Sen. Kirk: GOP should 'man up' and vote on SCOTUS nominee

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' MORE (R-Ill.) took a swing at his party Friday, saying Republicans need to "man up" and give Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a vote. 

"Just man up and cast a vote. The tough thing about these senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes. Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why," he told “The Big John Howell Show” on WLS-AM in Chicago.
 
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The Illinois Republican, who faces a tough reelection bid, was quick to break with the party's strategy to block President Obama's Supreme Court pick from getting a hearing, a vote or, in most cases, a meeting. 
 
He told The Hill last month he would accept a meeting with the president's nominee and added this week that "I will assess Judge Merrick Garland based on his record and qualifications."
 
Kirk's seat is expected to be a top Democratic target in November.
 
Republican Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Pompeo, lawmakers tangle over Germany troop withdrawal Senate report says Russian oligarchs evading U.S. sanctions through big-ticket art purchases MORE (Ohio), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms Sunday shows preview: White House, Democratic leaders struggle for deal on coronavirus bill Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal MORE (Wis.), who also face tough reelection bids, have suggested they would be willing to meet with Garland but that they think the seat should remain empty until next year. 
 
 
Kirk appeared to acknowledge that Friday. Asked about the potential for hearings, he said  "I think that given Mitch's view, I don't see his view changing too much. You know, eventually, we'll have an election and we will have a new president. The new president will obviously come forward with a nomination." 
 
Democrats were quick to pounce on his response, suggesting he needed to stand up to his party. 
 
"Sen. Kirk's refusal to demand his Republican colleagues provide Illinois native Judge Merrick Garland with a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote is an affront to Illinois voters," said Sean Savett, the Democratic Party of Illinois senior communications adviser. 
 
He added that if Kirk were "serious about fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities, he would publicly rebuke the strategy of the Republican Majority Leader he voted for, not predict the strategy's success."