Friday, February 26, 2010

Jim Bunning Blocks Extension of Unemployment Benefits

If you're out of work and counting on unemployment (5.4 million are), you can thank Kentucky's Jim Bunning, a republican, for not getting an extension of your unemployment benefits. They expire Sunday. Watch Bunning here. He's pretty weird. Why did he vote against extending benefits?
The senator, who is not running for reelection, wants to quit running up the national debt.

"We have run up $5 trillion in debt. There has to be a time to stop that," he said on the floor of the Senate Friday. CSM

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The Senate failed Friday to extend programs for laid-off workers, jeopardizing unemployment benefits scheduled to expire over the weekend.

The benefits are part of a larger package of government programs, from highway funding to loans for small businesses, set to expire Sunday because senators couldn't agree on how to pay to keep them going.

The House passed a bill Thursday extending the programs for one month while lawmakers consider how to address the issues long-term. Senate Democrats repeatedly tried to follow suit Thursday night and Friday morning, but they couldn't overcome the objections of a single lawmaker, Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, that the $10 billion bill would add to the budget deficit. WaPo
Gibbs on Bunning:
Gibbs called the legislation "a very common-sense proposal" and criticized Bunning for having supported the short-term extensions in the past. He also had little tolerance for Bunning's use of the phrase "tough s---" during Senate debate on the issue and complaining that because of it he was missing the Kentucky-South Carolina basketball game.

"These are the type of games that the American people fail to understand," Gibbs said, adding that he hopes Bunning has "more encouraging words" than "tough s---" for those who will be impacted when these benefits expire. Politico