Meanwhile, no Republican Congressmen from Illinois earned a grade higher than a 'D' on the center's 2013 Poverty Scorecard, which looked at the voting record of every U.S. senator and representative on poverty-related issues during the last calendar year. The scores were tabulated based on 18 votes taken in the House and Senate on legislation covering a variety of subject areas including budget and tax, food and nutrition, health care, immigrants, cash assistance, domestic violence, education and the workforce, to name a few.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was in Illinois Friday at the request of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to tour the Broadview Immigration Detention Center and discuss federal deportation policies with immigration reform advocates.
U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) and Bill Foster (D-IL,11) joined Johnson and Durbin on the morning tour of the detention center, where they talked with individuals awaiting deportation.
"We spent time one minute talking to somebody who's about to be deported, and then literally two minutes later we walked out to the family visiting area and spoke with his mother who was trying to see him, catch a glimpse of him, just before he was deported," Johnson said regarding his visit to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Broadview. "Those are the kinds of vivid interactions that I think it's good for us in public service, who administer and enforce the law, to have on a routine basis. So that was one of the reasons that I'm sure Senator Durbin wanted me to come here to see Broadview, and I'm glad I did that."
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $43.7 million to be put towards staffing and equipment for the activation of Thomson Correctional Center, according to an announcement from Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) office.
Although gun-control legislation has stalled in Congress, "common-sense gun reform" remains one of U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly's top priorities, the Democratic congresswoman said at a Monday night event in East Hazel Crest to review her first year in the House.
While in Congress, Kelly introduced gun-control legislation meant to place stricter safety standards on guns and keep "violent, dangerous people" from being able to purchase firearms. But supporters of gun curbs simply cannot get gun-control legislation to the House floor for a vote, Kelly said.
"There is gun legislation dealing with background checks, and there is about 180 to 190 bipartisan signatures, Democrats and Republicans," the congresswoman said. "But we cannot get it called to the floor, so what I tell people when people come and see me about the gun issue [is], 'I'm your choir.' So we need to call other people across the United States and call Speaker [John] Boehner [to] at least [bring] the bill to committee and to the floor and let it be voted up or down."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) hopes a report issued Monday detailing the marketing tactics used by electronic cigarette companies will coerce the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take regulatory action on the products.
E-cigarettes are currently free from numerous sales, marketing and product regulations at the federal level that apply to traditional cigarettes.
Durbin and 11 other Democratic lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate launched a joint investigation into the marketing practices of nine companies that make commonly sold e-cigarette brands including MarkTen, Vuse, NJOY King, Eonsmoke, LOGIC, V2 Cigs, VaporCouture, Blu, Green Smoke and White Cloud. The investigation's findings were revealed Monday. The report shows a recent uptick in e-cigarette marketing, including tactics that Durbin says appeal to minors.
"E-cigarettes are a candy-flavored addiction, which is dangerous to our young people across America," the senator said on a press call Monday morning about the new report. "It is growing in popularity among children and sadly poses serious public health threats."
Elected officials, low-wage workers and others are ramping up the pressure on Republicans in Congress to support a federal minimum wage hike.
The national “Give America A Raise” bus tour, which backs President Barack Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, made its way to Illinois Monday. The effort piggybacks on Obama's call during his 2014 State of the Union address for Congress to "give America a raise." Obama has pressed Congress to take action after he announced an Executive Order to have federal contractors pay their employees $10.10 an hour.
“If you work 40 hours a week and you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty, and that’s what raising the minimum wage is all about,” said Quinn, who first called for bumping the state's current $8.25 minimum wage to at least $10 an hour during his 2013 State of the State address.