WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Durbin Says New Bills Reflect Budget Realities

Feb 27, 2012

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said a new farm bill will have to cost less and return to its primary goal of helping farmers during tough times.
He calls the current payment system ”lopsided.”
Durbin said, “The direct payment system is paying many farmers a lot of federal money at a time when prices were very, very high. We're going to have to change that and farmers know it.”

He is confident the new bill will save money and still protect farmers.

The current farm bill expires at the end of this year.

The Democrat also called it “good news” that Republican House Speaker John Boehner abandoned the House's version of a transportation bill.

Durbin “It would have been devastating to Illinois. We would have lost 10% to 15% of our federal funds. Dramatic cuts to Amtrak. Dramatic cuts to mass transit for the bus systems downstate.”

He said the bill would have cost  mass transit its 20 percent share of the fuel tax. He said that would have hurt Amtrak and municipal bus services in the state.

Durbin said Boehner should take a look at the senate's transportation bill. It would extend the last transportation bill for another two years. He said it has bi-partisan support.

He also said the U.S. Supreme Court should follow the lead of several states and allow cameras in the courtroom He said the court's upcoming decision on the constitutionality of requiring Americans to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act illustrates the need.

He said, “I think the American people have a right to see the Supreme Court-highest level-in deliberation, asking questions that really get to the heart of the most important constitutional issues of our time.”
Durbin and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa are co-sponsors of a bill to put cameras in the Supreme Court. That bill has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. Durbin doesn't think it will pass in time for the deliberations over the health care law.