Durbin Report: Helping Illinois Rebuild after Severe Storms and Flooding

Senator Durbin's eNewsletter
2013-05-25 03:20:12
Fellow Illinoisans, Welcome to the “Durbin Report” and thanks for subscribing. During the last recess, I spent most of the week traveling around Illinois meeting with constituents. Everywhere I went, I heard one word over and over again... jobs. While I was in Peoria, I visited A. Lucas and Sons Steel. It is a 155 year old small business based in the United States, a major supplier to original equipment manufacturers throughout the country and insists on only using U.S.-manufactured steel. Like everyone else, A. Lucas and Sons was struggling through the last recession, leveraging their relationship with the community and industry to keep employees and maintain demand for the products. Then, in 2010, they secured a Recovery Act grant to manufacture parts for wind and renewable energy infrastructure. With the grant they were able to transition from the oldest operating steel fabricator to a leading green manufacturer prepared to compete in the future. The company now produces products 3 times faster than they did before, making production more efficient and driving additional business and demand. And in the next twelve months, they plan to grow their workforce by nearly 50%. I don’t tell this story to claim that government has all the answers on job creation, but rather to show that during periods of economic uncertainty, we can help small businesses like A. Lucas and Sons better leverage resources and strengthen their outlook. With the current jobs and economic recovery stagnating, the stakes are too high to do nothing—which is why the President has proposed a comprehensive plan to create jobs and put more money back in the pockets of middle-class working Americans. Watch me discuss the American Jobs Act here: bit.ly/oqcYnm American Jobs Act While I was on the road in Illinois, I met with teachers and administrators at Golf Middle School in Morton Grove, Von Stueben Middle School in Peoria and Brown County Middle School in Mt. Sterling. We talked about how the American Jobs Act could help them modernize their schools, keep class sizes manageable and help ensure that students growing up in this difficult economy do not see their education suffer. The legislation would provide $25 billion to modernize 35,000 public schools nationwide. In Illinois, the proposal would invest $1.1 billion in school modernization, supporting as many as 14,500 jobs, and providing schools with critical facility and technological upgrades. In addition, the legislation would invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, including 14,500 in Illinois. The President’s plan also includes a number of other proposals that will help spur job creation and improve our economy. His plan will help keep firefighters and police officers on the street. The American Jobs Act will also put more money in American pockets by extending and expanding the payroll tax cut for employees, giving typical Illinois households a $1,640 tax cut. It will help spur job creation by providing tax incentives for small businesses that hire workers or increase wages. The legislation provides even larger incentives for businesses that hire out-of-work veterans—out nation’s heroes were there when we needed them, and we should stand by them when they need our support. The American Jobs Act will help get this country back to work and get the gears of our economy moving in the right direction. I hope it passes when the Senate votes on it this evening. Senator Durbin in Your Hometown Over the last recess, I also talked to Illinoisans in Canton, Rock Island, Quincy and several other communities about saving critical Amtrak funding for our state, encouraging new small businesses to expand and create jobs throughout the state, and several other issues. Watch the video at the link below to find out more about my visits. bit.ly/oxkDCg Durbin says Amtrak 'the present and the future'; vows to oppose calls to reduce funding Quincy Herald Whig Doug Wilson September 30, 2011 …“Amtrak is the present and the future,” Durbin said during a roundtable discussion at Quincy University. Durbin said Amtrak is poised to set a national record with 30 million passengers this year. The trains along the Quincy-to-Chicago corridor are expected to exceed 234,000 passengers, with about 50,000 boarding or arriving in Quincy... Read more at 1.usa.gov/pitKJG Durbin: Lower debit card swipe fees good for consumers The Dispatch-Argus Brandy Donaldson September 30, 2011 …Every business in America that accepts plastic pays what's known as an interchange fee or "swipe fee" on each individual debit card transaction. The average swipe fee per transaction in the U.S. is 44 cents. "Imagine if you come into Country Market here and buy coffee and a donut for 99 cents and use a debit card, that means that (store manager) Karl is going to pay somewhere in the range of 44 cents to the credit card company. There goes his profit," Rep. Durbin said. Swipe fee reform was authored by Sen. Durbin as an amendment to the Wall Street Reform Act. It set the ceiling on swipe fees at 24 cents, almost half the current national average… Read more at 1.usa.gov/qOgyzP Stay Informed Stay informed on what I am doing for Illinois and what is happening in Congress by visiting my website at durbin.senate.gov/. If you have a question, a comment, or are in need of assistance, please contact my office at one of the phone numbers below or send me an email at 1.usa.gov/po1U4x Office phone numbers: Washington, DC: (202) 224-2152 Chicago: (312) 353-4952 Springfield: (217) 492-4062 Carbondale: (618) 351-1122 Rock Island: (309) 786-5173 You can also follow me at: facebook.com/SenatorDurbin twitter.com/SenatorDurbin flickr.com/SenatorDurbin youtube.com/SenatorDurbin Sincerely, Dick Durbin If you did not sign up to receive this email or no longer wish to receive future updates, you can unsubscribe here: durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/enewsletter-unsubscribe Sent from the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

At the end of April, heavy rain across the Midwest resulted in major flooding in communities throughout Illinois. The Rock, Fox, DuPage, Illinois, and Mississippi Rivers overtopped their banks, damaging hundreds – if not thousands – of Illinois homes and businesses.

Speaking on the Senate Floor regarding making federal resources available for flood control efforts in Illinois.

Two weeks ago, I visited Marseilles to take a firsthand look at the recovery efforts. I was joined by Mayor Patti Smith and Colonel Mark Deschenes, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District, to see the site where the Army Corps is working to repair the damaged Marseilles Dam, which was struck by several barges that broke free of a tugboat during the flooding.

Visiting Marseilles to take a firsthand look at the recovery efforts following the flooding in April.

Governor Quinn, the Illinois National Guard, the Army Corps, and emergency officials at every level did a great job in responding to the flooding and keep our communities safe.

Making Critical Investments to Upgrade Our Aging Water Infrastructure

We’ve certainly seen our fair share of extreme weather in the Midwest and along the Mississippi River lately. Despite last month’s flooding, it was only five months ago that the drought that sapped the Midwest caused record low water levels on the Mississippi.

Convening a meeting between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and industry and local stakeholders to discuss the Corps' response to the Mississippi River's low water level.

I traveled to see it. I stood on an observation boat in the Mississippi River with a Corps Commander who told me, “Imagine water ten feet over your head right now, that’s where the water levels should be.”

Touring sites on the Mississippi to get a firsthand look at the ongoing work to remove rocks obstructing barge navigation as the river neared a historic low-water mark in Thebes.

The water was so low it threatened to stop navigation on America’s great commercial artery—the Mississippi River. Thankfully, due to some unexpected rain and good work by the Corp of Engineers, we made it through, but we can’t just sit back and hope that it never happens again.

Instead, I worked with Senator Mark Kirk and Representatives Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis and Bill Enyart to introduce two bipartisan bills that would help the Army Corps of Engineers and the private sector better respond to low water situations and flooding, like those we experienced earlier this year along the Mississippi River.

Both of those bills were included in the Senate’s Water Resources Development Act – also known as WRDA – which passed last Wednesday with a bipartisan vote of 83-14. You can read more about the legislation and what it does for some important Illinois priorities here:

Disaster Recovery Assistance Information

As of Wednesday, May 22, President Obama has declared twenty-five Illinois counties – Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry, Will, Bureau, Crawford, Henderson, Knox, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, Peoria, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford – federal disaster areas in response to the flooding on April 18. All twenty-five counties are designated eligible for Individual Assistance funding which provides assistance to individuals and businesses to help with temporary housing, home repairs or replacement and other disaster-related expenses.

Illinois residents and businesses can register for this assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or www.fema.gov or by calling between 7 AM – 10 PM ET:

1-800-621-3362 (phone)

1-800-462-7585 (TTY)

1-800-621-3362 (video relay)

Stay Informed

Stay informed on what I am doing for Illinois and what is happening in Congress by visiting my website.  If you have a question, a comment, or are in need of assistance, please contact my office at one of the phone numbers below or send"me an email.

Office phone numbers:

Washington, DC: (202) 224-2152
Chicago: (312) 353-4952
Springfield: (217) 492-4062
Carbondale: (618) 351-1122
Rock Island: (309) 786-5173

You can also follow me on these services:

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Sent from the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin