Mark Kirk to Business Leaders: It's Time to 'Cherry-Pick' Best Ideas

Speaking at Tuesday's legislative breakfast in Aurora, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk offered short-term action to turn the economy around.

Before a crowd of hundreds of business leaders on Tuesday morning, Sen. Mark Kirk offered some ideas to turn the economy around.

The Illinois Republican was the guest of a dozen chambers of commerce—including those from Montgomery, Oswego and Yorkville—who organized Tuesday’s legislative breakfast at Piper’s Banquets in Aurora. And though Kirk led off with some dire words about our current economic situation, he did come to the table with several ideas.

Kirk has already introduced one of them, the Lincoln Legacy Infrastructure Development Act, in Congress. Co-authored with Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren, from Illinois’ 14th District, the bill removes roadblocks to public/private partnerships in the rail, highway and aviation industries.

The idea, he said, is to get those projects moving with a mix of private and public money, and without all the federal restrictions that often block such partnerships. Kirk said that a National Transportation Safety Board study showed a need of $225 billion per year in transportation project funding, but only $90 billion a year in government spending in those areas.

The bill is named after Abraham Lincoln, Kirk said, in reference to that president’s support of the Transcontinental Railway Act. Kirk called that Lincoln’s third-greatest achievement, behind ending the Civil War and signing the Emancipation Proclamation, and noted that the 3,000-mile rail system was built “off the books of the federal taxpayer.”

Kirk said rather than concentrating on one large bill to help the economy, lawmakers should "cherry-pick" the ideas that will pass quickly, and approve them.

Kirk suggested a moratorium on any new federal regulations costing over $100 million. He said the federal government should wipe out all special interest provisions in the tax code. And he said the U.S. should lower the corporate tax rate to five percent, a move he said would keep the country’s top earners stateside, not setting up shop in other nations to save tax money.

“Hundreds of billions of profits would come home, and be invested in America,” he said.

Kirk spoke in support of the Keystone Pipeline, a $13 billion system that would pump oil from Canada to the United States. And he suggested that the government should buy unpaid mortgages at 80 percent of their value and offer them back to troubled homeowners at reduced rates. This, he said, would preserve the value of the home, prevent blight, and keep the neighborhoods on the road to recovery.

Kirk saved some of his sharpest words for the 2010 health care reform bill, which he said provides an incentive for companies with more than 50 employees to drop below that level, to avoid having to insure them or pay a fine. He said the bill should be repealed, but noted that President Barack Obama will veto any attempt to do so, and he has the votes to ensure such a veto would stand.

He pointed to the 2012 election as the deciding factor.

“You tell me who wins the presidency, and I will tell you whether the health care bill is law or not,” he said.

Jane Enviere September 28, 2011 at 03:43 PM
It's wonderful to critique the healthcare bill from a position of comfort -- enjoying supremely generous health benefits as a member of the U.S. Senate. Give it up, Kirk. Move on and focus on issues that matter instead of spewing the party talking points. Yawn.
walt scherff September 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Quite interesting - the government should buy mortgages at 80 cents on a dollar and then offer them at reduced rates to the homeowners that possibly couldn't afford them in the first place -- and at the same time cut cut cut in all portions of the budget -- Great Idea !!
It all comes out in the wash September 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
ASK ANY CONGRESSMAN THIS QUESTION WHEN THEY WANT TO RUN FOR CONGRESS Propose this in 2012: START A MOVEMENT TO PLACE ALL POLITICIANS ON SOCIAL SECURITY.Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it. You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan. In more recent years, no congress person has felt the need to change it.
It all comes out in the wash September 29, 2011 at 03:40 PM
After all, it is a great plan. For all practical purposes their plan works like this: When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die. Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments. For example, Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7, 800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275, 000..00 during the last years of their lives.
It all comes out in the wash September 29, 2011 at 03:40 PM
This is calculated on an average life span for each of those Dignitaries. Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives. Their cost for this excellent plan to them is $0.00. NADA!!! ZILCH!!! This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds; "OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK"! From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into, every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer), We can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement. Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits! Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. That change would be to Jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. . Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us. Then sit back.... And see how fast they would fix it! If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.


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