Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wants consumers to pay sales tax on their purchases, whether they shop in a local store, or online.
Consumers are already supposed to pay sales tax for online purchases. But very few do since there's no uniform collection method, and the onus to pay is placed on the consumer, not the retailer. In Illinois, for instance, those who file state tax returns are asked to list their online purchases and pay sales tax for them.
Durbin says the current rules are not fair to brick and mortar stores, who must collect sales tax from their customers. Durbin has sponsored a bill that would require Internet stores to do the same.
The Senate will soon begin debate on the Market Fairness Act. It could be voted on as early as this week.
Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt have both said they favor the move.
The Illinois Democrat spoke at a news conference in Chicago Friday to promote one bill that would crack down on so-called straw purchasing -- where someone buys guns and sells them to others not authorized to buy weapons. It was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Durbin appeared with the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager who was fatally shot days after performing at President Barack Obama's inauguration.
The bill approved Thursday by the judiciary committee has been named for Hadiya (hy-DEE'-uh) Pendleton. Durbin says it may have more bipartisan support than other separate proposals.
The assistant majority leader's office announced Monday that he was on the trip. Durbin's office said he will meet with U.S. military leaders about intelligence, training, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and humanitarian efforts. Durbin is planning to travel to Bahrain, Djibouti and Uganda. He is scheduled to return to Illinois next weekend.
Durbin is chairman of the Senate's Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His office says one of the topics he will focus on during the trip is the increased use of drones for intelligence gathering and anti-terrorism operations.