Dick Durbin Pays Tribute to Kimmel for 'Time 100' Series: 'Thanks, Jimmy'

Jimmy Kimmel Live / Getty
Jimmy Kimmel Live / Getty
April 19, 2018

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) wrote a tribute to late-night host Jimmy Kimmel as part of TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2018 series, honoring his push against the Republican Obamacare repeal effort.

After he told the story last year of his infant son Billy and his congenital heart condition, Kimmel devoted several monologues to attacking the Republican health care law that would repeal and replace Obamacare, which he said didn't meet the standards of covering those with pre-existing conditions.

Kimmel received help from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who sent him talking points for his monologues.

"Jimmy Kimmel is a funny man, and he makes a living telling jokes about people like me," Durbin wrote. "Washington never fails to give him plenty of material. But my favorite Jimmy moment was a serious monologue with only a few laughs."

"Jimmy looked into the camera and told all of us in Washington to get real about health insurance and make sure every baby Billy had a fighting chance. Night after night he sparred with the politicians who tried to take health insurance from millions of Americans. In the end we stopped them with one vote in the Senate and one great comedian on late-night TV. Thanks, Jimmy."

Kimmel–not known for his politics before the Trump adminisration—has jumped into the fray several times since President Donald Trump took office.

He made debunked claims about the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in December, and he also pleaded for new gun control laws after the Las Vegas massacre, leading one CNN commentator to declare him the nation's "conscience."

He tweeted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) didn't have a "soul," and he said he wouldn't want to have a conversation with Republicans who oppose his political views.

Despite being one of the most influential people in the world, Kimmel's Oscar hosting gig in 2018 was a flop: It was the lowest-rated ceremony of all time.