Steve Sauerberg1,479,98429%
2014Richard J. Durbin1,929,63753.5%Jim Oberweis1,538,52242.7%

Personal life[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(August 2012)

Durbin and his wife Loretta have had three children, Christine, Jennifer and Paul. After several weeks in the hospital with complications due to a congenital heart condition, Christine died on November 1, 2008.[70] Durbin's wife Loretta was a lobbyist, and it was reported by the Chicago Tribune in 2014 that some of her "clients have received federal funding promoted by [Durbin]".[71] The Durbins maintain that they try to avoid conflicts of interest, however.[71]

Film and television appearances[edit]

2015The Gettysburg AddressHimselfDocumentary


  1. ^"durbin". 1944-11-21. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  2. ^"Senator Dick Durbin - Biography - Project Vote Smart". November 21, 1944. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  3. ^The Israel Lobby, p. 157, by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
  4. ^Reprints, Eli Lake EliLake Josh Rogin joshrogin Subscribe. "How Obama Out-Muscled Aipac". Retrieved 2016-08-31. 
  5. ^Malcolm, Andrew (September 5, 1982). "The Midwest". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  6. ^Clymer, Adam (October 3, 1982). "Democrats Shaping Election as Referendum on Economy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  7. ^Clymer, Adam (October 30, 1982). "GOP House Candidates Leading in Fundraising". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  8. ^"Tribune Article on Senate Defense Cmte". Chicago Tribune. January 28, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  9. ^"Portman and Durbin Launch Senate Ukraine Caucus". Rob Portman United States Senator for Ohio. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  10. ^[1]
  11. ^"Dick Durbin's Biography - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. 1944-11-21. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  12. ^Durbin Off The Vp ListChicago Tribune
  13. ^"CNN Transcript - Inside Politics: Joseph Lieberman Accepts Al Gore's Offer to Join the Democratic Ticket - August 8, 2000". 2000-08-08. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  14. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  15. ^Khimm, Suzy (December 8, 2010) Top Senate Liberal Defends Obama on Tax Cuts, Mother Jones
  16. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  17. ^"Richard Durbin on Abortion". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  18. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  19. ^Parsons, Christi (December 2, 2007). "Dick Durbin's Challenge". Chicago Tribune. pp. 15–19, 26–27. 
  20. ^"The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  21. ^Gossett, Stephen. "Sen. Durbin Asks DOJ For Help Curbing Chicago Gun Violence Ahead Of Summer". Chicagoist. Archived from the original on November 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  22. ^Savransky, Rebecca (12 June 2016). "Durbin calls for Congress to pass gun control laws". TheHill. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  23. ^"Morning Spin: Illinois Democrats talk gun control after Las Vegas shooting; Trump's office talks Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  24. ^
  25. ^Select Committee on Intelligence (July 9, 2004). "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq"(PDF). Archived from the original(PDF) on August 30, 2006.

Democrat Tammy Duckworth said she was "ready to go" on Tuesday after being sworn in as the second female U.S. senator from Illinois.

"I got through the holidays, got through the transition (from House to Senate) shut down my House office, moved over, got my committee assignments and am really anxious to get to work for Illinois," Duckworth said after taking an oath of office administered by Vice President Joe Biden.

Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, served two terms in the House before winning the Senate seat by beating incumbent Republican Mark Kirk on Nov. 8. She was accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by Sen. Dick Durbin, who is No. 2 in the Senate Democratic leadership.

Duckworth, who lost her legs in combat during the Iraq War, held a cane and clutched Durbin's left arm as she approached Biden. Her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, and daughter, Abigail, 2, watched from the Senate gallery, where the girl sparkled in a pink tutu, white top and silver shoes.

Duckworth was one of seven new senators and 27 re-elected senators sworn in to office by Biden. She and Durbin will be in the minority as the Republican Party kept control of both houses of Congress and will soon also control the White House following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20.

Republicans maintained control of the Senate despite losing two seats in November. The Senate now has 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.

The only other woman Illinois has sent to the Senate was Carol Moseley Braun, who served from 1993 to 1999.

Following the official swearing-in, Duckworth took part in a re-enactment ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber and then a private affair with friends and relatives, including her mother, Lamai Duckworth. The second oath was administered by Judge Jack Farley, a Vietnam War amputee who earlier was on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Duckworth and Farley met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2004 after Duckworth, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, was admitted with grave injuries, including two amputated legs and a badly injured arm. Farley administered the oath to Duckworth in 2009 when she became an assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

"A dear friend and mentor over the years," she called him.

Swearing to support and defend the Constitution is something Duckworth has done many times, both in the military and as a member of the House. She said Tuesday's ceremonies had her reliving past chapters. "I mean my entire adult life, I've had the same opportunity to swear to protect and defend the Constitution and serve my nation," she said.

As a senator, Duckworth will serve on four committees, one of them the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. That panel will hold a confirmation hearing for Republican Todd Ricketts, the Chicago Cubs' co-owner who has been designated by Trump to be deputy commerce secretary.

Duckworth said she had met Ricketts socially and would judge his nomination on its merits.

She also will serve on the Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.

She said if Trump plans new investments in infrastructure, the Environment and Public Works Committee will have input. The Energy Committee seat will let her work on renewable energy and nuclear power issues, she said.

Last fall, Duckworth had a two-day orientation to the Senate. Asked the best advice she's been given, she said it was to "ask other, more senior members for help from both sides of the aisle. It's very collegial. If you're not sure, there's no such thing as a dumb question."

Members of the House also took the oath as the 115th Congress opened. Illinois is represented by 11 Democrats and seven Republicans.

The delegation includes a new arrival, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, and returning member Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield. Both are Democrats.

Krishnamoorthi took Duckworth's old seat in the 8th Congressional District. Schneider, who was in the House from 2013 to 2015, represents the 10th Congressional District.

Krishnamoorthi, who was born in India and came to the U.S. as a child, is the first Indian-American to represent Illinois in the House. He said he was humbled and honored to take the oath, saying he came to fight for the middle class, "so now my journey begins."

Schneider's old rival, Republican Bob Dold of Kenilworth, was chosen speaker pro tempore for the final minutes of the now-ended 114th Congress. The two have run against each other three times.

Schneider said he's hearing there may be a fourth matchup since Republicans including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, are "trying to recruit" Dold to run in 2018. Two Dold campaign officials did not reply to a Tribune request for comment on that.

Twitter @KatherineSkiba

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