Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.
As Democratic senators asked again and again for unanimous consent for a vote on a 30-day extension Thursday night, Bunning refused to go along.
And when Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) begged him to drop his objection, Politico reports, Bunning replied: "Tough shit."
Bunning says he doesn't oppose extending benefits -- he just doesn't want the money that's required added to the deficit. He proposes paying for the 30-day extension with stimulus funds. The Senate's GOP leadership did not support him in his objections.
And at one point during the debate, which dragged on till nearly midnight, Bunning complained of missing a basketball game.
"I have missed the Kentucky-South Carolina game that started at 9:00," he said,
"and it's the only redeeming chance we had to beat South Carolina since they're the only team that has beat Kentucky this year.
There's not really a whole lot to add to this that blogger LaFeminista hasn't touched upon today in her post.
Furthermore, this idiocy continued until late:
At 11:36 p.m., Durbin tried one final time to offer a unanimous-consent request to pass the 30-day extension. Bunning objected, and Durbin consented to a motion for adjournment after Corker and Bunning had a few more minutes to speak.
They will adjourn Friday morning, but the world’s greatest deliberative body will not vote until Tuesday morning – two days after the unemployment benefits have expired. There's no agreement yet for a vote on the package, but the Senate begins debating next week an extension of expiring tax breaks that could become a vehicle for the package.
One of many things that frustrate me - continuously, relentlessly - is the democrats inability to capitalize on these kind of telling statements and actions from Republicans. This is not just Jim Bunning speaking. The silence of the party and the accolades this man received this morning from Kyl and others speaks volumes about their concern for the "common people."
Republicans don't care about us. They show us this every day. Their "performance" at the healthcare summit was grotesque. But the real question is -- will it break through the clutter?
Corporations. The rich and connected. Their own. They have no interest in helping anyone outside of these three categories. What will it take for the conservative middle and lower class to see that?