A new TV ad that hit the airwaves Thursday calls U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) "personally responsible" for those in Illinois who have lost their long-term unemployment benefits.
The ad, backed by Americans United for Change, is designed to put pressure on Kirk to sign off on an unemployment benefits extension once it is brought up again for a vote.
"Mark Kirk promised he’d vote for an extension if his conditions were met," the ad states. "And when he got what he wanted, Kirk still voted against continuing unemployment benefits."
“He is the deciding vote when the Senate votes again in the coming days,” the ad continues. "Call Senator Kirk. Tell him you will remember who cost your family this critical economic lifeline when you were laid off and searching for work, but still couldn't find a job."
Click through to view the ad.
Unemployment benefits for those who have been jobless for longer than 26 weeks expired in late December. As a result, about 1.3 million Americans and counting have lost their unemployment benefits.
Earlier this month, an attempt in the U.S. Senate to extend the benefits by three months fell just one vote shy of advancing. Kirk was among the senators who voted against the measure.
Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement with the release of the new ad:
Senator Kirk’s promise to Illinoisans that he’d support unemployment benefits if they were paid for turned out to be an empty one – or a cruel joke. Kirk got exactly what he asked for, but still cast the deciding vote against legislation that means the difference between many Illinois families going into poverty or not. Did he think no one would notice? Kirk made himself the Poster Child for why a bad situation is now much worse for 100,000 job-seeking Illinoisans, because he would rather stick it to President Obama than stick up for his constituents. And it wasn’t just a vote to neglect to people who are struggling to find work in a 3-applicant-for-every-job economy, it was a vote to fire an additional 13,000 Illinoisans by year’s end because of fewer people contributing to the economy. And the polls show he’s paying a price for it. Free word of advice for the Senator: if you don’t want to join the ranks of the unemployed yourself, be the deciding vote to restore unemployment benefits and save 13,000 Illinoisans their jobs.
Also on Thursday, the AFL-CIO launched an online campaign calling on Kirk and other Republicans to vote for an emergency unemployment benefits extension.