[Guest post by DRJ]
“Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning has been demonized in the media a lot lately.
CNN has been running a crawl that reads, “Thousands hurt by one senator.” Ticket has described him as a goat. He has been blamed for the furlough of 2,000 workers at the Transportation Department. From the podium of the Obama White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denounced him. Even Bunning’s Republican colleagues have pleaded with him to stop objecting to a stop-gap measure that protects the unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans afloat.”
Here’s another example:
“The bill to extend unemployment benefits and COBRA coverage was blocked by Republican Senator Jim Bunning, an arch-reactionary from Kentucky who took advantage of a Senate rule requiring unanimous consent to bring the legislation to a vote before the weekend.
Bunning, who is not running for reelection, was contemptuous of the suffering that he was helping inflict on more than one million workers, including an estimated 60,000 from his home state. He demanded that Senate Democrats agree to pay for the extended benefits without creating new debt, and declared that his actions were intended “to send a message to the American people.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Richard Durbin repeatedly called the bill up for a vote. Each time it was blocked by Bunning’s voiced objection. But the Democratic Senate leaders declined to declare his action a filibuster and invoke cloture, although the required 60-vote majority would have been easily attainable.
Under Senate rules, cloture would have led to 30 hours of debate on the bill, followed by a vote. This process would have avoided the cutoff of benefits, but would have caused senators to miss their flights home for the weekend.”
Who’s really being selfish — the lone Senator who wants Congress to pay for the benefits it hands out or the Democratic Senators who don’t want to miss their flights home?