Illinois’ senators are at odds over reconvening the U.S. Senate in order to handle extending unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts. U.S Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) doesn’t think there’s time to bring the Senate back to Washington to try to pass a one-year extension, on which Republicans in the House have insisted.
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“It is unrealistic at this point to believe that we could return and somehow enter into a negotiation with the House,” Durbin said. “We tried that. That’s why we did a 60-day extension. It is far better for us to give the 60-day extension and take this seriously instead of who grabs the political headline.” Durbin says there wasn’t much compromise on a one-year extension in the Senate but there was much bi-partisan compromise on a smaller deal. He says the House should pass a temporary package that would extend unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts for two months. But U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) says the Senate should have never left without seeing a package passed in the House. “I think the Constitution prevails here. The Constitution doesn’t say ‘Senate bills override all House bills,’” Kirk said. “The Constitution says that it should be worked out and so there is no need for the Senate to be on holiday right now.” Kirk isn’t supportive of extending the payroll tax cut because he believes it would eat into Social Security funding.