Fresh off his victory late last night, U.S. Senator-elect Mark Kirk told Chicago commuters this morning that he's prepared to "work with other members of Congress --- and the president -- to bring higher jobs and income to the state." In the next few months, he'll have a chance to prove it.
Because Kirk won both the General Election and the Special Election to finish out President Obama's term, he will join the upper chamber in time to participate in the lame duck session. We've written about the big legislative initiatives the Senate will likely deal with a few times: an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy (which Illinois voters don't support), an extension of emergency benefits for unemployed workers (including roughly 127,000 Illinoisans), the DREAM Act, and a defense authorization bill that includes a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. To date, Kirk has differed with progressives' approach on all four items. Will he meet the president half way on any of them? Now that he's off the trail, it's time for Kirk to prove he's really a "moderate" after all.