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. th

    He should be unemployed and see how he likes living on no money. It would never happen because he has enough money put away from the salary he is getting by screwing everyone else over.

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

    Republican Bunning just gave the Democrats a huge boost. He's the Democrats "ace-in-the-hole!! God love him!!

    March 2, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Tayo, NY

    Yes, I said it before!

    Politics is every where in America, not only in Washington DC!!

    People also play politics with human lives in Kentucky!!!

    I don't see reason why some politicians will support this man's behavior while 120000+ Kentucky indigenes will be facing the fight of there lives to keep their benefit!

    I hope people are listening! I just hope my people are listening!!

    March 2, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Sadie

    I hope the people that are for America and for the people of this country will stand up against this Senator stop the unemployment benifits of so many people that are trying to find work is outragious and a BLACK EYE for all Republicans.......those Republicans that haven't come out and stand up to this man has the same oppositions......they are not for the people but out for just their Party.......they are thinking about ELECTIONS not the welfare of the American People

    March 2, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What Bunning is doing and those who support him is totally inhumane and I wouldn't treat an animal like this. Bunning is getting paid by taxpayers and when he retires he and his family will enjoy all the perks at taxpayers expense. This totally inhumane.

    March 2, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. southernbutnotstupid

    Why not cut the money from the defense budget? I'm sick and tired of conservatives all for throwing borrowed money from China to fight wars, both necessary and unnecessary, overseas and prop up foreign governments while telling Americans in need that their sorry, lazy, do nuthin' scum. Everybody out of work these days are not lazy white trash living in trailer parks too lazy to work or urban blacks in the hood too busy selling dope to want to work; there is a real problem in this country right now with out of work Americans wanting to work. Got a job? Great, be thankful you weren't affected; but don't blow off those who need work to pay their bills and feed their families.

    I don't know what it is about southern politicians ("You lie!" Wilson; Mark "I'll tell you everything that's in my heart about my lover" Sanford; RIchard "I'll block everything 'til I get my pork for Alabama"; this piece of work Bunning, Perry "We need to secede" of Texas, governor wannabes in Georgia all for seccession after the last election – what kind of Americans are these people, really? Apparently not democracy loving Americans, as they all seem to want to ignore the realities of the last election that they lost – we need mature, grownup statements from both sides and even a third party to govern at this point and time in our history – if not, we are surely on the decline–

    March 2, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Radar55


    March 2, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. diridi

    neck this idiot out of have my mercy....ok.....nasty idiot....pass jobs bill, and health care reform....GOP thugs are crazy for the nation...they are for the detriment of this greatest nation....

    March 2, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Tom, Atlanta

    It's this the same stand that would be taken by members of the Tea Baggers movement? I think that the public should be made aware of this aspect of the Tea Baggers as well as doing away with Social Security, and Medicaid?

    March 2, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Light

    Bunning, Chaney and Limbaugh are the Republican party.

    March 2, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. ch

    Ok, let me see if I understand this...

    – the government bailed out Wall Street and who knows how many Banks for billions,

    – corporate greed still goes unpunished and they still get outrageous bonuses,

    – but they deny income and health benefits for the unemployed and their families!




    March 2, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. James

    Gee,the Republicans will lose that race!

    March 2, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Marc

    '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.'
    Or in other words, he want his!

    March 2, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Citizen First - BELIEVE it !

    When will these Senators and Congressmen pay attention to this EXACT bill being proposed and NOT STICKING in some of their favorite "stuff" just to gain favors? If there wasn't soooooooooo much PORK in that bill maybe Bill woulod have signed ! Ya think? Huh?
    Get with the program here guys, remember WHY YOU WERE ELECTED. WE the PEOPLE have control of your position. PINK SLIP. TERM LIMITS. It's called NOVEMBER ELECTIONS. Jim Bunning has the RIGHT IDEA. If there's PORK, don't vote. WE ( the PEOPLE ) will be watching and remembering in NOVEMBER – TERM LIMITS are in OUR power.

    March 2, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Dr. X

    If a people is being led to
    ruin by the devices of
    governmental power, then
    rebellion is not only the
    right but the duty of every
    member of such a people.

    March 2, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Andy from NYC

    Bunning's action is just another strategic move by the GOP to be an impediment wherever possible. He is not an incumbent, therefore he is easily sacrificed on the conservative alter.

    March 2, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Capt. Snarky

    You know, the Democrats passed PayGo into law, requiring that expenditures be budget neutral (you offset expenditures with cuts elsewhere in the budget). Now, they want to release funds for these unemployment benefits WITHOUT the required budget offset, and Bunning has called them on it. Perhaps this isn't the best choice on his part, but it IS smart. It highlights quite vividly the Democrats absolute hypocrisy when it come to funding and debt. Bunning, while seemingly callous, is actual just being fiscally responsible, which is more than I can say about the democrats from the President on down.

    March 2, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Republicans are so out of touch with average Americans it's not even funny.

    March 2, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Jay

    GOP = "Gaggle Of Pinheads"! Bunning is an ass. He prefers giving the finger to Americans in need, from no fault of their own, instead of working to bring the country out of crisis. He is the worst of the loud-mouthed, grand-standing, obstructionist, do nothing "Gaggle Of Pinheads" party, whose members appear more and more to be in the pocket of big buisness, big insurance, and corrupt wall street brokers. Do us all a favor, Bunning - follow Palen's lead and QUIT NOW! GET OUT OF THE WAY! BE GONE!

    March 2, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. rs

    Bunning's hold, and Republican defense of it ought to show once and forever why the middle class and poor shound never vote for Republican candidates ever again. Republicans will happily support tax breaks for millionaires, un-funded wars, or tax breaks for business. Benefits for the majority of America's citizenss... not so much

    March 2, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Liz

    I hope the people of Kentucky finally realize they are not being competently represented and go to the polls in droves to vote out their two bozo senators. Kentucky needs senators who will actually work for the benefit of the people, in other words, DEMOCRATS!!! every republican't in office needs to be voted out.

    March 2, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Mark

    Bunning is retiring this year, he doesn't care about the people out of work. He couldn't care less. Bunning and his Republican friends are whats wrong with this country. Glad to hear you're retiring. Leaving now would be better though.

    March 2, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    Anyone who goes by the name of "Rand" seriously has some screws loose in their head. The hideous philosophy sprouted from that misanthropic woman's head appeals to only a small number of loons.

    March 2, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Bunning is ignorant, heartless, and I question IF he is Christian! IF he is has he read the Gospels, especially Matthew 25?!

    400,000 people who are unemployed will go without unemployment check. How will they pay for their basic human needs?

    All those working on Federally funded construction will be added to the unemployment line.


    March 2, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Pragmatic

    This is why the term "compassionate conservative" is enough to gag a maggot.

    These unemployed are real people: not just faceless numbers. Bunning, and the rest of the GOP voted against "paygo" ...and now, on the backs of the unemployed, in the worst economy in decades, the party of borrow and spend can't find the money?

    March 2, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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