Candidate Kirk Talks About Jobless Benefits Vote, But Not Military Record

July 09, 2010

Senate candidate Mark Kirk says he voted against extending jobless benefits because Democrats didn't come up with a way to pay for the benefits without adding to the deficit.

The Republican congressman says he has often voted to let people continue collecting unemployment past the normal deadline, but he opposed the most recent extension because it would have increased the deficit by $30 billion.

The House approved the extension, but it was blocked in the Senate. That means hundreds of thousands of people are losing the unemployment benefits each week.

Kirk spoke at a news conference in Springfield Friday, where he discussed his "Springfield Agenda", the latest in a series of economic development plans for different regions of the state.

Meanwhile, Kirk says he is done answering questions about exaggerating his military accomplishments.

Several times this week, Kirk has refused to answer questions about specific incidents during his 21 years in the Navy Reserve. At his Springfield news conference, he said he'll let his official fitness reports speak for him from now on.

Those reports include glowing evaluations but offer no details on specific incidents -- such as whether he came under fire while serving in Afghanistan, as he once claimed.

Kirk apologized last week for making false statements about his military service and said he had been careless. He says that news conference fully addressed all questions.

Kirk has been on the defensive since the revelation that he claimed a military award he didn't win.

Story source: AP