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 2026 and serves until Jan 3, 2027.
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.
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 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 3, 2017 to Jan 6, 2021. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
Durbin was the primary sponsor of 35 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:
- S. 3478: Commission on America’s Medical Security Act
- S. 2830 (115th): SIREN Act of 2018
- 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. ...
Does 35 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.
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).
Durbin sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Health (23%) Education (19%) Crime and Law Enforcement (16%) International Affairs (11%) Armed Forces and National Security (9%) Taxation (8%) Government Operations and Politics (8%) Labor and Employment (6%)
Some of Durbin’s most recently sponsored bills include...
- S. 4757 (116th): Puppy Protection Act of 2020
- S. 4713: Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Tax Relief Act
- S. 4714: Worker Health Coverage Protection Act
- S. 4549: Smarter Pretrial Detention for Drug Charges Act of 2020
- S. 4538: RENEW Conservation Corps Act
- S. 4484: America’s Clean Future Fund Act
- S. 4450: Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act
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.
From Jan 1997 to Jan 2021, Durbin missed 90 of 7,555 roll call votes, which is 1.2%. This is on par with the median of 1.6% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
- unitedstates/congress-legislators, a community project gathering congressional information
- The House and Senate websites, for committee membership and voting records
- United States Congressional Roll Call Voting Records, 1789-1990 by Howard L. Rosenthal and Keith T. Poole.
- Martis’s “The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress”, via Keith Poole’s roll call votes data set, for political party affiliation for Members of Congress from 1789 through about year 2000
- GPO Member Guide for the photo
- GovInfo.gov, for sponsored bills