Recently, In the News

I saw a story that I thought I’d pass along.

A little story I saw on AOL News:

Live at the US Senate: Bunning Vs. Everyone

Russell Berman
03/02/2010

WASHINGTON (March 1) — The usual political lines in the Senate pit Democrats against Republicans. This week, however, it’s everyone versus Jim Bunning.

The Kentucky Republican is holding up a measure that would provide a one-month extension of unemployment and health insurance benefits for 400,000 Americans, a bill that leaders of both parties had hoped to pass unanimously. Bunning, who is retiring at the end of the year, says the $10 billion extension, which also includes highway transportation funds, must be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

“We have run up $5 trillion in debt. There has to be a time to stop that,” Bunning said on the Senate floor Friday, as he began days worth of objections that have prevented the bill from passing. Bunning is perhaps best known to most Americans as a star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He was elected to the Senate in 1998.

Democrats and the White House are voicing outrage at Bunning’s move, saying it is preventing the neediest Americans from getting government assistance. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday he would have to furlough 2,000 construction workers because funding provided in the Senate bill had not arrived. “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,” LaHood said in a statement.

The Republican leadership is not supporting Bunning’s filibuster, but they haven’t been able to stop it. The two-term senator is not on good terms with the state’s senior senator and the GOP minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who pushed him to retire rather than run for re-election because of his low support in the polls.

And while Democrats have been stymied, they also view the incident as a golden political opportunity to highlight what they argue is a pattern of Republican obstructionism. “We now have Exhibit A in Republican filibuster abuse from Senator Bunning,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Van Hollen convened a press conference call with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., to “expose” Bunning’s filibuster.

Clyburn characterized Bunning’s move as blatant hypocrisy, pointing out that the Republican had “no problem voting a $1.3 trillion tax cut that was not paid for” during the Bush administration. The White House also got into the act Monday. “I think what Senator Bunning has done has frustrated a lot of people across the political spectrum,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

As for Bunning, he continued his objection Monday while lashing out at an ABC News camera crew that followed him into a Senate elevator. “I’m not talking to anybody,” Bunning said as he kept journalists from joining him in an elevator reserved for senators. One network producer reported that Bunning gave him the middle finger.

 

Thank God for Jim Bunning.

No more entitlement spending.

Thank God for Jim Bunning (did I say that already?).

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