‘Tough Shit’

UPDATE from David Waldman:

Never mind! The Senate appears to have adjourned for the weekend. Bunning has won for the day, and Durbin’s threat has shockingly failed to materialize at all. The extent of Bunning’s punishment: he missed prime time TeeVee last night.

Enjoy your weekend. Maybe the DSCC will call you for money this evening!

How do I put this? It’s a well-known Beltway fact that Jim Bunning is not only (to put it kindly) an intellectual lightweight, he’s taken one too many baseballs to the head. In other words, the man is nuts:

Via Huffington Post (h/t Somegirl):

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.

The unemployment rate in Kentucky is 10.7 percent.

Here’s this morning’s update:

Updated: Feb. 25, 10:46 p.m.

Retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) late Thursday launched a one-man crusade to block an extension of unemployment and COBRA insurance benefits, vowing to allow the benefit programs to expire Sunday unless Democrats agreed to pay for them with unused stimulus funds.

Bunning’s quixotic pursuit of deficit offsets at the potential expense of payments to unemployed or uninsured citizens enraged Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and other Democrats, who vowed to keep the chamber in session until Bunning relents or collapses.

A senior Democratic leadership aide said Durbin would ask for unanimous consent to pass the extensions without Bunning’s payment scheme every half hour for the foreseeable future. “We’re going to keep doing it until we break him,” the aide said.

Democratic and Republican aides agreed that Bunning’s decision was made unilaterally, noting that Bunning and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have essentially not been on speaking terms for more than a year.

“McConnell doesn’t have any sway over him,” a senior Democratic aide said, and GOP aides stressed Bunning’s opposition is not a coordinated GOP position.

Indeed, Republican and Democratic aides said McConnell and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) worked out a deal Wednesday under which Reid would allow Bunning to offer an amendment requiring the extensions be paid for prior to approving them.

But Bunning rejected that deal because it was all but certain that a majority of the Senate would handily defeat the amendment.

11 thoughts on “‘Tough Shit’

  1. EPU’ed.
    according to DKos, the dems are lettin ghim get away with it:

    Bunning’s filibuster angered Democrats, most notably Durbin, who organized a group of the chamber’s younger Democrats Thursday night to man the floor for a potential all-night session.

    But after three hours of often heated debate — during which Bunning could be heard yelling obscenities at other lawmakers — Durbin dropped his efforts for the evening shortly before midnight.

    So they had him to the point where he was shouting obscentities on the Senate floor and decided… to let him go home for a good night’s sleep.


    He probably slept a hell of a lot better than the Kentuckians who are out of work and depending on those benefits, I can tell you that. No word on whether Senate Democrats actually tucked him in.


  2. Yes, but they didn’t make him sustain a filibuster through the night. And through the weekend. Why not?

  3. Perhaps a bigger plan in the making?
    Per CNN today:
    “If the short-term extension is not approved this weekend, Senate Democrats will look to introduce legislation next week that pushes back the deadline as much as a year, an aide said.”

  4. Also though, per CNN:
    “Once a new deadline is approved, however, the jobless would be able to reapply for federal benefits, though they would not receive missed payments.”

    Will today’s check be the last one for a while???!!!
    I’m on the latest of the late Federal Extensions……crap.
    Just yesterday got our mortgage temporarily modified (cut in half! yay!) so that ought to help….

    Sigh. Just all so depressing. Thanks for yesterday’s post on the dangers of isolationism and depression, especially for those (like me) without healthcare.
    It somehow lifted me up and made me feel not so alone and shitty about myself…

  5. Dutch,

    Thirty weeks on average to find a new job – and that’s the average. We aren’t creating nearly enough new jobs to cover the people who have lost theirs and the people who are entering the market for the first time.

    This just is what it is. It took me six months to find a part time retail job. And some weeks I only get six hours.

    Don’t feel crappy. Feel angry. This was all preventable.

  6. Dutch: Check with your state’s web site for instructions on what to do. Do you report through the web site or by phone? (Just asking because they should have information either on-line or on the phone line about what to do.) In NYS, we are told to keep reporting each week, then when the extension comes through we’re up to date. Don’t get benefits retroactively but they can start up again without having to reapply.

  7. PurpleGirl:
    Not sure what you mean by ‘report’. In California we get bi-weekly checks and stubs to fill out (have you been looking for work?? etc)
    Extensions these days get filed automatically – you don’t have to do anything.
    It seems that if you’re already collecting on a FED-ED claim it will continue. You’re not able to apply for a next one. I’m on my last one as is, my DM is on her first state extension, I believe.

    Lori – I do indeed feel incredibly angry, don’t get me wrong. But anger sometimes eats away at you, some days more than others.

  8. Dutch — I’ve been out for over a year. Interesting that CA is doing things on paper. NYS has computerized as much of the process as they can. You can apply on-line, by phone or in person at an office. Each week you have to answer those questions about your status (report in); again on-line or by phone. In the beginning there are some in-person interviews with state workers but the weekly reporting is all computerized now. The benefit money is either direct deposited into your checking account or put on an electronic benefit card. The short federal extensions drive me crazy because when they pass them and when they are effective insure that there is a gap in the coverage and therefore a week or two when you don’t get any benefit. So, one extension ends for me this Sunday and then….

  9. Ever since the election campaign of 2008 I have gotten mail from Democrats asking for money.

    I stopped giving weeks ago.

    Or maybe it was months.

    I can support a losing team.

    But not a team that consistently throws the game.

    Maybe I’ll vote in the midterms.

    And maybe not.

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