© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Durbin Optimistic On Budget Deal, Says More Work To Do On Immigration Reform

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the current federal budget battle could present an opportunity for a “grand bargain” between Republicans and Democrats, asserting that  it's time to reform Medicare and other entitlements.

As a guest on Fox News Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate also managed to get in a political jab at Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).   

“The Paul Ryan voucher approach is destructive of Medicare, it won’t survive,” Durbin said.   “Millions of Americans would lose their benefits. But there are ways to approach it, to reduce the costs of medical care and still keep our promise to seniors across America.”

In the near term, Congress must pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government past March 27.

The House has approved its plan, and Durbin indicated the Senate could follow suit this week, but he urged his colleagues to stop weighing down the Senate version with amendments.  While he didn't go into specifics as to what spending the Senate plan would authorize, he thought it would be found acceptable by the House.    

Immigration Reform

Durbin said lawmakers continue to make headway on immigration reform.

Durbin is part of a bipartisan group of eight Senators developing a national immigration plan and said a number of hurdles remain.

“There are several problems,” Durbin said.  “We’re dealing with border enforcement, which is very important on the Republicans’ side of the table. We're dealing with the question of the 11 million people paying their taxes having a path to legalization, then ultimately to citizenship, tough issues, but we're coming together and I think we can do it, I have a positive feeling”

Durbin declined to give a timeline as to when the group would produce its final plan. 

Tim Lloyd was a founding host of We Live Here from 2015 to 2018 and was the Senior Producer of On Demand and Content Partnerships until Spring of 2020.