*** Republican Senator flies the hand eagle middle finger to the unemployed, families, children and a reporter who asked for his comment about how to explain his wrong action to families in need.
*** UPDATE after the video:
From Denny: Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning blocks extension of unemployment benefits to 400,000 - literally taking food out of the mouths of hungry children whose parents are depending upon the extension of unemployment benefits. The economy is equal to the time of The Great Depression when 20% of the country was unemployed. Today we call it underemployed; the underemployed figure is far higher, explaining the reason for bankruptcies across the nation. He's acting as a one man blockade by placing a hold on a short term $10 billion spending bill he doesn't like.
This year, because of his years of bizarre behavior, even his own Republican Party begged him NOT to run again; he did against their wiser objections. In 2006 Time Magazine named him five of the worst Senators in America. His reputation in the Senate is that of an arrogant, vicious man of mean temper, certainly not suited to the role of governing as a "cooler heads should prevail" Senator as the Founding Fathers originally intended for the Senate.
Because of his action: over 2,000 federal department of transportation workers are furloughed without pay, drunk driving programs, highway projects and extension of unemployment benefits to over 400,000 people are stopped and now expired. Work projects across the nation are affected by his action. What are these people supposed to do to pay their bills?
What else has been triggered by his action? A 21% decrease in Medicare fees paid to doctors for one. Even though his action can only last a few days at best, the long term effects are lingering for the unemployed as they try to catch up on their bills. The federal government spends more too - so his claim of watching spending is a joke.
One man affects the lives of thousands of people who now can't pay their bills or house notes and may end up in foreclosure as a result of his selfish act. How is that? The unemployed will not receive their unemployment monies from the days lost to this Senatorial hold by Bunning. So, if it goes on for 10 days then the unemployed lose one third of that month's benefits. This is one dastardly Republican strategy for sure.
He claims he's interested in talking about how to pay for this bill. The reality is he's cavalier with people's lives. This bill could not have gotten this far into the process unless the funds were there. So, his claimed reason is nonsense.
UPDATE: 2 March 2010 - Fellow Senators and a jittery Republican Party convinced Senator Bunning to release his hold late tonight. The hold was in effect almost a week, far longer than the usual three days.
Several fellow Republican Senators like Senator Susan Collins of Maine who urged Bunning to end his holdout stance, reconsidering his demands. Sensing the public outrage and karmic backlash, Collins remarked on the Senate floor, "I hope that we can act together for the American people."
Senator Bunning struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader, Senator Reid, to end his blockade. The bill has proceeded with a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits. That much is good news.
However, we could end up back here on the same Ground Hog Day time loop scenario with Senator Bunning. He has promised to filibuster the bill unless the Senate makes spending cuts elsewhere to supposedly pay for it. If that were true, then why all the drama? He could have allowed the bill to reach this point and then filibuster. Why the two step drama? Can you tell I don't trust what his lips are saying?
For now the bill also included COBRA subsidies for health insurance gap coverage of the unemployed as they look for jobs, authorization for higher pay for Medicare doctors and funding for federal highway programs. The vote passed on an astounding score of 78 - 19.
What's the deal Senator Reid struck with Senator Bunning to get this vote moved along? He agreed to allow a vote on a measure to offset the bill's $10 billion cost by slashing other programs. It's believed this off-set measure will fail, causing the unemployment extension to not get properly funded.
So where does a sore loser go? Senator Bunning's newest misery project to force taxpayers to pay more for so-called scaled down government is to, well, hold up the workings of the government - again.
This time his sticky fingers are placing holds on ALL of President Obama's several dozen presidential nominations. I guess the Republicans find this drama to be equally as funny as the last one. They have one sick sense of humor.
As it is, the result of this current Senator Bunning temper tantrum has already created nasty consequences for thousands of people who did not receive their unemployment benefits in time. A case in point is Joung Moon, an unemployed microbiologist in Texas. Her benefits just expired, and, with no unemployment check she is now forced to move out of her house.
"I don't know what's the next step," Moon grimaced as she told an ABC News reporter.
While there is the lag time of the bill waiting to be signed by the President, there are still people across America facing choices like Moon where there no longer are any choices. They can thank the Republican Party and their cavalier obstructionist darling, Senator Bunning, for kicking them when they were already down.
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