U.S. Senator Dick Durbin had surgery today to remove a rare form of cancer from his stomach at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Due to the nature of the cancer it cannot be classified as benign or malignant.
Famed clothier Hartmarx may be dead, but the 600 workers who
staffed the company's Des Plaines factory are still making some of the
best suits money can buy.
This week marks the one-year anniversary for HMX Group, the firm
that acquired Hartmarx after it declared bankruptcy last
spring. (Read the full backstory here.)
After marshaling support from powerful allies in politics and labor and
fighting off liquidation, Workers United members at the plant are happy
to have a degree of job security in these tough economic times. "[The
prospect of unemployment] is something I'll never wish on anybody,"
Local 39C President Ruby Sims told the Sun-Times' Mark Brown today. "You don't know what's going to happen. You just don't shake that off real easy."
Tomorrow morning, workers and their allies -- including U.S. Sen.
Dick Durbin -- will celebrate the anniversary outside of the plant. Be
sure to check back later in the week for more coverage of the event.
The U.S. Congress has passed fair sentencing legislation, for which Illinois' own Sen. Dick Durbin was a sponsor. The bill alters
a 1986 law by lowering the mandatory prison sentence for someone caught
with crack cocaine. This is the first time Congress has repealed a
mandatory minimum sentence in 40 years.
Although comprehensive immigration reform is shelved for the time
being, new reports today suggest there is still an outside chance that
Congress will take up the DREAM Act this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told TPM's Christina Bellantonitoday
that he might introduce the legislation -- which would provide 2.1
million immigrant youth with an avenue toward citizenship if they
enroll in college or the military -- as a standalone bill this fall if
there aren't enough votes for a broader package to defeat a Republican
filibuster. Aides to Illinois' own Sen. Dick Durbin, who wrote the
bill, told The Atlantic they are open to that idea. Still, Democrats remain divided on that political strategy.
"[I]f I never do another thing in the rest of my Senatorial career," Durbin said in March, "I'm going to pass that DREAM Act." It was a bold statement from the state's senior senator, considering the fractious politics of immigration reform. Let's hope he finds a way to follow through on his promise.
the Senate Republican caucus -- along with Democrat Ben Nelson (NE) -- stood firm today in their opposition
to a jobs bill that would have extended the filing deadline on
emergency unemployment benefits through November, voting 41-57 to block cloture on the legislation (H.R. 4213). Immediately following the roll call, Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) submitted a motion to extend the filing
deadline one additional month using a small portion of the funding
identified in the bill.
That's when Illinois' own Sen. Dick Durbin
unloaded on the minority party, suggesting that political posturing, rather than concern about the deficit, is driving their obstruction. "The record is clear: It is a party of no that is hoping that the voters will vote yes in November," he said. "I hope they remember that the Republicans had no alternative [proposal] when it came to this disastrous economic situation." Watch it:
While a standalone bill extending the benefit deadline might surface next, the entire effort has been derailed for the time being. As of tomorrow, the National Employment Law Project projects that 1.2 million Americans will have lost their unemployment aid as a result.