Where Kirk Stands on the Debt Ceiling Debate - NBC Chicago
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Where Kirk Stands on the Debt Ceiling Debate



    Where Kirk Stands on the Debt Ceiling Debate

    We always knew Sen. Mark Kirk wasn’t a Tea Partier. It turns out he’s not even much of a partisan.

    As the White House and Congress carry on like intransigent ninnies over raising the debt ceiling, Kirk is looking like one of the most reasonable voices in Washington.

    Back in April, Kirk told CBS’s Face the Nation that he had reservations about raising the debt ceiling.  
    “I will vote ‘no’ on raising the debt ceiling unless we have comprehensive, dramatic, effective and broad-based cuts to federal spending including the reform of entitlement spending,” Kirk said, adding that raising the debt limit without substantial cuts “would risk repeating the mistakes of the governments of Greece, Portugal and Ireland – all who said ‘yes’ to everyone and ‘no’ to their economic future.”

    Today, as the federal government faces an Aug. 2 default deadline, Kirk sounds ready to vote “yes.” 

    “Senator Kirk supports the bipartisan approach of the President's Debt Commission and the work of the Gang of 5 to prevent an American default,” Kirk spokesman Greg Lemon told the Springfield State Journal-Register. “He believes that the proposed plan for $4.5 trillion in deficit reduction is the best way to reassure markets and bring spending in line with tax revenues.” 

    The Gang of Five is a bipartisan group of senators – including Kirk’s seatmate, Dick Durbin – who have proposed cutting the budget over the next 10 years by eliminating tax breaks, entitlements, and discretionary spending.

    President Barack Obama has embraced the group’s plan, but it’s unpopular with conservatives who don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthy and liberals who fear it means cuts to Social Security and health care. This morning, Kirk’s Springfield office was picketed by retirees and senior-service providers chanting, “show some guts; stop the cuts.”