Senator Durbin visits Marion prison, talks government shutdown - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Senator Durbin visits Marion prison, talks government shutdown

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MARION, Ill. -- Illinois' senior senator says there's a glimmer of hope for the government shutdown to end.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D) Illinois, visited guards at the Marion federal prison Tuesday who aren't getting paid as the shutdown continues.

"There's no excuse for this. Why are these men and women being held responsible because politicians can't agree on any issue, whatever it happens to be," Durbin said.

Prison officials said the guards couldn't appear on camera for security reasons but they told the senator about issues they've been having paying the bills and keeping food on the table.

"I hope you caught the mood of the room. They're pretty unhappy," Durbin said. "What they're going through are some real hardships."

Some have been able to weather the shutdown while others are struggling to get by.

But Durbin says an end to the shutdown is on the horizon.

"I have a glimmer of hope. With the president's announcement this past weekend, that he would consider this approach of compromise, we have a chance," Durbin said.

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump offered protection for immigrants in the country through the DACA program, as well as money for more patrols at the border and more technology to detect drugs coming through it.

"I think we're moving in the right direction. There are many, many things we can agree on," Durbin said. "When I said to the president, the technology to scan cars and trucks, stop narcotics from coming into the country, he said, 'Let's do it!" And I thought, 'Well that was easy,' that he would jump right at it, but it came from his administration."

Durbin said the proposal won't pass when senators meet again Thursday, but at least it's a jumping-off point for negotiations.

"I know how this thing has been positioned," Durbin said. "The initial offer was one that would appeal to Republicans. To get them in the fold, and not so much on the Democratic side. To get it done, ultimately, we need both, and that means coming to a compromise on the issues."

Durbin said Democrats won't agree to $5.7 billion for a wall at the border but he's willing to move up from the $1.3 billion Congress initially agreed to.

He wouldn't say how much he's willing to budge but he said when lawmakers meet again later this week, they shouldn't leave Washington until they've reached a deal.

Interview with Sen. Dick Durbin

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