Jul 29, 2014

Durbin Calls for Change to Filibuster Rule

Before speaking to New Trier Democratic Organization, the U.S. senator tells Patch he would like to make it harder to block legislation.

Durbin Calls for Change to Filibuster Rule Durbin Calls for Change to Filibuster Rule Durbin Calls for Change to Filibuster Rule Durbin Calls for Change to Filibuster Rule

Frustrated with Senate Republicans blocking a majority of 51 senators from passing , Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Springfield, said he's willing to change the filibuster rule to require dissenting legislators to speak continually against a bill. 

Durbin expressed his wish to return to the pre-2005 requirements before keynoting the New Trier Democratic Organization annual dinner Sunday in Northbrook, where more than 250 people gathered to hear his remarks.

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“If the Republicans are willing interrupt the business of the Senate and bring it to a halt, they should be willing to interrupt their dinner plans,” said Durbin, the Senate majority whip.

Unable to pass the bill despite a majority of 51 senators in favor, Durbin explained to Patch that he and his colleagues would reassemble the legislation into a law that can muster the 60 votes needed for passage.

“The filibuster kept us from passing the entire bill,” Durbin said. “There is opposition to certain parts. We will have to create a bill that can pass so we can have some parts” of the American Jobs Act.

Before 2005, senators wishing to filibuster to keep a majority from voting had to stand and speak on the floor. Speeches have been made more than 24 hours long. Since 2005, they merely vote to see if 60 members will allow a roll call for passage. No speech is necessary.

Criticizes Republicans Block of Jobs Bill

During his speech, Durbin criticized Republican efforts to stifle the president’s effort to jump-start the economy and create jobs, even though they supported most parts of the proposal when it was part of the agenda of former President George W. Bush. 

“When we called the jobs bill in the Senate not one Republican voted for it,” Durbin said. “The bill contained many things they have supported before. They won’t support if when it is the proposal of President Obama.” 

Durbin explained the opposition stemmed from Republican concerns about how to pay for the proposal to create jobs by improving schools and developing other infrastructure in the country. 

“It would be paid for by a 5.6 percent income tax surcharge on people earning more than $1 million. Don’t take my word for it. We have an economist here,” Durbin said, pointing to Nobel laureate Roger Meyerson of Wilmette, who was in attendance at the event. 

“I’m with you,” Meyerson said as he pointed his thumb up. Meyerson, now a professor at the University of Chicago, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in economics while a faculty member at Northwestern University.

Durbin: Republicans Favor Taxing Wealthy

Durbin cited polling that shows 56 percent of Republicans are in favor of taxing millionaires to promote job creation. “Not one of them is a senator or House member, he said. “They have lurched from one doomsday scenario to another to shut down the economy.” 

Introducing Durbin to the crowd, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, talked about Durbin’s leadership on environmental issues and its relation to job creation in today’s economy. 

“It was Dick Durbin who took on those battles and won,” Schakowsky said. “It’s not just jobs and the economy. It’s all his successes.”

Durbin took the environmental issues a step further criticizing Republican attempts to eliminate clean air and water standards enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. He wants no part of it. 

“The Republicans think the key to job creation is eliminating rules and regulations,” Durbin said. “We have to insist on protecting our health. We move forward with energy efficiency and a green economy.” 

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