UPDATED with Mark Kirk's Response:
On Monday, Republican Senate candidate and Congressman Mark Kirk held a press conference, telling reporters he would support a $26 billion jobs bill that would funnel money back to cash-strapped states and prevent thousands of teachers from being laid off.
Fortunately for teachers, the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1586, Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act passed 247-161 Tuesday--but Kirk voted against it.
Huffington Post reporter Lucia Graves summed up the bill earlier today:
Technically, the bill provides $10 billion to fund education and $16 billion to fund Medicaid, but states have been expecting to get the federal assistance and a majority have already budgeted for it, meaning that if the funds were blocked, cuts would have to be made elsewhere -- costing the jobs of firefighters, cops and other state employees. The House was already in recess last Thursday when the Senate passed the jobs bill. But lawmakers were more than willing to sacrifice a couple of days at home in their districts to get the bill passed, according to [Barney] Frank who supports the bill.
The funding will reportedly prevent about 161,000 teachers and 158,000 public works employees from being laid off.
Mark Kirk, who has touted his "moderate" record throughout his campaign for U.S. Senate, said he would support the bill as recently as yesterday.
"I'm inclined to vote for that legislation," Kirk told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday. "As a Republican moderate, my view is we should not 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."
Aside from saying he was "inclined" to vote for the measure on camera, he also told reporters after his Monday speech that he "intended to vote for the bill," the Sun-Times reports.
Kirk has repeatedly shifted to the right in recent months, changing his tune on everything from cap and trade to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Also on Monday, his stance on gun control shifted more to the right.
Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who is running against Kirk for Senate, issued a statement in response to Krik's Tuesday vote:
"After today's vote it is clear that Congressman Kirk didn't just lie about being a teacher, he lied about supporting them. 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."
Following the vote, Kirk issued a statement, saying that the bill spent, taxed and borrowed more than legislation he has supported in the past.
"According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bill adds over $12 billion to our deficit," Kirk said in the statement. "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 Sun-Times explained further:
Actually, the CBO found that by cutting food-stamp spending on the poor and closing tax loopholes for companies that do business overseas, the bill adds only $5 billion to the deficit, according to CBO documents. The bill provides $10 billion states can use mainly to keep paying teachers and $16 billion to fund Medicaid. That Medicaid money would free states to spend more on police and teachers.
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