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. joe mett

    This is what is exactly wrong with the political elitism or aristocracy of the USA. Rand Paul, a medical doctor, who has a six fiqure salary is supporting Bunning. Meanwhile he benefited from tax payer sponsored health care insurance when he was young through his father's congressional benefits. Bunning is payed by the taxpayer receiving about $120,000.00 annually and other benefits but he is against the unemployed and other working class people getting their salaries or benefits.

    God save America from these parasitic self imposed aristocracy!

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

    Senator Bunning is NOT doing this out of concern that it is not paid for. He is doing it to once again makes the lives of working American lives miserable.

    Under Bush, Bunning vote for 2 unfunded fraudulent wars, voted to use Reconcilation to pass the Bush tax for the Wealthy- which cost us over $1 Trillion and that certainly was not paid for and went right to the Republican Deficit disaster.

    Bunning used the "F" word on the floor on the Senate when the Democratic Senator from Oregon asked to please not let working families go without money for food.

    The same bill he is blocking also stops small business from getting credit they need to hire more workers and create jobs.

    This has NOTHING to do with any fiscal responsibility since Bunning has never shown in any interest in that under Bush.

    Bunning is a TRAITOR to the American People just like the rest of his Party. When are you blind followers of these hypocrites going tor realize they care NOTHING about YOU or any other American???

    Look at their ACTIONS this past year- what have they done for the People? NOTHING.

    I think it is time to bring Republicans down from their arrogant elitist pedestal. Let's take away their government-run healthcare plans and their pensions. Why not make them live like the rest of us? Let these old white men go try to buy private insurance with all their pre-existing conditions. Let them save for retirement through deductions from their paychecks to 401K plans.

    Let's see how fast these clueless People haters suddenly become in favor of healthcare reform and stop trying to kill Medicare and Social Security!!!

    Republicans are AGAINST you and me. How many times does it take for you to get stabbed in the back before you realize they could care less if you live or die, have a job or not, whether your children have the same access to college their kids do, and are only out there supporting their rich white buddies? Large corporations who sent our jobs overseas. Banks who ruined us financially and Republicans still do not want them re-regulated. Insurance companies who kill us for profit.

    Bunning and all the other Republicans are hypocritical liars and we need to get these anti-Americans out of the House and Senate in November. Let them go home and face reality of what the rest of us have to deal with every single day.

    March 2, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Linda Iowa

    I don't think there is anything left to say about the party of no, let the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

    March 2, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Carole

    I am a Democrat, but, we all know in our hearts Senator Bunning is correct. I wish all these Republicans had stood up the 8 years they were in charge and destroying the economy.
    Six years owning House, Senate and Presidency. Control of the House and Senate from 1994 to 2006. Left with a surplus in 2000. ZERO job growth in the past 10 years.
    Where were you teabaggers then? Within one year President Obama was to have fixed the whole thing, when for 10 years there was I repeat ZERO job growth. The truth is you are just Republican pawns and are anti Obama more than anti government. Hipocrits!
    Did all you cry babies ever think what would have happened to the country had GM gne under? Every factory and office worker out of work at the plants.
    The man who delivers the cars, parts factoy workers,every GM dealer salesman and mechanic out of work. Thousands and thousands of people. No tax revenue coming to the Government, all workers on unemployment .Imagine the cost to the country. Americans need to grow up and start thinking as bright humans ,not Republicans and Democrats!

    March 2, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    OMG he just wants to know where the money is coming from. This is what he stated on the Senate floor. It does not say how they will EVER pay for it. Answer that question and he will vote yes. Stop trying to make him a scape goat. What happened to Pay As You Go? We forgot it before we started it? Wake the crap up people!

    March 2, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Chuck Anaheim Ca.

    Where was this fool when trillions were being shoved down the American tax payers throat for the Iraq war and Afgahnistan war. Had no problem doing that when there were NO FUNDS to pay for that now did he. Shamefull excuse for a human being.

    March 2, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. jm for sc

    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.

    With this in mind, people should have a clear understanding of what these so called rich conservatives are all about. If they have their way, the rich will live and the poor will die.

    March 2, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. geecee

    This Bunning issue has simply become the prime example of the difference in thinking (ideology) between the Democrats and the Republicans. It seems all Republicans, even those out of work, feel that the government should give no "hand-outs" to anyone and people simply must pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Whereas the Democrats believe in helping out their fellow man until the economy improves and people get back to work. Meanwhile, people need to eat, have a place to sleep, keep themselves clean. Will the Republicans offer them to share their food, their homes, their bathroom facilities? I don't think so. Yet, here we have the teabaggers and other independents and right-wing nutjobs cheering for the Republicans in the next election. Okay!!! Nice direction this country is going in.

    March 2, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Bunning would rather see tax cuts for the rich than much needed help for unemployed Americans. This is the GOP's trickle down economic plan for America.

    March 2, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Dave

    Of course the Dems have no responsibility in this even though they are the party that championed, and all voted for, the just passed PAYGO legislation. Which has given Bunning grounds for objection. Why pass legislation intended to require funds to be allocated, rather than added to our nation's debt, if the very next bill brought forth pays no heed to that legislation? Why didn't Leader Reid tackle the benefit extension issue before bringing the PAYGO legislation to the floor for vote? Do not hear anyone on CNN asking that simple question. This is unfortunately typical of CNN's "non-opinionated?" coverage of political issues.

    March 2, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. max

    funny how the republikkkons are waiting in line for his support now ... what a party of retards ... to be politically correct ...

    March 2, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Bunning is a bitter senile old bastard that has been rejected by his own party and is now taking it out on struggling Americans that have nothing to do with the Senators own personal problems.

    What a despicable creton!!!!

    You can go to hell Senator Bunning!!!!!
    (And take your deplorable supporters with you)

    March 2, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. mike in sioux falls

    This senator is an idiot. What part of Emergency doesn't he understand. I do applaud, however, what he did. It should really open the eyes of Americans who don't subscribe to the GOP as the Party of No. It shows the level of disconnect in Washington. Not that Bunning encompasses the problem all by himself but he has become the poster boy of outrageous ideology imposed by a rich man who feels it is his right to further disrupt the lives of desperate families.

    March 2, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    The Dems should thank Bunning and the Republican Party for such a great campaign issue.

    Those homeless people vote too, and they are NOT going to forget this.

    March 2, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |

    Should not be a life long hand out. After 1 year, one should have to get a job and only then should the gov't make up the difference. After 1 year proves that they're not willing to make a change themselves.

    March 2, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Gstreet

    Republicans have not met a "No" they haven't loved...except when it comes to rewarding corporate greed, unwarrented and unfunded wars, attacks on minority issues. Congress should pass a law that all federal retirees, especially congressmen, would only receive social security and more expensive give-aways that they have now.

    March 2, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. KAY SAUL

    Not surprised that a republican is blocking anything good for the american people. They are now the party of NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No way are they voting for anything in favor of president. But yet, republicans should have said no to Bush for those 8-long!!!!!!!!!! years and their national debt. Still Bush's doings, he bankrupted every state in the union. Its just now showing up bad!!!!!!! Its the republicans national debt that causing these problems now and will go on for at least 10 years.

    March 2, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. sameeker

    OK Bunning, if you want a way to pay for it, end all types of corporate welfare and tax breaks for the wealthy. But then, you would not be a true republican if you did that. I hope you and your family wind up in the same poverty that you rich people have created for the rest of us.

    March 2, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Paula W.

    Perhaps Senator Bunning, in his confused mental state, is craving attention as his last hurray in politics. Perhaps Senator Bunning should start worrying about the cost of waging 2 wars at the same time. Perhaps the US would then have the funds for unemployment benefits and COBRA benefits. Perhaps Senator Bunning should have his paycheck and medical benefits cut off for 6 months and see how he manages paying his bills. Perhaps Senator Bunning should resign immediately!

    March 2, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Gary

    The GOP candidates can tell the voters that Bunning's attitude is good, as their homes are seized by the banks and that it's good for their families to go hungry.

    March 2, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. LouAz

    I've got mine . . . TS for the rest of you. That's the Republican way !

    March 2, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. hotchimera

    here we go...

    guess some will have to sleep under a tree in the snow tonight
    cause ain't gots no money to pay duh bills and duh rent

    can't find a job, can't get healthcare, can't send kids to college, can't save a cent

    but Bunning and his friends still have a job paying $170,000 a year, will go home to a warm bed and his 40 grandkids are having steak for dinner tonight. Guess as long as he is ok the rest of us can go burn in hell.

    This is why GOP will get back in power in November.

    Makes me wonder if our country is going to hell in a u know what!

    Wake up!!!!!

    March 2, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. MIke

    Jim Bunning is a bumbling MORON!

    March 2, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. lilacluvr

    I wonder how Republicans would feel if this was about holding up paying out those lovely subsidies for all those corporations? I bet Bunnning and the rest of the GOPPERS would be the first ones to sign on to that bill. Why do Republicans hate the working class?

    March 2, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    I agree with Rhan..this is unfair to attack him. I applaud him for bringing attention to the fact that this money is not growing on a tree.
    He is not against people getting unemployement..he is against fabrication of money. He will be the hero in his stand 10 years from'll see.

    March 2, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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