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Kirk, Schakowsky Differ on Shutdown Plans

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A federal government shutdown continues to loom, but Sen. Mark Kirk feels confident a shutdown won't happen. 

    Kirk is so confident about it that he told WBEZ on Friday he hasn't even devised a plan to cut his Senate office's budget and says he likely won't cut his staff.  He did cut his budget by 15 percent upon being sworn in, WBEZ noted.

    He expects Congress to reach an agreement before the end of the day but thinks Democrats first need to give up some ground in the cuts.

    Give up ground? Well now that he mentions it, some Democrats did decide to give something up in honor of the snarling budget talks.

    Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky is next in a line of Democrats and community leaders to protest GOP budget cuts by cutting food out of their diets. Schakowsky said in a statement Friday her "fast" represents Americans who would be hit hardest by the cuts.

    "I am joining my colleagues ... in a solidarity fast to protest the draconian, reckless and mean-spirited cuts proposed in the Republican Budget for fiscal year 2012," she said in a statement.

    To clarify, though, she's only fasting for a day.

    Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) fasted Thursday, then "passed the fast" to Schakowsky, who fasts Friday. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN) is next up for Saturday.

    Kirk isn't on the list to miss meals, but he tweeted on Thursday he'd give up his paycheck if the shutdown actually happens.

    "Congress should find bipart solution to cut spending and keep gov open. Will donate salary to Pulm Fibrosis Foundation if we can't," he tweeted.