The Senate's Shame: Republican Senator Jim Bunning (UPDATED 9x)


Democrats are blithering, fucking cowards.

Bunning basically BLACKMAILED Dems, but rather than shaming him into submission, Senate Non-Leader Harry Reid & Senate Wimp Dick Durbin, caved. They're rewarding Bunning's shameful behavior by promising him things in order to get the vote. Rather than making him stand there 24/7 filibustering the motion, they're giving him thing's to avoid that kind of a fight -- I guess because that would mean showing some real backbone.

Via Roll Call:

Under increasing pressure from Democrats and members of his own party, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) Tuesday night abandoned his one-man filibuster of a one-month extension to unemployment benefits and other programs.

In the end Bunning agreed to a deal allowing him one vote on an amendment to pay for the bill’s $10 billion cost. That proposal was offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last Thursday at the start of his filibuster, but Bunning rejected it because he feared his amendment would not pass.

Reid has also agreed to give Bunning two votes on amendments to a larger, one-year extension bill that is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he was pleased a deal could be reached.



Dems seem poised to force Sen. Bunning into full fledged, ass stay on floor, filibuster via
Roll Call (h/t Jed):

Although no final decisions have been made, Democrats confirmed it is increasingly likely that Democrats will force Bunning into an actual filibuster of unemployment insurance extension Tuesday night by repeatedly offering up unanimous consent agreements to bring the bill to a vote.

Although Members often threaten actual filibusters, they rarely materialize. Instead, lawmakers tend to rely on "Cadillac filibusters," essentially stalling procedures that can be used to block legislation without having to actually stay put on the Senate floor.

Democrats on Tuesday signaled they have the resolve to remain in session throughout the night to force Bunning to abandon his cause. The American people "want an end to these games. And I hope that today we’ll see the end. If we don’t, we’re going to have to have a long, long night ahead of us to make the point that it’s wrong for one Senator to stop our people, our American people, from getting the help they deserve," Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.


If only they meant it.

Also, while covering for Keith Olbermann on last night's Countdown, Lawrence O’Donnell reported on Bunning’s obscene obstructionism and the ripple effects being felt across a whole host of other areas. The Nation’s Chris Hayes joined him.
Bunning obstructs Americans in need

Rachel Maddow had her own segment on Bunning last night as well:
Sen. Bunning punishes Americans to make a point


Via Crooks & Liars:

Dana Bash: It Could Take a Couple of Weeks for Democrats to Work Around Bunning's Obstruction

Now Dana Bash is reporting that it could take a couple of weeks for them to fix this unless Bunning caves in. Given his behavior today I don't see much hope of that happening.
UPDATE VI (3/2/10):

Via AmericaBlog:
Yesterday, Susan Collins was blaming Harry Reid for the Republican filibuster that took unemployment benefits away from millions of Americans.

Today, Susan Collins is stumbling over herself to help Harry Reid break the filibuster. Guess the pressure was a bit too much for Collins. So is she now a socialist too?

UPDATE V (3/1/10):

Via Crooks & liars:

He deserves to be voted into the Hall of Shame: Dirty Ballplayer, Dirty Senator.


Via AP: Senate gridlock triggers cut to doctors

Political gridlock in the Senate triggered a 21 percent cut in Medicare fees to doctors Monday, as the American Medical Association warned of a "meltdown" for seniors and the Obama administration scrambled to contain the damage.

Funding to temporarily stave off the cuts was part of a bill passed last week by the House. But the Senate failed to act on the one-month fix because Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky objected that the $10 billion measure would add to the deficit.


The Medicare cuts are the consequence of a 1990s deficit reduction measure that Congress has routinely waived over the years. But every time the cuts are postponed, they only get bigger in percentage terms, making a permanent fix more costly and difficult.

Rohack says the doctor cuts are a prime example of why postponing action won't work when it comes to high medical costs and millions of uninsured.

read more....

Via ABC (h/t AmericaBlog):
Sen. Bunning Single-handedly Causes 2,000 Federal Worker Furloughs

ABC News' Lisa Stark reports: Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) didn't just stop extensions of unemployment and health insurance benefits with his "hold' on these funding measures last week, he also stopped an extension of the Highway Trust Fund for 30 days. That means the fund cannot be used to pay for any of its programs or its employees.

So, the Department of Transportation as of Monday morning, must furlough 2,000 federal workers. DOT says that number could climb if this stalemate over funding drags on. Employees affected include federal inspectors overseeing highway projects on federal lands. If the inspectors aren't there, the projects must shut down. DOT says that will affect 41 critical construction projects from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“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,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed.”


Via TPM:
Bunning Blockade Leads To 21 Percent Pay Cut To Doctors
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors--and by standing in it's way, he's triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

Republicans overwhelmingly support a temporary measure to avoid the cuts, but the Senate has failed to act on a House bill that staves them off because of Bunning's objections.


Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning angrily dismisses reporters asking him about his efforts to block benefits for unemployed workers:

Here's a little more behind the scene info on this elevator incident via an ABC News producer Twitter a/c:

Here's reporter Jon Karl tweeting about it:

Lawrence O’Donnell, filling in for Keith Olbermann on Friday night’s Countdown, along with Mother Jones magazine’s David Corn, takes on nutter Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning for blocking the extension of unemployment and health care assistant benefits that are expiring today.
Senator takes out anger on unemployed

DKTV's Jed produced this video of Bunning's obstruction:

More on Bunning's actions from Talking Points Memo: Bunning: My Obstruction Of Unemployment Extension Made Me Miss My Basketball Game

As well as from the Political Carnival: Sen. Jim Bunning holds up unemployment insurance and Cobra extensions on Senate floor: 'Tough s--t'

And Huffington Post: Jim Bunning Repeatedly Blocks Unemployment Benefits Extension, Tells Dem 'Tough Shit'

And Politico: Nancy Pelosi slams Jim Bunning's one-man filibuster:
"It is really hard to understand why one senator in the United States Senate is holding up the extension of unemployment insurance at this time," said Pelosi. "But he is, and I'm pleased that the Senate Democrats are trying to make a move to dislodge that."
This video of Robert Gibbs' reaction is via Mediaite: Robert Gibbs on Jim Bunning’s ‘Tough Shit’ Declaration on Senate Floor

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