March 2nd, 2010
12:33 PM ET
8 years ago

Bunning block becomes lightning rod in Kentucky

 Sen. Jim Bunning’s decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits has drawn criticism from candidates looking to replace the Republican in the Senate.

Sen. Jim Bunning’s decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits has drawn criticism from candidates looking to replace the Republican in the Senate.

(CNN) - Sen. Jim Bunning's decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits has become a political lightning rod among the four major candidates who are seeking to fill the outgoing Kentucky Republican's Senate seat.

Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo, the two Democrats vying for their party's nomination to replace Bunning, have condemned Bunning's actions as they seek to resonate with the 120,000 Kentuckians who currently receive unemployment benefits. Conway, the state's attorney general, has called Bunning's block "outrageous" and posted a petition to register disapproval with the move on his Web site.

Mongiardo - the current lieutenant governor - is going one step further, holding rallies Tuesday outside of Bunning's offices in Louisville and Lexington. Kim Geveden, Mongiardo's communications director, told CNN the campaign had invited Conway to attend the rallies, though Conway declined. Conway is currently in Washington, DC for official business, according to a spokeswoman.

It's a different story on the Republican side, where the two candidates battling for the party's Senate nomination are heralding Bunning's move as a prudent act of conservatism. Rand Paul, a doctor and son of Texas Rep. Ron Paul called attacks on Bunning "unfair" and is holding his own rally in support of Bunning in front of the senator's Lexington office at 3 p.m. ET. Trey Grayson, Kentucky's secretary of state, who's battling Paul, has also applauded Bunning's move.

Video of protesters in Louisville, Kentucky after the jump:

The Senate adjourned last week without approving extensions of cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed after Bunning blocked the measure by insisting that Congress first pay for the $10 billion package. The extension needed unanimous consent to pass because Democrats have labeled it an emergency spending measure.

Bunning has said he simply doesn't want to add to the deficit while Democrats argue that, because it is an emergency measure, the bill should not be subject to new rules requiring that legislation not expand the deficit.

As a result of the Senate's inaction, many jobless people were no longer able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy as of Monday.

Filed under: Daniel Mongiardo • Jack Conway • Jim Bunning • Rand Paul • Trey Grayson
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Jilli

    It's obvious that Bunning just doesn't give a sh|t.

    And the other republicans remain silent. Very telling. Very pathetic.

    March 2, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Angus McDugan

    It may sound incompassionate, but it is the right thing to do. We must get our financial house in order less we risk our republic!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Todd

    If bunning had been a voice against the disasterous bush tax cuts, any of them, if he had not supported attacking Iraq on borrowed money, if he had not blocked the creation only two weeks ago of a committee to reign in the deficit and tackle long term debt issues, then he woulod be a man of principle. Since he did none of those things he is a skeevy hypocrit who is keeping fod from the bellies of hungry American children so that he can shine a political spotlight on himself.

    March 2, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. profadrock

    Great!!! Anger him more and more and more. This is real journalism. A great deal of our country's problem is due to the death of investigative and confrontational journalism....

    March 2, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. SocialismBad

    WAY TO GO JIM BUNNING!!!! Stick to your guns and force these hypocrit Democrats to live by the rules THEY MADE. NO SPENDING AND BORROWING AND DRIVING US TO BANKRUPTCY!

    Let the Democrats CUT ONE OF THEIR PORK BARREL PROJECTS to pay fo this bill! It is clear the Democrats have NO INTENTION of abiding by ANY rules or spending restrictions. This is why all these fools need to get thrown out next November.

    March 2, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Tampa Bill

    What a great way to not add to the deficit.

    Isn't Bunning the same guy that allowed Bush to create the deficit and financial disaster we have anyway ?

    Remember the days of Democrat Bill Clinton – Surpluses and the deficit being paid down. Oh those were the days.

    Guess Bunning is so removed from his constituents he doesnt know all the people collecting unemployment benefits.

    March 2, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Colleen

    This makes me sick!! Where were these Rupukes when my only son a Marine was sent to Iraq in a wrong headed decision against a country that didnt harm us and had no wmd and wasn't and still isnt paid for. Or when he voted to give the rich a tax break at the same time the war wasnt paid for. Dont allow families to feed their kids but by God give the rich more $ and send our kids into harms way. I pray there is God and a judgement day!! He's a hypocrit of the worst kind

    March 2, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Marcus Tate

    Anybody still wonder they are referred to as the 'PARTY OF NO'? And does anybody think this will not come back to them come November?

    March 2, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    I wonder if there are any poor, ignorant, unemployed Republicans out there who are going to applaud Bunning's stand.

    March 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. Mattison Brooks in Virginia

    The man doesn't want to spend anymore money. Fine by me.
    Frankly, I don't care that the money is being put towards jobless benefits. Why should anyone have to pay for anyone other than themselves? Thats just common-sense. If everyone pays for their own food, housing and education, they will live exactly within their means, whatever that may look like.

    This isn't Europe, or Russia. I don't want to pay for my neighbor and I have the right to want to be a greedy S.O.B if thats my perogative. The difference is, I'm a college student who is graduating in May and I don't want to have to pick up someone elses tab, on top of my own.

    Again, this is just common sense. But what do I know? I'm just a college student.

    March 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    See? Told you. It's all theater. Bunning's move was safe for him because (a) he's not running for re-election and (b) everyone thinks he's a jack-ss anyway. It was safe for the other GOPers who are already in Congress, because now they get the delay and free advertising of conservative ideology that they want and also get to pretend their hands are clean ("oh, gee, I don't know what to say...he makes his own decisions" if one of them really left the GOP partisan congo line). And now, this article brings up another reason for it: since Bunning isn't running, they needed a firestorm issue for his potential replacements to latch onto in order to polarize the Kentucky voting pool. It's all very simple...and none of it has to do with what lies in the best interests of the American people...just the GOP and its 2010 and 2012 campaigns.

    March 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Ted

    Why is everyone angry at Sen. Bunning?

    You should be angry at Congress and pressure them to cut the $10B from somewhere else.

    Sen. Bunning is simply saying that new spending initiatives need to be balanced by spending cuts elsewhere. Not a lot to ask. That's how households do it, that's how businesses do it.

    We cannot keep extending our limit on the Beijing VISA card.

    March 2, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Dutch/BAd Newz, VA

    Rand Paul and Trey Grayson are for 120,000 people unemployed. That's the way I look at it. Why haven't they called Sen. Bunning out on his hypocrisy? Why all of a sudden is he a "pay as you go" type of guy? This is not the time for politics.

    March 2, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. OBS.

    What a rotton human being. He is the lowest of the republican snakes. I hope some one slaps him in the face just to let him know he can feel pain, albeit not the pain the people who have lost unemployment checks/ health insurance and been laid off their jobs feel. Why aren't we the people marching on Washington, writing, e mailing, calling, faxing, yelling and screaming that this jerk should not get a pay check either???? What a low life, even for a republican..

    March 2, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Mike,Albany

    Bunning is just another crass politician and an embarassment to whatever is left of American political decorum. He will not make a single important contribution to society or the greater good, and he will be forgotten soon after he leaves office. His will be just another wasted career and wasted life. In short, he is a true mediocrity like 99.99% of our politicians. True greatness in politics requires creativity, intellect, diplomacy, and it requires those who would be great to remember this basic fact: Public service is a privilege; it is NOT an entitlement.

    March 2, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Dano

    So let's see if I understand this: Sen. Bunning voted against the jobs bill, which would have created jobs for the unemployed or saved existing jobs, AND he's holding up extension of unemployment & insurance benefits for these same people. Why does he hate working class America so much? Maybe it's because he's never had to actually "work" for a living. I'd bet if the Dems would throw in some tax cuts for the wealthy Bunning would be able to support the bill, don't you think?

    March 2, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. OldUncleTom

    I think retired athletes are better suited to selling insurance or used cars.

    Sen Bunning simply reinforces this belief for me.

    REPEAL XVII. You can bet the Kentucky legislature would not have sent this bozo to Washington. To be fair, both sides of the aisle have had more clowns than statesmen since 1913, when America broke the Senate.

    March 2, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. one voice

    The leadership and stance against the average American by the Republicans is OUTRAGEOUS. Who in their right mind would ever back this kind of selfishness by the obstructionist GOP. The failed policies of the Bush Administration brought on this near depression and WE actually would allow them to take control again?

    March 2, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Lisa

    I'm a Republican (moderate) and I think this guy's a selfish idiot. He's retiring so he knows he doesn't have to worry about not getting re-elected. It shows how little he really cares about the people of this state or this country. I think this is typical of most Senators...they "get theirs' and don't really care about the "little people". No wonder people are so fed up with Congress.

    March 2, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Rod

    Rule of thumb in the military....Never raise a problem without also offering a solution. Instead of filibuster, why doesn't Sen. Bunning offer a solution?

    March 2, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Tulsa

    Where was the "fiscal conservative" when the bills were piling up over the Iraq war?
    He wasw ok with sending BILLIONS in cash to Iraq, with no strings attached....... money we had to borrow from China, but he won't lift a finger to help AMERICANS.
    This is why I will NEVER vote for another Republican.
    Liars and traitors, every one.

    March 2, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. ART

    So i have to ask what is the alterative soup kitchens, Republicans are the nastiest people,give tax breaks to the big business and screw the working class. Wake up America

    March 2, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Rickster

    Bunning is correct. How are we going to pay for it? It's a simple question and one that Washington, and especially this administration, needs to start asking. Not asking the question is what has gotten us into the mess that we are in. Is there any accountability any more??

    March 2, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Jack

    I just become a Democrat.

    March 2, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. NadineCA

    There are ways for Bunning to prove his point without hurting the people he says he trying to protect. This guy is a bully, not a hero. He's only grandstanding because it's not directly effecting him and doesn't care he's making people sicker, hungrier, and aiding in job loss by doing this at this point and time. If he had any honor at all he would have said and done something without harming thy neighbor in the process.

    March 2, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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