Senator Jim Bunning: Hero? Or Asshole? - U2 Feedback

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Hero 6 15.38%
Asshole 33 84.62%
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #1
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Senator Jim Bunning: Hero? Or Asshole?

G.O.P. Splits on Senator’s Move to Block Benefits - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The effort to end a Senate standoff over unemployment benefits and health coverage for the jobless escalated on Tuesday morning as Senator Susan Collins, the moderate Republican from Maine, became the latest lawmaker, and the first Republican, to try to override the objection of Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky.

The White House, meanwhile, called Mr. Bunning’s actions “irrational.”
Ms. Collins, who took the floor shortly after the Senate convened, said her effort was being made on “behalf of numerous members of the Republican caucus who have expressed concerns to me.”
“There are 500 Mainers whose benefits expired on Sunday,” Ms. Collins said. But Mr. Bunning, her colleague, continued to lodge his objection.
The effort by a Republican to end Mr. Bunning’s fight showed that the intensifying dispute is become a serious distraction in the Senate and a political liability for Republicans.
The White House spokesman’s criticism was couched in unusually strong language at a time when the administration is trying to be seen as searching for bipartisan comity.
“I don’t know how you negotiate with the irrational,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters at an informal morning briefing. “I don’t know how you prevent one person who decides they hold in the palm of their hand the livelihood of hundreds of thousands who have lost their jobs.”
Mr. Bunning has single-handedly blocked consideration of a bill to extend expiring unemployment and related health benefits for 30 days, arguing that the Senate should first find a way to pay for the expense. Democrats, including President Obama, have hailed new rules they adopted called pay-go that are intended to prevent new spending without offsetting spending cuts or tax increases, but they are not subjecting this bill to those rules.
“If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for it, we’re not going to pay for anything,” Mr. Bunning said on the floor on Monday.
Mr. Gibbs defended not applying the pay-go rules to this legislation, saying “this is an emergency situation.”
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, again urged Mr. Bunning to reconsider, saying his push to pay for the $10 billion costs of the added coverage out of stimulus money had been heard.
“His point has been made,” Mr. Reid said.
The impasse has threatened transportation projects and some other programs, as the United States Department of Transportation said it furloughed 2,000 workers on Monday. With no quick resolution in sight, Democrats characterized the decision by one Republican to block the jobless aid and highway construction financing as an example of the practical consequences of regular opposition by Senate Republicans.
Senator Bunning, who is insisting on a point of parliamentary procedure to block the legislation, offered to lift his objection if an agreement was made to use unspent economic stimulus money to cover the $10 billion cost of the unemployment aid, which would go to those who have already exhausted their benefits.
“We cannot keep adding to the debt,” Mr. Bunning said Monday. “It’s over $14 trillion and going up fast.”
But Democrats said that Republicans had not been concerned about requiring Bush administration initiatives to be paid for and that the unemployment aid amounted to an emergency.
The loss of highway money could be resolved this week if the House passes a separate $15 billion measure meant to spur job creation, but some of the programs tied up in the Senate blockade, like a cut in Medicare fees paid to doctors, could take a while to disentangle.
Democrats are compiling state-by-state lists of the impact of the Senate impasse, viewing it as a vivid way to talk about the costs of Republican opposition. And Ms. Collins’s contribution to that tactic showed that to some degree, Republicans were worried, too.
Department of Transportation officials said the temporary furlough without pay would primarily affect workers at the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Those programs were paid for out of the highway trust fund, which needs to be renewed.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the furloughs would halt at least 40 major construction projects around the nation because inspectors would be pulled from jobs on federal land.
“As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country,” Mr. LaHood said.
Besides the highway spending, other programs that expired as of Sunday night included loans for small businesses, the federal flood insurance program, subsidies to help the unemployed buy health insurance and an agreement that allows satellite television services to carry some broadcast channels.
A law shielding doctors from a 21 percent cut in Medicare fees also lapsed, but the Obama administration took steps to shield doctors temporarily. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would hold claims for services provided in the first 10 days of this month, so doctors would not see the cut in payments.
In a notice to doctors, the Medicare agency said it was working with Congress to avoid disruption in the delivery of health care services and payment of claims. If Congress takes action by March 12, it said, the holding of claims “should have a minimum impact on provider cash flow.”
What Mr. Bunning is doing is using his right as a senator to object to a request for unanimous consent to pass the series of program extensions already approved by the House. Democrats could begin the process of bringing the measure to a vote to override his objection, but they say that could consume days and they have already opened debate on a broader economic bill.
Mr. Bunning had been acting on his own in blocking the Democratic request to pass the legislation extending the programs for one month while Congress worked on a more permanent solution. But on Monday he drew some support from fellow Republicans who backed his demand that the costs of the programs be covered from unspent economic stimulus funds.
“Why pile on the deficit if we have this store of money available?” asked Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, who suggested that Democrats were eliciting repeated objections from Mr. Bunning to score political points.
Unless Mr. Bunning relents, it appears that the added unemployment pay will lapse for tens of thousands of people.
The broader measure the Senate is now considering would extend the added unemployment benefits and health insurance help through the end of the year and renew more than $30 billion in business tax breaks. But it could take days to pass the Senate and then will have to be considered by the House.















I kinda see his point, but I don't think this is the time or the situation to decide you want to start actually giving a shit about how congress spends money. If it were myriad other situation, sure, go get'em, Tiger. But this is unemployment for 400k people, of which Bunning is as guilty of doing nothing to prevent as anyone.


I say: ASSHOLE.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:49 PM   #2
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HUGE asshole. Class warfare is the biggest social problem in the US, way ahead of race, politics or religion, and this just contributes to that even more.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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asshole.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
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Asshole.

He's been an asshole for a long time, though, so it's not at all unexpected.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:06 PM   #5
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Big old asshole
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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He has a track record for being an asshole.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #7
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It's all been downhill since then.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:20 PM   #8
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I also enjoyed how he complained about missing the Kentucky-South Carolina game because of his obstruction.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:29 PM   #9
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Complete A-Hole!!!!!!!! I knew he had another motive: use that money for what he is interested in! He Needs to retire....and go away!!
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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if it was a tax cut....
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:21 PM   #11
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Hero, if for no other reason than he's pissing off all the right people.

Now, to the point, what's one good reason why the bill can't be paid for from the 4 or 5 hundred billion dollars worth of unspent stimulus money?
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
Hero, if for no other reason than he's pissing off all the right people.
no wonder you lot are a laughing stock.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:40 PM   #13
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Hero, if for no other reason than he's pissing off all the right people.
Those that don't celebrate ignorance? He's pissing off a lot of Republicans too, but only the non-tea bagging kind, so I guess that's your point...

You're predictable yet entertaining
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
Hero, if for no other reason than he's pissing off all the right people.

Now, to the point, what's one good reason why the bill can't be paid for from the 4 or 5 hundred billion dollars worth of unspent stimulus money?


i guess i might switch my vote.

hero, for being the public face of the GOP jumping the shark.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:06 PM   #15
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I was off work today because of this guy, and will likely be off tomorrow, as the entire Federal Highway Administration is now furloughed because of this.

I honestly would rather be at me desk working than sitting on my ass waiting for congress to reign this guy in, but hey, who needs the Interstate system, right?
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