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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois speaks to supporters after beating Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias for the Senate seat formally held by U.S. President Barack Obama, at an election night rally in Wheeling, Illinois November 2, 2
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Among the many Senate Republicans voting against even debating an emergency unemployment aid extension, one sticks out: Illinois Republican Mark Kirk. Kirk stood with the majority of his party in denying aid to people who've been jobless for six months or more despite the high rate of such long-term unemployment and despite the dearth of jobs in this economy and despite the fact that unemployment aid acts as economic stimulus. But that's true of every Republican who voted against the bill. What makes Kirk special?

Well, first, his state of Illinois has an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, the fourth worst in the nation. Second, Illinois is a fairly blue state. With polling in several Republican-held House districts around the country showing an unemployment insurance extension to be popular among Democrats, independents, and even in some cases Republicans, Kirk wouldn't have to be some kind of profile in courage to vote for the bill. Third, Kirk has on occasion been willing to take a bipartisan vote; for instance, he was one of seven Republicans voting yes on a procedural vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

But maybe Kirk is just sincerely and personally opposed to a safety net for those struggling financially—a standard, callous Republican. Except that when Kirk returned to the Senate after recovering from a stroke, he said he would be focusing on Medicaid, having realized that his recovery wouldn't have been possible on the number of rehabilitation sessions covered by Medicaid. Apparently that lesson in compassion was either very specific to Medicaid or very short-lived.

So—because 80,000 of his constituents have already lost benefits and 36,000 more will do so in the next few months, because there just aren't jobs in his state for all those people, because it wouldn't require a lot of political courage, and because he has in the recent past claimed to have learned about compassion and the importance of the safety net—Mark Kirk's vote against unemployment aid was especially bad. Even in the context of congressional Republicans.

Sign and send a petition your Republican senator or senators, demanding that they restore benefits to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for that Janet Yellen vote, but you're (8+ / 0-)

    still a GOP weasel

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:56:52 PM PST

  •  He's a north shore Republican (8+ / 0-)

    few of his "constituents" are unemployed nor understand what being unemployed means.

  •  He has no shame nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 02:16:12 PM PST

  •  What? He's still a fucking Republicon. (6+ / 0-)

    He's still working to starve and murder as much of the poor population in the U.S. and here in IL as possible. To hell with him and his entire fucking party, who are making our lives incredibly hard. And to hell with those even on here who try to defend rat bastards like him because some Republican voters are "nice." No, they aren't. They are working to murder people like my husband, who is both long-term unemployed and a type 2 diabetic.

  •  If we can nominate a Democrat... (10+ / 0-)

    ...who is competent and doesn't have some sort of baggage, the Mark Kirk error in Illinois will be over.

    There are three natural adversaries of the progressive movement: Republicans, the Democratic establishment, and the mainstream media

    by DownstateDemocrat on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 02:47:35 PM PST

  •  Lisa Madigan (6+ / 0-)

    That's why she didn't run for Governor this time, she wants to pick the low hanging fruit (no pun intended).

    We had the worst nominee the last time with Alexi G.

    Kirk is DONE. He's Peter Fitzgerald, a fluke and will be turfed out next time.

  •  Surprising and sad. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago, JeffW

    I thought Kirk would be one of the Repubs. to support it ... add disappointing to the list.

    •  And why.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TKO333, jedennis

      did you think he would support it? He is a typical asshole Republican; only out for himself.  He was interviewed by the Chicago Trib and said that he "thanked God that he had the world's best healthcare when he had his stroke" yet he turned right around and voted against the ACA and health care for anyone else. To hell with him.

      •  Healthcare For Them, Not For The Little People (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, librarisingnsf, valkyrry

        Only those that can afford healthcare should have it according to these GOP like the hideous Kirk. Sure wish the people in this country would wake up to destruction these plutocrats are wanting to cause.

        Denial of long term unemployment benefits will cost more jobs-240,000 jobs and that many more people won't have insurance.  

  •  I realize my comment will be... (0+ / 0-)

    not liked by the LGBT community.

    My apologies. Mr. Kirk's sexual preference in not an issue.

  •  They should change it to the (Oxy)moron Party (0+ / 0-)

    Compassionate Conservative, my left foot.

    Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:22:59 PM PST

  •  Are there no prisons, no workhouses and of course (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we need to pay for this unemployment extension..Yet, these same folks dont even blink an eye when it comes to spending Billions and Billions more raining bombs down on and killing untold numbers of innocent Iraq citizens...

    "Round up the usual suspects"

    by NanaoKnows on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:23:24 PM PST

  •  This is the problem with the filibuster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In theory, a mechanism to require super-majorities on some issues is a good thing.  I like the idea of 40 senators being able to say, this idea is so far-fetched and beyond the pale of good reason, that we're not even going to debate it.  But even someone that has an honest disagreement about the efficacy of long term unemployment benefits can say with a straight face that this meets that standard.  The cloture vote has become a straight policy vote-I don't like this bill so I won't vote for us to debate it.  That's a joke.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:26:06 PM PST

  •  Every worker pays FICA! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What is FICA?  That's the unemployment insurance that we are talking about.  I have been paying FICA close to 50 years. If I filed a claim, I think that I should be expect more than 26 or 52 weeks coverage!

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:27:51 PM PST

    •  Ray, your heart's in the right place, but FICA is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, librarisingnsf, valkyrry

      two programs: Medicare and Social Security.  Basically intended for people in their 60s, FICA does cover people younger in certain circumstances such as disabled and some dependents.  FICA is deducted from an employee's paycheck and then the employer matches that deduction.  (Self-employed persons pay both halves.)

      Unemployment insurance is paid entirely by the employer and is a separate program, administered jointly by each individual state and the Federal government.

      •  Yep, you and George Burns are right! (0+ / 0-)

        FICA has nothing to do with unemployment insurance. Sorry about that!

        My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

        by NM Ray on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:35:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  He probably won't even run again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TKO333, JeffW

    He got lucky in 2010, but next time he'll be running in a Presidential election year in a blue state against Lisa Madigan or someone of similar stature. He's screwed no matter what and his stroke gives him a good excuse to bow out.

    Unfortunately, that means he doesn't care about reelection and can make more dick moves like this.

    •  He must think the election is too far away, ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... and fears a Tea Party primary opponent. Perhaps with some validity, for "Downstate Illinois" is very GOP and a Republican fundamental/absolutist surely will slide out from under those rocks!

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:38:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  His senate seat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is going to the Democrats in 2016 and he probably won't even seek re-election.  He probably doesn't care how this affects him at home and he's voting how he or the party leadership wants.

  •  Thank you for putting his ass on blast... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TKO333, JeffW


  •  I wish unemployment on the GOP, but those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who are not re-elected will be propped up with lobbyist jobs or jobs underwritten by the Koch Czars, the cabal that is subverting our democracy.  Time to remind folks of what the Birchers had in mind for America.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:39:37 PM PST

  •  We can't all be Congressmen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, SanityWins

    who continue to get paid our full salary and have our healthcare costs covered as we recover from a stroke for several months. Well actually, we could! I strongly encourage someone from Illinois who needs a job  to run against Kirk and take his.

    **Electing Republicans to the government is like hiring pyromaniacs as firemen. They all just want to see everything burn to the ground.**

    by CatM on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:44:18 PM PST

  •  It will be my pleasure (5+ / 0-)

    to vote for Kirk's opponent in the next election. I am not at all surprised that he is a heartless douche. He is a Republican after all. It's just a shame that so many Illinois voters bought into his "moderate" act.

  •  Last year on the first day Congress was in session (5+ / 0-)

    and doing the swearing-in stuff, I wandered over to the Capitol to watch the Reps and Senators have their pictures taken on the Capitol steps.
    Mark Kirk emerged from a sedan and haltingly and painfully climbed a few steps in an attempt to join the other senators gathering for the group picture.
    I will never forget how Joe Biden hurried over to Kirk and gently--dare I say tenderly--helped him climb up enough to be in the picture, and then supported Kirk in an excruciatingly slow climb to the very top of the stairs and into the Senate side of the Capitol. The crowd of us everypeople watching Kirk's progress cheered and applauded when he finally--with lots of help--made it to the top.
    After that, how could anyone with any sense of humanity or mortality not recognize that, as Dickens put it, we are all fellow travelers to the grave?
    How could Kirk accept such gracious help and our good wished and not find ways to help others?
    I am beyond saddened.

  •  no he's running (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He knows he will be primaried and his chance of surviving a primary challenge are slim. Hey a RW loon will just be easier to beat but you would think Kirk would have some compassion after coming so close to dying.

  •  "Illinois is a blue state" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's break that down. CHICAGO is a Democratic town, but not necessarily progressive. Central Illinois and downstate Illinois are pretty Republican. Collar counties used to be solidly GOP, but they go back and forth.

    I think he's a one termer -- for health reasons more than anything -- but we better come up with a good candidate to beat him. Kirk has always been a lying slimebag, but he ran circles around Alexi Giannoulis in the debates in 2010.

    Lisa Madigan will never run for governor as long as her father is still House speaker. And he's only in his 70s. I don't think she's interested in the Senate.

    No, there needs to be some good recruiting going on!

  •  Major Difference Between Repubs and Dems: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, wonderful world, valkyrry

    Kirk kind of epitomizes what I've noticed is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans can only have empathy if it happened to them, while Democrats are able to empathize with people in general.

    Example, when Huntsman and Cheney had a gay relative, they suddenly withdrew their opposition. When Kirk himself had a stroke, he suddenly sympathized. Yet, I don't have to actually starve to feel for people who are starving. I also earn enough where my taxes would probably be lower under Republican tax structure, but I have never voted by taking into account how it will affect me, me, me. Why can't Republicans just do what's right because it's right, not because they or their son, daughter or whoever, is affected?

  •  I'm just a little tired of sudden empathy (5+ / 0-)

    "Hey, my son just came out and I realized gays were people."

    "Hey, I had a stroke and realized that health care is expensive."

    "Hey I got hassled by the TSA and realized how onerous and creepy the police state is."

    Can't we have representatives who can conceive of human needs and deprivation without being subjected to them?

  •  As always (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No one is asking the right question.  The question that exposes the economic bankruptcy of Republican talking points.

    And that question is this:

    How much money will the federal government lose if a quarter of a million more people are no longer paying income taxes?

    And how, O learned sages, will you "pay" for that loss of income to the government?

    This aside from the blatant lie that Republicans care at all about the debt, when in fact it was Republican policies over the last 40 years that created the debt in the first place.  Reagan tripled the debt during his time in office.  Clinton put in place policies that would have entirely eliminated the debt had Gore been able to assume the office he won in 2000.  But then Bush instead doubled the debt.

    Why does a single person on the planet take Republican complaints about the Federal debt seriously?

    In Washington, whenever anyone does something wrong, everyone else gets punished.

    by Noziglia on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:13:50 PM PST

  •  What a frigging tool. (0+ / 0-)

    Can I get a Grey Goose on the rocks over here?!

    by G Contractor on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:28:35 PM PST

  •  MARK KIRK (0+ / 0-)

    is running on fumes & thinks everybody else should.

    Bill Costley, Valley Village 4-4D, 390 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara CA 95050, 1-408-247-1943

    by costleybill7 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 07:21:38 AM PST

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