Kirk Votes Against Jobs Bill He Praised - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Kirk Votes Against Jobs Bill He Praised



    What a difference a day makes.

    Just one day after he said he was "inclined" to support the measure, Rep. Mark Kirk on Tuesday voted against legislation that would help states pay for teachers and health care.

    The $26 billion legislation was approved largely along party lines, and President Barack Obama signed it immediately.

    Speaking Monday at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Republican nominee for Illinois governor said he would support the bill designed to prevent teachers from being laid off.

    "I'm inclined to vote for that legislation," he said.  "As a Republican moderate, my view is we shouldn't add to the deficit. This legislation does make a number of cuts ... that make it deficit-neutral. And it would keep teachers in the classroom. I will read further details, but I expect to be supporting this."

    To his credit, he did clarify that he would "remain someone who will look at each piece of legislation on its own terms."

    Still, Democrats pounced.

      "After today's vote it is clear that Congressman Kirk didn't just lie about being a teacher, he lied about supporting them," Illinois Treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor Alexi Giannoulias said in a written statement. "I am stunned that he would vote against an emergency bill to keep teachers in the classroom -- a bill that is completely paid for and will save at least 5,700 teaching jobs right here in Illinois. Congressman Kirk's vote today proves he is a typical Washington politician who will always side with the corporate special interests and against Illinois families and Illinois teachers."

    Kirk later defended his vote:

      "Illinois is suffering the consequences of our state's failed leadership. These failures put the federal government in a difficult situation. When I returned to Washington for this special session, I read Leader Reid's bill and found it spent more, taxed more and borrowed more than any of the past bills I supported. I did not support the Reid bill because it added $16 billion in new Medicaid spending and levied another $9 billion in new, permanent tax increases.

      "According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill adds over $12 billion to our deficit. As a fiscal conservative, I could not support this bill and will work to cut spending, taxing and borrowing in this and future Congresses."

    The legislation was approved by a vote of 247-161.  One Republican voted in favor.  Three Democrats voted against it.