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More on Kirk's Vote Against Jobs Bill

By Kevin Robinson in News on Aug 12, 2010 3:00PM

Mark Kirk snuggling a puppy, by request. Photo by ALA Washington Office.
The news around Mark Kirk's apparent flip-flop over his vote against $26 billion in aid to keep teachers in classrooms and cops on the street got a little thicker yesterday. To wit, Kirk, who was for the jobs bill before he was against it, said in a statement that he voted against the bill because it added $5 billion to the federal deficit. Rich Miller at Capitol Fax explained the issue in depth, getting to the heart of Kirk's reasoning behind his vote. The Congressional Budget Office, which scores the estimated cost of congressional spending, found that the bill would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years. When analyzed in the context of the Pay as You Go statute, which was enacted in 1990 and requires that all increases in direct spending or decreases in revenue generation are to be offset with other spending cuts or revenue hikes, that portion of the CBO analysis says that the bill actually adds $12.6 billion to the deficit. But that, too comes with a caveat: "Excludes savings in Titles II and III that would result from changes to programs and rescissions of funds previously designated as emergency, which total about $14 billion over the 2010-2020 period." Which, in short, says that the increase in the deficit doesn't take into account $14 billion in savings from other cuts and spending reductions - exactly what supporters of the bill had agreed to do to ensure its passage.

Never one to miss a connection in the political calculus, Miller points out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running campaign ads attacking Kirk's opponent, Alexi Giannoulias. And the Chamber opposed the jobs bill because it is paid for, in part, by closing a series of tax loopholes on companies that do business overseas. So while Kirk has said publicly that he's a moderate Republican, a party-line vote favored by the national Chamber of Commerce should leave voters asking if Kirk can say no to business interests that back his bid for the senate.