February 04, 2019

In New Report, Duckworth Highlights Her Work for People of Illinois During Her First Congress as Senator


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released her “115th Congress in Review” report highlighting her work and accomplishments for the people of Illinois since arriving in the Senate two years ago. The new report outlines Duckworth’s efforts to help people get ahead, fight for our troops and Veterans, support job creation throughout Illinois, protect civil rights and hold Washington accountable.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished for the hardworking people of Illinois during my first two years in the Senate, and we have a long list of priorities that we will continue to advance,” Duckworth said. “I’m eager to keep working with members on both sides of the aisle to support the growth of good-paying jobs, invest in communities that have been ignored for too long, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, support our servicemembers and make sure we keep the promises we’ve made to our Veterans.”

In the 115th Congress, three of Duckworth’s bills were signed into law, two more passed out of their committees, two received hearings, and 10 Duckworth-authored amendments were included in larger legislative packages that became law, in addition to nearly a dozen Duckworth priorities. According to Govtrack, Duckworth also introduced more bills and resolutions (55) than any other freshman Senator and she got her bills out of committee the most often compared to any other freshman Senator in the 115th Congress despite being ranked 96th in seniority out of 100 Senators.

Highlights of Duckworth’s accomplishments in the 115th Congress follow, and a full report can be found here.

Duckworth delivered for hardworking Illinois families: The first Senate bill Duckworth introduced became law just four months into her term as Senator, marking the fastest time any current Senator has passed a bill after being sworn in. The bipartisan law supports Illinois jobs and prevents infrastructure projects from becoming ensnared in needless bureaucratic delays by rolling back a misguided U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rule that had enabled the governors of neighboring states to delay or block infrastructure improvements in Illinois. Repealing this rule was the top priority in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s 2017 Federal Agenda. A DOT analysis estimated the law will save taxpayers $86.3 million annually. A DOT analysis estimated the law will save taxpayers $86.3 million annually.

Duckworth helped bring the Senate into the 21st century: After Duckworth became the first Senator to give birth while serving in office, she pressed the Senate Rules Committee to allow infant children onto the Senate floor to make the institution friendlier to parents of newborn children. Senators who are new parents can now execute their constitutional responsibility of voting on issues of national importance. The Senate unanimously agreed to allow all Senators to bring their infant children under the age of 1 onto the Senate floor, if necessary, during votes, sending a message to the rest of the nation that all workplaces should support working families.

Duckworth’s bipartisan Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act became law: Duckworth’s legislation to help Veteran entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by the President. Duckworth’s new law will allow Veteran small business owners to acquire equipment and personal property that the federal government no longer has a use for by adding Veterans to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus property, which already includes women and minority small business owners as well as Veterans Service Organizations.

Senator Duckworth’s bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act became law: Duckworth’s bipartisan bill, which passed Congress as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, will make traveling easier for nursing mothers by requiring all large- and medium-sized airports to provide clean, accessible, private rooms in every terminal for the first time. Additionally, airports will be required to provide baby changing tables in men’s and women’s bathrooms. Duckworth’s bipartisan FAM Act also makes grants available to airports to help them make these critical renovations.

Duckworth’s National Defense Authorization Act proposals to support troops and Veterans were overwhelmingly approved: The Senate overwhelmingly passed several proposals authored by Duckworth to help prevent low-income servicemembers from going hungry, make it easier for small businesses to get Department of Defense (DOD) contracts, make federal government contracting more efficient and help ensure the long-term success of the Rock Island Arsenal. Her provisions passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation also includes a provision Duckworth led in the Senate to help small businesses apply for federal, state and local government contracts.

Senator Duckworth helped protect Illinoisans from exposure to public health risks caused by the Trump Administration: In addition to helping ensure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not close its Region 5 office—which employs nearly 1,000 workers and is headquartered in Chicago—Duckworth led successful efforts to defeat Trump’s nominees to head key environmental and public health posts including the nominees to head EPA’s Chemical Safety Division and to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. These nominees spent decades representing the industries they would have regulated if they had been confirmed, raising significant conflict-of-interest issues, and each had a history of helping corporations continue the long-standing practice of burdening low-income communities and communities of color with pollution. Duckworth also introduced a suite of bills to strengthen protections against public health risks like lead in drinking water and carcinogens like ethylene oxide. Congress also passed key Duckworth provisions in major bills including the Water and Resources Development Act of 2018 and the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2019.  

Senator Duckworth defended the civil rights of people with disabilities: After the House of Representatives passed a bill that would have gutted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Duckworth built a coalition of Senators to successfully block the bill from becoming law. She also passed legislation to finally require airlines to report the number of wheelchairs or motorized scooters they break or mishandle each month, ushering in a new era of transparency that will help ensure passengers with disabilities are able to make more informed decisions when traveling.

The Senator fought for Cairo and Thebes families left behind by the Trump Administration: Senator Duckworth visited Cairo, Illinois, twice to meet with residents of the Elmwood and McBride housing developments after decades of neglect and abuse led to their homes being condemned and slated for destruction with no workable relocation plan in place. She also helped bring U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to Cairo so he could meet with community members face to face, and she pressed Donald Trump to create a Cairo-focused task force and introduced the Creating American Investment, Redevelopment, and Opportunity (CAIRO) Task Force Act to form a Cabinet-level task force to address the housing, health and economic crises in Cairo. She also called for those who created the crisis to face justice and worked to grow the local economy so that the Cairo community can remain strong for generations. Duckworth also demanded that HUD explain its decision to shutter two additional Alexander County Housing Authority facilities in Thebes, which it had moved displaced Cairo residents into just months earlier.

Duckworth’s full “115th Congress in Review” report can be found here.