Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) is doing his impersonation of a "one-man wrecking crew" when it comes to the 100,000 or so unemployed, who are in desperate need of having their jobless benefits extended, along with thousands of government employees who, were, as a result of Bunning's actions yesterday, told not to report to work.
The Miami Herald reports on the fallout:
The Department of Transportation furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay Monday as the government began to feel the impact of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning's one-man blockage of legislation that would keep a host of federal programs operating.There is also this report of a testy encounter between Bunning and ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl in a "Senate-only" elevator in the Capitol building.
Bunning's "hold" also affects jobless benefits for thousands of unemployed workers, rural television customers, doctors receiving Medicare payments and others.
Bunning, R-Ky., wants the $10-billion price of extending the programs offset by reductions in spending elsewhere in the budget to not drive up the deficit.
Absent that, his objections to proceed with the legislation deny the Senate the "unanimous consent" that Senate rules require for going forward under expedited procedure. The Senate can overcome his objection if 60 of its 100 members vote to do so. So far they haven't, and doing that would take at least four days under Senate rules.
Not that someone putting their foot down when it comes to rising deficits and debt isn't a good idea, but it's worth noting that Bunning plans to step down from his Senate post this fall and he does have something of a history of "erratic" behavior.