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Mark Kirk Turns To THIS GUY To Help Longshot Reelection Campaign

With dismal reelection prospects in Illinois, Mark Kirk turns to right-wing extremist Tom Cotton for money

Mark Kirk’s flailing reelection campaign officially reached panic mode this week, first launching a desperate early ad blitz to distract from hisstream of offensive comments, and now, turning to right-wing nut Tom Cotton for help winning reelection in a deep blue state.

Kirk isn’t doing himself any favors in Illinois by asking Tom Cotton for help – Cotton has taken the most extreme positions on nearly every issue:

  • Cosponsored a bill that would declare life begins at conception, which could outlaw birth control,
  • Supported a constitutional amendment that would allow a ban on gay marriage,
  • Voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program,
  • Opposed the Violence Against Women Act,
  • Voted against reducing student loan interest rates and has
  • Said that women should not be allowed to serve in combat roles in infantry.

“Mark Kirk’s longshot reelection campaign isn’t making things any better by standing shoulder to shoulder with a radical extremist like Tom Cotton who thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in combat roles, opposes the violence against women act, and wants to end Medicare as we know it,” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC National Press Secretary. “Kirk is clearly trying everything he can to stay afloat, but alienating women, seniors and students by pairing up with Tom Cotton won’t do anything to help his already bleak prospects.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Cotton Cosponsored Bill That Would Declare Life Begins At Conception

Cotton Co-Sponsored A Bill To Declare That Constitutional Rights Took Effect At The Moment Of Conception. In January 2014, Cotton co-sponsored H.R. 1091: “Life at Conception Act – Declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” [Library of Congress, H.R. 1091, introduced 3/12/13, co-sponsored 1/8/14]

  • Defining “Personhood” At Fertilization Could Outlaw Common Forms Of Birth Control, Like The Pill And IUDs.“Constitutional amendments to define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization have been pushed in states across the country, and the radical anti-abortion group leading the effort, Personhood USA, is hoping to get proposals on the ballot in nearly half the states by 2012. But laws that give legal rights to fertilized eggs go much farther than merely outlawing abortions. As ThinkProgress’ Marie Diamond noted, they could also have the effect of outlawing common forms of birth control, since contraceptives like the pill and IUDs can prevent fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Personhood amendments consider these types of birth control a form of abortion, and could potentially even treat them the same as homicide.” [ThinkProgress, 10/3/11]

Cotton Supporting 20 Week Abortion Ban. In his weekly Congressional wrap-up, Cotton wrote: “On Tuesday the House passed The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, legislation that would prohibit the abortion of unborn children at twenty weeks or later. Medical research indicates that twenty weeks is the stage during which unborn children are capable of feeling pain.  Life unequivocally begins at conception and I oppose abortion at any stage. I was proud to vote in favor of this bill.” [Tom Cotton Weekly Wrap-Up 6/21/13]

Cotton Supported Constitutional Amendment That Would Allow Gay Marriage Bans

Cotton Said He Would “Take Under Serious Consideration” Sen. Cruz’s Amendment To The Constitution That Would Prevent The Supreme Court From Overturning State Gay Marriage Bans.

According to City Wire, “Cotton said he would take ‘under serious consideration’ an amendment to the Constitution that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has proposed that would allow states to make its own rules regarding marriage and therefore stop courts from ruling gay marriage bans unconstitutional. ‘I haven’t seen the language of the amendment. I would review it. I would certainly take it under serious consideration because I don’t think anybody at the founding or in the 19th century when we adopted the 14th Amendment believed that there was a Constitutional right to protect same-sex marriage. Marriage has throughout our history been a matter for state laws,’ he said.” [City Wire,10/9/14]

Cotton Told Supporters He Voted For The 2004 Arkansas Marriage Amendment That Banned Same-Sex Marriage. “In a teleconference meeting Monday with Arkansas residents, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton said he voted for the 2004 Arkansas Marriage amendment that banned same-sex marriage.But Arkansas secretary of state voting records show Cotton, the Republican candidate running against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, did not vote in Arkansas during the 2004 election. A spokesman for Cotton’s campaign said the congressman misspoke during the almost hour-long call while answering a resident’s question. ‘He supported that [amendment] in 2004. He simply said ‘vote’ when he meant to say ‘support,’’ said spokesman David Ray. ‘His position on that issue has been very clear and has not wavered.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/3/14]

Cotton Supported A Constitutional Amendment Defining Marriage As Between One Man And One Woman. Asked to state whether he supported or opposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, Cotton said: “I support the traditional understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. I supported the Arkansas marriage amendment in 2004, continue to support it. I think we need a constitutional amendment to the federal constitution to insure state-based laws like that against overreaching federal judges.” [Arkansas Family Council “Arkansas Voters Guide,” accessed 6/13/13] (video)

Cotton Voted To Turn Medicare Into A Voucher Program, Raise The Medicare And Social Security Eligibility Age To 70, And Cut Social Security Benefits

Cotton Was the Only Member Of The Arkansas Delegation To Vote for Republican Study Committee Budget That Transformed Medicare Into Voucher System, Raised the Eligibility Age For Medicare To 70 And Cut Social Security Benefits. In 2013, Cotton voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that “would assume the transformation of Medicare into a premium support program that would compete against private plans.” According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the budget “transitions Medicare to a premium support system by 2019 for new beneficiaries, and raises the Medicare retirement age to 70 and indexes it to life expectancy… Unlike other budgets, [Republican Study Budget] also addresses Social Security specifically by switching to the chained CPI for cost-of-living adjustments and increasing the full retirement age to 70 and indexing it for life expectancy.” According to the AARP, “Changing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) using a chained CPI would have a detrimental impact on the economic wellbeing of older and disabled Americans and their family members who receive benefits from Social Security. Small reductions to the annual COLA will accumulate over time so that the largest reductions in benefits will be on the oldest beneficiaries and the long-term disabled. For example, 92- year-old beneficiaries who were on the program for 30 years would see an 8.4% cut in benefits. Disabled children could face even larger benefit cuts over their lifetime. Oldest Americans are the least able to absorb cuts to their benefits as they are more reliant on Social Security for their income and have higher out-of-pocket medical spending and a higher poverty rate than younger Americans.” The budget was rejected by a vote of 104-132. [CQ; H Con Res 25, Vote #86, 3/20/13; Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 3/19/13; AARP, October 2012]

  • Republican Study Committee Budget Would Turn Medicare Into a Voucher Program for Those 59 and Younger.According to The Hill: “The key difference between the two proposals [the RSC and Ryan budgets] is the plan to overhaul Medicare. While Ryan calls for implementing his ‘premium support’ plan for future beneficiaries age 54 and younger, the RSC budget would start the change for people 59 and below.” [The Hill, 3/15/13]
  • The Republican Study Committee Budget Raises The Medicare Eligibility Age For Those 55 And Younger. The RSC blueprint said: “In order to shore up Medicare’s solvency and to keep pace with increases in longevity, the RSC proposal slowly phases in an increase in the Medicare eligibility age for those born in 1959 and after.” [RSC Budget, March 2013]

RSC Budget Would Cut Social Security Payments By Reducing The Cost of Living Adjustment. According to the RSC’s FY 2014 budget blueprint, “To further strengthen Social Security’s long-term finances, this budget would change the formula for cost of living adjustments (COLA) by adopting a more accurate measure of inflation (chained CPI-U) that takes into account real-world choices consumers make. [RSC Budget, March 2013]

The RSC Budget Would Raise The Social Security Eligibility Age From 65 to 70 for those 51 and Older. According to the RSC’s FY 2014 budget blueprint, “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age for individuals born in 1962 (currently 51) and after to an eventual full-retirement age of 70.” [RSC Budget, March 2013]

  • KATV: Cotton Did Support The Republican Study Committee’s 2014 Budget That Would Raise The Social Security Eligibility Age To 70. “The ad is titled ‘Seventy’ because the ad claims Cotton voted in support of raising the age of Social Security to 70 years of age. Cotton did support the Republican Study Committee’s 2014 budget, which proposed the eligibility age would increase to age 70 in two month increments, beginning in 2024.” [KATV, 11/13/13]

Cotton Opposed Both The Violence Against Women Act And The Watered Down Republican Version Of VAWA

Cotton Opposed Final Violence Against Women Act That “Strengthens Protections of Particular Groups of Women at Particular Risk.” In 2013, Cotton voted against passage of the bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for five years. The law, which expired in 2011, provides protections and assistance programs to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The bill would authorize funds for law enforcement training programs, prosecution and victim services. It would give American Indian tribal courts additional authority over non-tribal domestic violence offenders. It would make it illegal for victim services organizations that receive grant funding through the law to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. It also would extend through 2017 a law that provides protections and assistance programs to trafficking victims. It would allow underage sex-trafficking victims to receive assistance under grants provided to help children exposed to violence. The bill passed (thus cleared for the president) by a vote of 286-138. As reported by CNN, “According to advocacy groups, the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act approved Tuesday strengthens protections of particular groups of women at particular risk.” [CQ; S 47, Vote #55, 2/28/13; CNN, 2/28/13]

Cotton Even Voted Against Republican Substitute Violence Against Women Act. In 2013, Cotton voted against the Republican substitute Violence Against Women Act that would reauthorize for five years federal grant programs that provide funds to states, law enforcement and nonprofit organizations for services provided to victims of violence and for the prosecution of offenders. It would give American Indian tribal courts additional authority over non-tribal domestic violence offenders and allow accused individuals to appeal to have their proceedings moved from tribal courts to a U.S. District Court. It also would require immigrant spouses subject to abuse — and who seek U visas given to crime victims willing to help law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of the crime — to comply with “any reasonable request” for assistance made by law enforcement regarding their case. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 166-257. [CQ; S. 47, Vote #54, 2/28/13]

Cotton Said Women Should Not Serve In Combat Roles In The Infantry

Rep. Cotton Said Women Are Unfit For Combat Because Their “Nature” Would Make Them Unfit And These Are Facts Proven In Numerous Studies About Women’s “Upper Body Strength, And Physical Movements And Speed And Endurance.”  According to The New Civil Rights Movement, “A freshman Republican U.S. Congressman from Arkansas says women are unfit for infantry combat because their ‘nature’ can ‘impair the mission-essential tasks’ of their units. ‘To have women serving in infantry, though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units,’ Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 35, told Laura Ingraham. ‘And that’s been proven in study after study, it’s nature, upper body strength, and physical movements, and speed, and endurance, and so forth.’”  [New Civil Rights Movement, 01/09/2013]

  • Headline – GOP Congressman: Women In Infantry Roles Could ‘Impair’ Missions Because Of Their ‘Nature’ [Think Progress, 01/08/2013]

Cotton Defended Opposition To Allowing Women To Serve In Combat Units. “In January, he appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show, a national radio program, saying, ‘To have women serving in infantry though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units.’ Cotton’s comments regarding women in combat quickly thrust him into the national spotlight. ‘I had a few women that said that they thought they could perform any task a man could, and they very well might be right, but I had plenty of women to include my sister who said they agreed with me and said they certainly would not be able to make it in an infantry unit,’ explained Cotton. ‘There are some mission essential tasks. For example, Marine tankers being able to carry 50 pound shells inside a tank, carry a 200 pound soldier who’s been wounded and has to be drug with full kit,’ added Cotton. As for whether he agrees that there are probably some men that may not have the physical strength or be able to do some of those missions, too, Cotton said, ‘I do, and I had some of those underneath me. I had to discipline them and ultimately move them out of our unit.’” [KTHV, 2/5/13]

Cotton Voted Against Reducing Student Loan Interest Rates

Cotton Was One Of Only 31 House Members To Vote Against Reducing Student Loan Interest Rates. In July 2013, Cotton was the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to vote against Kline, R-Minn., motion to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill that would set federal student loan interest rates issued after July 1, 2013 to the Treasury Department’s 10-year borrowing rate, plus 2.05 percent for subsidized and unsubsidized undergraduate loans, 3.6 percent for graduate loans and 4.6 percent for PLUS loans. The loan rates would be capped at 8.25 percent, 9.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively. It would require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress within four months detailing the federal government’s cost of administering the student loan program and recommendations to avoid generating additional revenue from the program. The motion was agreed to 392-31: R 221-6; D 171-25; I 0-0. [HR 1911, Vote 426, 7/31/13]

Cotton Believed “Marriage Is Between A Man And A Woman” And Criticized The “Liberal Judge” Who Was “Upending An Amendment That Passed With 75% OF Arkansans Support And Doing So On Friday Night At Five O’Clock.” “Second, my views on marriage are longstanding and well known.  I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.  If a single trial judge in Little Rock thought that his hands were tied on this matter maybe he issues a ruling,  (12:00) but he doesn’t issue it at Friday night at five o’clock without giving it a stay so we don’t have widespread confusion at county courthouses all around the state for a week while the supreme court tries to sort it out.  We should let the legal process play out in an orderly fashion.  The supreme court was right to give the stay until they can give a final ruling on the merits.  You shouldn’t have a liberal judge in Little Rock upending an amendment that passed with 75 percent of Arkansans support and doing so Friday night at five o’clock.” [KELDFM, Audio, 5/22/14]

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