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Hours before tax vote, Kirk's gambit: e-mail poll asking how he should vote


WASHINGTON--Hours before a Senate vote on a tax compromise President Obama negotiated with Republicans, freshman Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is taking an e-mail survey that supposedly he will use to decide how to vote. "I will tell you where I stand when I hear from you," Kirk said in an e-mail sent out on Monday.

Kirk incorrectly describes the deal in his e-mail, when he makes a reference, not by name to the Bush era tax cuts that would expire at the end of the year if not extended. No one--Democrat or Republican--suggested that the breaks expire and taxes go up for all income brackets. At issue is whether the tax cuts should be extended for the wealthy. Obama and Democrats had wanted to extend the break to earners with incomes below $250,000 but as part of the compromise, Obama gave that up.

Kirk's explanation is just not accurate because it is so sweeping: "While many support this bipartisan bill, some House leaders say this legislation is misguided and taxes should go up."

In any event, sending out this e-mail to solicit input--when Kirk does not even provide the varied elements of the deal, including a cut in payroll taxes for a year--an item that will impact everyone who gets a paycheck--makes this e-mail gambit by Kirk even lamer.

e-mail from Kirk:

Should Congress Enact the Bipartisan Tax Bill

Dear Friends,

In 2001 and 2003, Congress passed tax relief measures helping taxpayers across the board. Rates were lowered for low-income, middle class and upper-income Americans to help the economy recover from the downturn caused by the "Dot-com" and September 11th blows to our national income. Unfortunately, this relief is scheduled to expire New Year's eve, triggering one of the biggest tax hikes in U.S. history.

If allowed to occur, tax rates would go up for nearly all Americans who pay taxes. Low-income Americans would see their taxes go up from 10% of income to 15%. The top rate would go up from 36 to over 39%. The marriage tax penalty (charging married couples more than two singles filing independently) would reappear, along with the death tax jumping from 0% to 55%. The capital gains rate would increase from 15% to 20% coupled with dividend tax rates more than doubling for some taxpayers - hurting seniors and Americans nearing retirement most.

After a long debate, the President and Congressional leaders proposed bipartisan legislation to ensure the U.S. economy does not suffer a $4 trillion tax-hike shock and risk starting another recession. A new compromise would extend current rates for two years and reform the death tax to exempt the first $5 million, followed by a 35% tax rate. While many support this bipartisan bill, some House leaders say this legislation is misguided and taxes should go up.

Should Congress enact the bipartisan tax bill proposed by President Obama and Senate leaders?
Don't Know
I will tell you where I stand when I hear from you.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views with me on this issue. Please feel free to contact me by phone at (202) 224-2854 or (312) 886-3506, or through our website at

It is an honor to serve you in the Senate.

Very truly yours,

Mark Kirk
U.S. Senate


Thank you, Lynn

I am so tired of his emails that imply we are idiots!

Thank you, Lynn, for speaking up for us.

Don't forget that Kirk has also blocked voting on supported the First Reponders of 9-11 until he has secured tax breaks for the richest Americans.

The House bill allows ALL Americans to receive a tax break on the first $250,000 they earn. Kirk and his fellow GOPers want to extend additional tax breaks that will only help those who make MORE than $250,000.

And until he gets those cuts for the upper crust, he's holding up acting on legislation to aid those who ran into danger to help out on 9-11.

Lynn - Thanks for exposing this side of Mark Kirk. I am still stunned that this guy, of all people, votes against DADT. What a joke he is. I received that e-mail from him this afternoon, which is the second in a series. It really doesn't matter what you tell him -he's already made up his mind but will only show you his (vote) if you tell him your choice FIRST. The only thing I can really think of is that he and his ridiculous Party of No pals are making up their own hate list. Kirk was elected that to contributions from Medline and many other companies invested in destroying health care reform. He will now, of course, pay them back for their money by trying to destroy the recovery. I'd like to see Kirk move his office OUT of Chicago and into an official space somewhere way downstate. Can a Senator be recalled and/or impeached? He's a candidate for BOTH - hypocrite that he is!

How do I get on Kirk's email list. I would like to provide him with my input too, but his email info is still not on his senate page/site.

I too am greatly disappointed if Kirk is using misinformation to try to garner support of the way he is choosing to vote. Apparently he is relying on the majority of people not being able to see through his game.

Is he technically a "freshman" Senator or an "interim" Senator until the next session starts?

Really, Mr. Kirk??? Are you really going to restart your tendency toward exagerations and misrepresentations??? REALLY??? You have not even been in office two-months and you have already managed to prompt me to call your office twice and now write this comment as your mouth continues to get you into trouble. Even your Washington, DC staff seems to have adopted your superior attitude!!! When I called to voice my opinion on your vote on DADT, your staff person's response to me was: "Okay, what do you want me to do about it?" WOW, DID WE REALLY ELECT THIS GUY???

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 13, 2010 11:35 AM.

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