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Sen. Richard Durbin

Senate Minority Whip and Senator for Illinois

pronounced RI-cherd // DER-bun

Durbin is the senior senator from Illinois and is a Democrat. He has served since Jan 7, 1997. Durbin is next up for reelection in 2020.

He is also Senate Minority Whip, a party leadership role. Party leaders focus more on setting their party’s legislative priorties than on introducing legislation.

He was previously the representative for Illinois’s 20th congressional district as a Democrat from 1983 to 1996.

Photo of Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL]


Legislative Metrics

Read our 2018 Report Card for Durbin.

Ideology–Leadership Chart

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 from Jan 6, 2015 to Apr 11, 2019. See full analysis methodology.

Ratings from Advocacy Organizations

Committee Membership

Richard Durbin sits on the following committees:

Enacted Legislation

Durbin was the primary sponsor of 34 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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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 at least about half 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).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Durbin sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:

Health (21%) Education (21%) Crime and Law Enforcement (13%) Armed Forces and National Security (12%) International Affairs (11%) Taxation (8%) Government Operations and Politics (8%) Finance and Financial Sector (7%)

Recent Bills

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.

Voting Record

Key Votes

Durbin’s Vote Vote Description
Yea H.J.Res. 31: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019
Feb 14, 2019. Conference Report Agreed to 83/16.
This bill, in its final form, funded the parts of the federal government whose funding was to lapse on February 15, 2019. On December 22, 2018 the 115th Congress was unable to reach a deal to fund some federal agencies through fiscal year 2019 after ...
Yea On the Nomination PN1525: Dominic W. Lanza, of Arizona, to be United States District Judge for the District of Arizona
Sep 6, 2018. Nomination Confirmed 60/35.
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 H.R. 1892: Further Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018; Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018, the SUSTAIN Care Act of 2018; Family First Prevention Services Act.; Honoring Hometown ...
Feb 9, 2018. Motion Agreed to 71/28.
This bill became the vehicle for passage of funding for the federal government through March 23, 2018, to avert a government shutdown that would have occurred on February 9, 2018 had this bill not been enacted. The bill was introduced as the Honoring Hometown Heroes ...
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.
Nay H.J.Res. 43: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating ...
Mar 30, 2017. Joint Resolution Passed 51/50.
Joe Biden never got the opportunity to break a single 50-50 Senate tie in eight years as vice president. Mike Pence has already broken two. One from last month has since become law: a measure allowing states to withhold federal Planned Parenthood funding. (The other ...
Yea H.R. 5325: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017
Sep 28, 2016. Bill Passed 72/26.
The Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act (H.R. 5325) is an appropriations bill which extended funding at the previous year's levels up to December 9, 2016 (10 weeks). After this, a continuing ...
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.

Missed Votes

From Jan 1997 to Apr 2019, Durbin missed 81 of 6,911 roll call votes, which is 1.2%. 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...

Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: