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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Bunning’

Stewart Schools Jim Bunning For Repeated Objections (VIDEO)

First Posted: 03- 2-10 08:32 AM   |   Updated: 03- 2-10 08:41 AM

While Jon Stewart seemed optimistic about the progress made by last week’s health care summit, the media’s overall consensus was that nothing had been accomplished. But as he pointed out last night, it wasn’t the only issue bogged down by Republican opposition. Stewart took on Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, mocking his repeated objections to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for 30 days.

Making Bunning out to be a villain who’ll obstruct anything from legislation to birthday pizza, Stewart noted that in the Senate it often takes 60 votes to get anything done, but “sometimes in the Senate it only takes one person to cock the whole thing up.” How draining were Bunning’s nine objections? Toward the end, Al Franken began to look like a broken down old man.

Stewart acknowledged that despite the Democrats’ hopes that he’d get sleepy, Bunning was willing to stay up as long as necessary — even if it meant missing the basketball game he’d planned on watching. Stewart summed up his ridiculousness: “You see that’s the difference between Jim Bunning’s pain and the pain of the unemployed. Jim Bunning’s pain can be fixed by a Tivo.”

WATCH:

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Jim Bunning Impasse Puts Federal Employees Out Of Work

JOAN LOWY | 03/ 1/10 10:34 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — Two thousand federal transportation workers were furloughed without pay on Monday, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that also expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans.

Bunning objected to the $10 billion measure, saying it would add to the budget deficit. He didn’t respond to a request Monday for comment.

The impasse has provided the administration with an opening to excoriate Republicans for allowing popular programs to run out, even if only for a short time.

“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

MORE HERE

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Bunning Whines About Missing Basketball Game, Tells Dems ‘Tough Sh*t’ On Unemployment Benefits

Think Progress- By Pat Garofalo at 9:57 am

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed an extension of unemployment benefits on a voice vote. The Senate, however, has yet to act on the same measure, as various senators are throwing up procedural roadblocks. On Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asked for unanimous consent to approve an extension, only to see the motion blocked by Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) over “a dispute over how [the bill] should be funded.”

Late last night, Democrats made repeated attempts to pass the extension by unanimous consent, and Bunning blocked them all. He then complained that the Democrats’ insistence on trying to ensure that unemployment benefits not expire had caused him to miss a college basketball game:

I want to assure the people that have, heh, watched this thing until quarter of twelve — and I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9 o’clock, and it’s the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina, since they’re the only team that has beat Kentucky this year — all of these things that we have talked about and all the provisions that have been discussed, the unemployment benefits, all these things. If we’d have taken the longer version of the job bill…we wouldn’t have spent three hours plus telling everybody in the United States of America that Senator Bunning doesn’t give a damn about the people that are on unemployment.

(Bunning’s beloved Kentucky Wildcats went on to defeat South Carolina.) Watch it:

At one point, while Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) were asking him to relent, Bunning was overhead blurting out “tough sh*t” as he sat in the back row.

Not only did Bunning’s antics go on all night and ultimately prevent an extension from passing, but other Republicans went to bat for Bunning, arguing that the Democrats should simply respect Bunning’s hold. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said, “I believe we’re stooping to a low level. This is not the way the Senate functions. Everybody in the country now knows that the senator from Kentucky has a hold on this bill. … That’s something that we honor in this body.”

“I just don’t think one senator ought to be able to heap this kind of suffering and misfortune on people who are already struggling in this economy,” Durbin said. “This is a wild pitch you are throwing tonight because it is pitch that is hitting somebody in the stands.” 1.1 million workers are scheduled to have their unemployment benefits expire next month, and 5 million will lose their benefits by June.

Update—  Sen. Durbin tried once more to pass the extension by unanimous consent this morning, and Bunning objected again.

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