Wednesday, March 3, 2010
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) has relented - giving up a filibuster that halted funding for an extension of unemployment benefits to Americans. His procedural move had also stopped some Transportation Department funding.
The Senate immediately passed an extension that will get the money - which expired Sunday night at midnight - back into the pipeline.
Bunning, a Hall of Fame Major League Baseball pitcher before he ran for office, did not, however, go quietly into the night. In a statement, the senator blasted the Democrats, who had pushed hard for him to end the filibuster, for first voting down an amendment that he had added to the bill which would have eliminated a tax credit paper companies enjoy. So in the end, he walked away with nothing, and so, the lame duck Bunning (he's not running for re-election) issued a statement blasting the other party.
"Democrats tonight showed their true colors by going back on their word on the agreement I had reached with Majority Leader Reid to have an up-or-down vote on my amendment to fully pay for the unemployment extension and other federal programs. Instead, Senate Democrats used a procedural gimmick so they would not have to vote on my pay-for amendment. What are they so afraid of?
"For too long Congresses controlled by both Republican and Democrat majorities have not done a good enough job of controlling the spending of the taxpayers’ money. My stand over the last couple of days was not against those Kentuckians who are on the unemployment line. I support the underlying legislation and support those who are out of work and need a helping hand. What I do not support is the hypocrisy displayed by Senate Democrats. Just over a month ago Democrats passed pay-go legislation and then turned around and waived it for the next two major pieces of legislation that were considered by the Senate. What was the point of passing pay-go legislation? If Democrats continue to ignore their own rules I will oppose future legislation that is not paid for."
Bunning's unpopular filibuster, which apparently was conducted without the backing of the GOP leadership, forced many Republican senators to distance themselves from him.