Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Newly-Minted U.S. Senator Mark Kirk Off to a Running Start (UPDATED)

I can already tell we're going to have trouble keeping up with new U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. Within just a few hours of being sworn in Monday night, he returned to the Senate floor and voted in favor of Dick Durbin's food safety bill. Kirk was joined by about 15 other Republicans on that vote, but already some are wringing their hands over Kirk's commitment to bi-partisan government. Whether Kirk will have cause to regret his refusal to run in lockstep with conservatives in six years remains to be seen. All I can say is that we talked about this issue a little during Monday night's festivities in D.C., and it's worth pointing out that we have no idea what the world is even going to look like in six years, much less flipping out over votes cast in the first few days of Kirk's Senate career. So everyone should just take a breath. (As an aside, it appears the food safety bill may need a do-over in the Senate, according to several sources, assuming the House doesn't block it).

On the other hand, Kirk broke pretty clearly against Durbin, his Illinois colleague, and recommitted himself to his long-standing campaign against earmarks. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has come around on this. Durbin argued that recent reforms now make earmarks more acceptable, but Kirk wasn't buying it. Maybe this will make the right-wingers a little more happy. As we pointed out time and time again, Alexi would have been right in Durbin's back pocket on this vote.

For good measure, Kirk also has already introduced his first bill, the "Spending Control Act of 2010," which would establish a revamped Grace Commission, that was originally formed in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan to investigate government waste and identify programs that could be eliminated with an up or down vote of the full House and Senate. Kirk talks about the bill and other issues (including a letter he just wrote to President Obama) with Greta Van Susterens on Fox News (h/t Lynn Sweet).

Wow, you almost wonder how Kirk is going to be able to catch his breath with all this activity.

You know, our team won, and we ought to follow Mark's lead and be gracious winners, but I can't help but smirk and think that if Alexi had won, his first priority would have been lining up hoops with Obama, and then, if we were lucky, move on to trying to find North Korea on a map. 'Nuf 'Sed.

In 10th District News: I spoke with Congressman Bob Dold in Washington DC on Monday, and he is busy lining up his DC and District teams. More on that later. Dold is also mentioned in a Politico article on the freshman Congressmen and where their income comes from.

UPDATED 12/2/10 8:50 a.m.: I missed this yesterday, but Senator Kirk also signed on to a letter from Senate Republicans to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that sets up a fillibuster of any liberal agenda items that Reid may hope to push through in the lame-duck session if the Bush Tax Cuts and death tax issues are not fixed, pronto. h/t Illinois Review.


Anonymous said...

"..Finding North Korea on a map"


but I'm sure the tenth dems can find What say you catlady, ross nickow, john hmuvoric and Rob N?

Lynn Sweet showed she's still bitter that her favorite alexi didn't win in that drive by swing at mark in the scumtimes piece. some things never change.


Anonymous said...

Re: the Spending Control Act of 2010

I understand that Senator Kirk had the distinction of first introducing it in the House on Monday and then in the Senate on Tuesday.

Perhaps some of TA's contributors can share some light on how common or uncommon this event is. Seems to me it should be pretty rare.

Trebor of Libertyville

Anonymous said...

senate turnover is anywhere from 4-20 percent in a given 2 year cycle (more in wave or new administrations) and usually 1/3-half of those new senators come from the house. It is tradition in some but not all cases for the outgoing senator of a state if he is retiring or friendly with the incoming senator to resign before the next congress so the next senator can get a jump on seniority (think democrat house member dick durbin replacing democrat senator paul simon in 1996-though I don't know if this happened). so to answer your question my guess is once or twice every two years in a case where the senior senator quits early and gives the house member who won to replace him or the situation that kirk/manchin/coons had where a senator elect replaced an appointed one.