U.S. Rep. Gutierrez Denounces Mark Kirk’s Failure to Stand Up For 15,000 Illinois Families

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Kirk stays silent while Washington Republicans obstruct unemployment insurance extension

CHICAGO – Following Congressman Mark Kirk‘s continued silence on extending unemployment benefits for almost 15,000 Illinois families, U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez denounced Kirk’s obstructionist record on unemployment and urged him to stand up for the people of Illinois during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

“As Republican Senator Jim Bunning keeps America from extending unemployment benefits again, Mark Kirk stays silent,” Rep. Gutierrez said. “This is Mark Kirk’s most recent example in a long record of obstructing support for Illinois’ working families. Last fall, when we voted to extend unemployment benefits in America, Congressman Kirk did not even bother to show up, and he has also voted against President Obama’s Recovery Act and jobs bill.”

Currently, as Illinois’ unemployment rate sits above 11 percent, Republicans are holding up a bill extending unemployment benefits that would help almost 15,000 Illinois families. While this bill stalls in the Senate, Republican Mark Kirk has stayed silent, failing to demand members of his own party ensure its passage.

Kirk has a history of obstructing support for unemployment benefits. In addition to skipping the vote on extending unemployment benefits in September and voting against the jobs bill in December, Kirk also voted against extending unemployment benefits in 2008 and he voted against the Recovery Act, which included substantial unemployment benefit relief.

“Mark Kirk made his position on unemployment clear when he said that it’s not a big issue,” Gutierrez said. “Maybe unemployment is not a big issue to Mark Kirk, but then again, Mark Kirk has a job. It’s too bad the 700,000 people without work in Illinois can’t count on him to stand up for them.”

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