Kirk, Dold Hope to Avoid Government Shutdown
Dold says he will not commit to crossing party lines if Planned Parenthood remains a sticking point.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) and Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) remained hopeful the federal government would not shutter at 11 p.m. Friday, but Dold was unwilling to specifically commit to maintaining funding for Planned Parenthood to avoid a shut down.
Dold would not agree to voting against members of his party to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood if it were the only way to keep the government afloat.
Comments and accusations have been flying back and forth between members of Congress blaming each other for the potential shut down if Congress does not pass a continuing resolution Friday to fund the federal government.
Kirk and Dold spoke to members of the local media on a conference call Friday afternoon to explain the latest progress.
According to a statement earlier today by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Barack Obama agreed on an amount to reduce federal spending. She said Republicans insisted Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency and public broadcasting be cut as part of the deal.
Dold explained he was awaiting a response from Reid on the House’s latest proposal. He also said he met with Boehner earlier in the day and was not told Planned Parenthood was the sticking point between the parties.
“The policy issues have been settled," Dold said. “Now it is about spending. We can’t spend dollars we don’t have.”
Dold has voted previously to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood.
When specifically asked by Patch during the call, Dold would not commit to crossing the aisle if it was the only way to save Planned Parenthood and avert a shut down. He wants to see a response to the House’s latest proposal from the Senate first.
“I have voted not to defund Planned Parenthood, " Dold said. "Let’s see what comes across. We’ve given [the Senate] $61 billion in cuts and have yet to see a response.”
Kirk said the difference between House and Senate Republicans was a more narrow view on spending by his colleagues in the upper chamber. Policy issues are not in contention there.
“The Senate has not singled out Planned Parenthood for cuts,” Kirk said. “It has broad-based support.” He mentioned two of his colleagues—Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)—agreed with him. “Extreme policy measures are not part of the legislation.”
Kirk believes a deal will be consummated at the last minute. “It will probably happen at 11 tonight,” Kirk said. “That’s the way these things usually work.”