Durbin talks impeachment at Sugar Grove forum: It's not 'viable politically'

  • U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin interacts with an audience of about 100 at an open forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin interacts with an audience of about 100 at an open forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Marni Pyke | Staff Photographer

  • Cheryl Krauspe asks Sen. Dick Durbin about Russian spying during an open forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

    Cheryl Krauspe asks Sen. Dick Durbin about Russian spying during an open forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Marni Pyke | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin listens to a question during a forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin listens to a question during a forum at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. Marni Pyke | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/29/2018 7:27 AM

"Appalling" is just one of the adjectives U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin used to describe Republican Donald Trump's actions recently while the president has taken to Twitter to admonish the Illinois Democrat.

Yet there may be some daylight between the two on requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose in their television ads how much their drugs really cost, Durbin said Saturday at a Waubonsee Community College town hall in Sugar Grove.

 

Durbin on Thursday proposed amending legislation to that effect and found unexpected support from the White House which could give it traction, he told an audience of about 100. "Durbin and Trump?" the senator asked to laughter.

Such a move could be a wake-up call to consumers and encourage use of generics that could trigger lower brand prices for popular products like Humira, he said. "The average American sees nine (pharmaceutical) ads a day," Durbin said.

The forum was billed as a focus on health care but topical issues like Russian spying, the separation of migrant families, and abortion surfaced.

Elburn resident Cheryl Krauspe repeated a comment from her father, a World War II veteran, that "inviting (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to the White House was ... similar to inviting Japanese Emperor Hirohito to a state dinner after the attack on Pearl Harbor."

The invitation came after a July 16 summit between the two where Trump was widely criticized for brushing off the issue of Russians hacking into Democratic emails to skew the 2016 election. Trump later affirmed the espionage.

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Durbin characterized Putin as a murderous dictator and said "this is not the time to cozy up to someone who has launched a cyber attack on the United States. I believe it happened and I believe it's going to happen again."

Amy Duffield of Cary asked, "isn't the fact our president denies it even happened -- isn't that grounds for impeachment?"

"I don't believe it's a topic that is viable politically at this moment," Durbin said, adding 67 Senate votes are required for such a move. "I don't believe there's the stomach for it among the Republicans who control the House and Senate."

Susan Broxham of Elgin described how her son, a musician with an eye condition, was caught in Obamacare red tape. Although under 26, he was rejected for his parents' plan -- both are self-employed -- and directed to Medicaid but hasn't received any confirmation.

"He doesn't have health insurance. He's racking up bills ... he will be bankrupt," Broxham said. "He might get approval by the middle of October, maybe. We have to start reapplying again in November."

Durbin said "forcibly moving him to Medicaid I've not run into that before, I want to find out more about that."

He noted that a pending lawsuit by 22 state attorney generals would remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions under Obamacare. If successful, "a third of Americans with someone in their household with ... a pre-existing condition will find themselves in position if health insurance is available it will be much more expensive."

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