Hyperbole, maybe but Jim Bunning is an abominable prick. Presented without commentary:
The federal government Monday began to furlough workers, jobless Americans faced disruption of their unemployment checks and health insurance, and doctors saw Medicare fees decline — all as a result of a one-man roadblock for a Senate spending bill.
Bunning, who is not seeking re-election this year, blocked a bill last week that would have provided a short-term extension for a bundle of federal funding programs that expired Monday. He used one of the Senate’s arcane procedural tactics to hold up the measure as a way of protesting against the federal deficit, which is projected to reach a record $1.56 trillion this year.
Bunning defended his action Monday on the Senate floor:
“If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for it, then we’re not going to pay for anything. The debt that we have arrived at, even the head of the Federal Reserve Bank, chairman (Ben) Bernanke, said it’s unsustainable.”
Senate leaders gave Bunning a final shot at allowing the unemployment insurance and COBRA health insurance extensions to go through Monday afternoon on the Senate floor, but he renewed his objection.
Most people already receiving extended unemployment benefits won’t be affected by the impasse. But in the unlikely event that the impasse lasts through March, about 1.1 million people would lose benefits.
Not exactly commentary, but here are a couple of points about Sen. Bunning that are worth noting.
- Sure he’s concerned about the debt. Know how you can tell? He voted for the Bush tax cut.
- He also voted for the Iraq war.
- He voted for Medicare Part D — a huge unfunded expansion.
We mustn’t forget, though, that obstructing a vote on unemployment benefits wasn’t easy for Bunning. As he’s quick to point out, in his efforts to prevent a vote on the measure, he had to miss the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game. As Jon Stewart said, “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.”
Vodpod videos no longer available.