Dick Durbin

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Democrats will continue to push for votes on a payroll tax cut extension after it failed.

Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected a Democratic plan to pay for the $120 billion tax cut extension with an extra tax on income above $1 million. Durbin says Congress is "going to go back to this next week and the following week."

(via Flickr/Nero.Lives)

Four U.S. senators and health officials from the cities hosting the World Series are urging the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera.

The senators, including the No. 2 Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois, and the health officials from St. Louis and Arlington, Texas, made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals begins in St. Louis Wednesday night.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold and Ammad Omar used in this report.

Republicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for visiting his home state Wednesday.

The Democratic president is scheduled to visit Western Illinois as part of a Midwestern tour.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady says Mr. Obama's policies have not helped the state's economy.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

Durbin opposes short-term extension of debt-ceiling

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Ill. has announced that he wants to extend the debt ceiling until after the 2012 election. He says Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the ceiling as budget cuts are made would do nothing to help the economy, and won’t keep credit agencies from downgrading the nation’s debt. Rather, he says it would lead to higher interest rates.

 New conservative ad campaign targets Mo. Sen. McCaskill, among others

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says a Metro East port project is getting more money.

Durbin announced the $8.5 million from the Department of Transportation. The money is to help build a transportation hub that Durbin says can help reduce congestion on the Mississippi River.

Durbin's office says the project got $6 million last year. The project includes a harbor, rail lines and a rail and truck facility in Madison County, Ill.

The Illinois Democrat says the facility can help the Metro East's economic competitiveness.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has drafted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking that an investigation be launched into recent allegations of price fixing of gasoline by U.S. oil refiners.

The letter, a release states, comes after a report in the Kansas City Star "analyzed the ballooning profit margin by oil refiners in recent months."

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Reporting from WBEZ's Tony Arnold used in this report.

Illinois' two U.S. senators are saying party leaders are trying to avoid a government shut down. Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline to finalize the federal budget.

Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, said budget negotiations with House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner are close to wrapping up.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the size of the evacuation zones around the six nuclear power plants in Illinois should be reviewed.

Kirk and fellow U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin held a forum Friday with a panel of four nuclear experts that resembled a congressional hearing to talk about safety in Illinois in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

(via Flickr/RealEstateZebra)

The East St. Louis Fire Department will soon be able to bolster their efforts and staffing with a federal grant, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

Sen. Dick Durbin says he wants answers from nuclear experts about the safety of some of Illinois' aging nuclear plants in the wake of the crisis in Japan.

The Democrat says he and fellow U.S. senator, Republican Mark Kirk, will host a forum in Chicago on Friday that will include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.