Senator Jim Bunning blocking benefit extension!!!!

Discussion in 'Economics' started by S2007S, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. S2007S


    Of course he is for the extension, however he doesn't like how the extension is going to be paid. I'm sure though by the end of this week a decision will be made to extend it another 1000 weeks for everyone. Without these extensions tens of thousands will be losing their benefits on a daily basis and by June Millions of people will have nothing left, do you really think they are going to let this happen in this booming, recession free economy.

    March 1, 2010
    Dems rip GOP senator for blocking jobless benefits extension
    Posted: March 1st, 2010 03:33 PM ET

    Washington (CNN) - Top Democrats tore into one of their Republican counterparts Monday for blocking an extension of unemployment benefits that would provide assistance to millions of jobless Americans.

    The Senate adjourned last week without approving extensions of cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed after Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, blocked the measure by insisting that Congress first pay for the $10 billion package.

    Bunning, who is retiring at the end of this year, said he doesn't oppose extending the programs - he just doesn't want to add to the deficit. Democrats claim the bill is an emergency measure that should not be subject to new rules requiring that legislation not expand the deficit.

    As a result of the Senate's inaction, many jobless people starting Monday were no longer able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.

    "The irony of all this is we're out trying to fill that (financial) hole created by the (recession) which cost 8 million people" their jobs, Vice President Joe Biden said. "At a time when so many families are in so much pain
    we shouldn't be shutting the few valves of relief. ... We should be opening that spigot a little wider not shutting it down."

    Bunning, in turn, took to the Senate floor to bemoan what he characterized as a growing lack of fiscal responsibility.

    "If we can't find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of the U.S. Senate," he said.

    Bunning's remarks prompted an immediate response from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

    "Where was my friend from Kentucky when we had two wars that were unpaid for during the Bush administration?" he asked. Reid also mentioned the Bush administration tax cuts, which Democrats have said are unpaid for.

    "We don't need lectures here on debt" from the GOP, he said. "There are poor people all over America who are desperate today."

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Bunning had "frustrated a lot of people ... across the spectrum."

    Federal unemployment benefits kick in after the basic state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. During the downturn, Congress has approved up to an additional 73 weeks, which it funds.

    These federal benefit weeks are divided into tiers, and the jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.

    Because the Senate did not act, the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

    That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that income. In total, more than a million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

    Lawmakers repeatedly tried to approve a 30-day extension this week, but each time Bunning has prevented the measure from passing.

    Several other programs aside from unemployment and health benefits are affected by the legislative spat, including federal flood insurance, satellite TV licensing, and small business loans.

    The stalled bill also would provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which is a federal fund set up to pay for transportation projects nationwide.

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday that up to 2,000 employees at the Transportation Department will be sent home without pay as a result of Bunning's decision to hold up the bill.

    "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 news release. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed."

    According to two Democratic aides on the Senate floor Thursday night, Bunning muttered "tough s-" as Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, criticized Bunning's stance on the package.

    CNN's Dana Bash tried to get Bunning to comment more extensively on the controversy on Monday. But the senator "got very angry," she said.

    "Excuse me," the agitated senator told Bash while entering a Senate elevator. "I need to get to the (Senate) floor."
  2. Bunning is THE MAN.
  3. I agree with Bunning. The "emergency measure" loophole needs to be closed before too many items are declared emergencies. As Reid mentioned, Bunning should have spoken up years earlier, though.
  4. The Burning Man

  5. Arnie


    This is the first budget item to be considered since Obama signed "pay go" in Feb. If they can't stomach this on a $10 billion bill, how are they going to tackle the really big budget items. Oh, wait, I know.....raise taxes

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to get around Sen. Jim Bunning's objections to a $10 billion jobless aid bill by moving straight to the much-larger $100 billion permanent version of the bill this week, sources told Fox News.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to get around Sen. Jim Bunning's objections to a $10 billion jobless aid bill by moving straight to the much-larger $100 billion permanent version of the bill this week, sources told Fox News on Monday.

    The Kentucky Republican had objected to the smaller, stopgap bill over concerns about its effect on the budget deficit. That objection threatened unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans and, according to the Department of Transportation, triggered the furlough Monday of 2,000 transportation workers -- since the bill would have also extended federal highway and transit programs. Federal transit money, however, is included in the $15 billion jobs bill that passed the Senate and is awaiting approval in the House.

    The stopgap measure also cut Medicare reimbursements to doctors by 21 percent, since it also funded the so-called "doctor fix" that adds to the deficit.

    In his objection, Bunning said had Reid not blown up the bipartisan jobs bill into separate parts, the temporary measure would have been affordable.

    But Republican Senate sources said Reid plans to move directly to the permanent version of the bill which, for procedural reasons, Bunning cannot block.

    Republicans were planning to fall in line with the stopgap measure despite Bunning's objections provided Democrats pay for it with unspent stimulus money. Reid is expected to reject that.

    Though Democrats, including Vice President Biden, have slammed Bunning for blocking the temporary version of the bill, one source told Fox News it's unlikely anyone will lose out on unemployment benefits.

    "The administration is supposedly able to finagle some accounts for (approximately) two weeks in order to not allow a lapse in any coverage. The nuances are pretty in the weeds," the Senate source said.

    The permanent bill is expected to pass, but Republicans may not be happy about it considering the Senate just passed a bill requiring Congress to pay for legislation as it comes up, commonly referred to as PAYGO.

    Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., suggested on "Fox News Sunday" that while he supported Bunning's objection to the $10 billion package, that was small potatoes compared to the permanent extension.

    "This is a temporary extension. It's over $10 billion. And all Senator Bunning was saying, quite correctly, is it ought to be paid for. Congress just passed the so-called pay-go legislation which is supposed to require that we find offsets or other savings if we're going to spend money," Kyl said. "We exempt this bill from it. ... The question for the longer term extension is a different issue, because that's well over $100 billion."
  6. We need to accept that there is a day one to playing by principles.

    And do not call that hypocritical.
  7. Jim Bunning, still not afraid to come inside with the hard high one. He and Tom Coburn should start their own party. On second thought, maybe they should just switch to the Tea Party.

    (For those of you too young to know what I'm blathering about, Bunning was a star MLB pitcher back in the day.)
  8. cstfx


  9. Bunning is absolutely right. In this economic environment, any and all discretionary spending, can be labeled by deficit insensitive, statist Democrats, as "emergency." 10 billion today, another trillion a year down the road.
  10. Bunning only has the balls to do this because the Republican Senate leadership have basically kicked him out of the party and most definitely taken his senate seat away by not supporting him for re-election. He has nothing to lose.
    #10     Mar 1, 2010