Democrat Tammy Duckworth said she was "ready to go" on Tuesday after being sworn in as the second female U.S. senator from Illinois.
"I got through the holidays, got through the transition (from House to Senate) shut down my House office, moved over, got my committee assignments and am really anxious to get to work for Illinois," Duckworth said after taking an oath of office administered by Vice President Joe Biden.
Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, served two terms in the House before winning the Senate seat by beating incumbent Republican Mark Kirk on Nov. 8. She was accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by Sen. Dick Durbin, who is No. 2 in the Senate Democratic leadership.
Duckworth, who lost her legs in combat during the Iraq War, held a cane and clutched Durbin's left arm as she approached Biden. Her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, and daughter, Abigail, 2, watched from the Senate gallery, where the girl sparkled in a pink tutu, white top and silver shoes.
Duckworth was one of seven new senators and 27 re-elected senators sworn in to office by Biden. She and Durbin will be in the minority as the Republican Party kept control of both houses of Congress and will soon also control the White House following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20.
Republicans maintained control of the Senate despite losing two seats in November. The Senate now has 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
The only other woman Illinois has sent to the Senate was Carol Moseley Braun, who served from 1993 to 1999.
Following the official swearing-in, Duckworth took part in a re-enactment ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber and then a private affair with friends and relatives, including her mother, Lamai Duckworth. The second oath was administered by Judge Jack Farley, a Vietnam War amputee who earlier was on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Duckworth and Farley met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2004 after Duckworth, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, was admitted with grave injuries, including two amputated legs and a badly injured arm. Farley administered the oath to Duckworth in 2009 when she became an assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images
"A dear friend and mentor over the years," she called him.
Swearing to support and defend the Constitution is something Duckworth has done many times, both in the military and as a member of the House. She said Tuesday's ceremonies had her reliving past chapters. "I mean my entire adult life, I've had the same opportunity to swear to protect and defend the Constitution and serve my nation," she said.
As a senator, Duckworth will serve on four committees, one of them the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. That panel will hold a confirmation hearing for Republican Todd Ricketts, the Chicago Cubs' co-owner who has been designated by Trump to be deputy commerce secretary.
Duckworth said she had met Ricketts socially and would judge his nomination on its merits.
She also will serve on the Environment and Public Works, Energy and Natural Resources, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.
She said if Trump plans new investments in infrastructure, the Environment and Public Works Committee will have input. The Energy Committee seat will let her work on renewable energy and nuclear power issues, she said.
Last fall, Duckworth had a two-day orientation to the Senate. Asked the best advice she's been given, she said it was to "ask other, more senior members for help from both sides of the aisle. It's very collegial. If you're not sure, there's no such thing as a dumb question."
Members of the House also took the oath as the 115th Congress opened. Illinois is represented by 11 Democrats and seven Republicans.
The delegation includes a new arrival, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, and returning member Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield. Both are Democrats.
Krishnamoorthi took Duckworth's old seat in the 8th Congressional District. Schneider, who was in the House from 2013 to 2015, represents the 10th Congressional District.
Krishnamoorthi, who was born in India and came to the U.S. as a child, is the first Indian-American to represent Illinois in the House. He said he was humbled and honored to take the oath, saying he came to fight for the middle class, "so now my journey begins."
Schneider's old rival, Republican Bob Dold of Kenilworth, was chosen speaker pro tempore for the final minutes of the now-ended 114th Congress. The two have run against each other three times.
Schneider said he's hearing there may be a fourth matchup since Republicans including Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House majority whip, are "trying to recruit" Dold to run in 2018. Two Dold campaign officials did not reply to a Tribune request for comment on that.
Read our 2017 Report Card for Durbin.
Durbin is shown as a purple triangle ▲ in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot is a member of the Senate positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).
The chart is based on the bills Durbin has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
Richard Durbin sits on the following committees:
- Senate Committee on Appropriations
- Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Department of Defense
- Member, Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
- Member, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Member, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
- Member, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Member, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary
- Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
Durbin was the primary sponsor of 34 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:
- S. 3345 (114th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1101 Davis Street in Evanston, Illinois, as the “Abner J. Mikva Post Office ...
- S. 2891 (114th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 525 North Broadway in Aurora, Illinois, as the “Kenneth M. Christy Post Office ...
- S. 2921 (113th): A bill to designate the community based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs located at 310 Home Boulevard in Galesburg, Illinois, as the “Lane A. ...
- S. 1503 (113th): School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act
- S. 796 (113th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 302 East Green Street in Champaign, Illinois, as the “James R. Burgess Jr. ...
- S. 1573 (112th): Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2012
- S. 510 (111th): FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
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We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if about one third or more of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).
Durbin sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Education (23%)Health (18%)Armed Forces and National Security (17%)International Affairs (13%)Government Operations and Politics (9%)Crime and Law Enforcement (7%)Finance and Financial Sector (6%)Taxation (6%)
Some of Durbin’s most recently sponsored bills include...
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As Senate Minority Whip, Durbin may be focused on his responsibilities other than introducing legislation, such as setting the chamber’s agenda, uniting his party, and brokering deals.
|Durbin’s Vote||Vote Description|
|Yea||On the Nomination PN1404: Elizabeth L. Branch, of Georgia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit|
Feb 27, 2018. Nomination Confirmed 73/23.
|Yea||On the Nomination PN248: Eric D. Hargan, of Illinois, to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services|
Oct 4, 2017. Nomination Confirmed 57/38.
|Yea||On the Nomination PN101: Heather Wilson, of South Dakota, to be Secretary of the Air Force|
May 8, 2017. Nomination Confirmed 76/22.
|Yea||H.R. 5325: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017|
Sep 28, 2016. Bill Passed 72/26.
|Yea||H.R. 22: Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act|
Dec 3, 2015. Conference Report Agreed to 83/16.
H.R 22, formerly the Hire More Heroes Act, has become the Senate’s vehicle for passage of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act or DRIVE Act (S. 1647). The DRIVE Act is a major bipartisan transportation bill that would authorize funding ...
|Yea||H.J.Res. 124 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015|
Sep 18, 2014. Joint Resolution Passed 78/22.
|Yea||On the Nomination PN1210: Edward G. Smith, of Pennsylvania, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania|
Mar 26, 2014. Nomination Confirmed 69/31.
|Nay||H.R. 4310 (112th): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013|
Dec 21, 2012. Conference Report Agreed to 81/14.
|Nay||H.R. 1540 (112th): National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012|
Dec 15, 2011. Conference Report Agreed to 86/13.
|Yea||H.R. 4853 (111th): Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010|
Dec 15, 2010. Motion Agreed to 81/19.
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–312, H.R. 4853, 124 Stat. 3296, enacted December 17, 2010), also known as the 2010 Tax Relief Act, was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010, and signed into ...
From Jan 1997 to Mar 2018, Durbin missed 75 of 6,609 roll call votes, which is 1.1%. This is on par with the median of 1.4% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
Show the numbers...
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
Richard Durbin is pronounced:
RI-cherd // DER-bun
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.