March 2nd, 2010
12:33 PM ET
4 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. Tom

    Now he is in the Hall of Shame too.

    March 2, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Regis from Florida

    This is one more out of touch republikkkans and he should be sent to the unemployment line right away. How in the hell so many GOPs can wake up every morning and look at themselves in the mirror thinking they are on the right side (corporation) when so many Americans are struggling every day. I guess they all going to the same church of hypocrisy every Sunday where Jesus only Bless the Richest. We will give you (GOP) another chance in November to use that finger of yours…..

    March 2, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Lois in CA

    Closet Nazis who hate to poor need to go away.

    March 2, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. ran

    He is gone and so will his seat in 2010. It will go to a Democrat. Even the people of KY can longer hide from the reality that the Republicans have no intention of helping the people.

    No more fear/hate/obstructionist/purity Republicans.

    March 2, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Ben Farleigh

    Sen Bunning has said that he will support the bill as soon as the body identifies where the funds will come from - very prodent at this time when the country is already trillions into deficit. It is just like the democraps to try to go ahead and spend/spend/spend until we are another trillion in debt. Folks, we can't pay for what we owe now; unfortunately, Sen Bunning is right.

    March 2, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Kitchen Police

    There are a lot of bills this lizard brain can block, but this isn't one of them.

    March 2, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Concerned Canadian

    How about not spending money on hugely expensive, pointless foreign wars and using it to fund domestic programs??

    March 2, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Ben Hamilton

    Dear Attorney General Conway:

    In your campaign for Senator, remind the voters that Senator Bunning has blocked renewal of unemploment and health benefits for thousands of people, while he fades into retirement with one of the most generous retirement and health insurance benefits of anyone in this nation. Is he a hypocrite or not??

    Ben Hamilton

    March 2, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. alphonso

    the the dems could pul off a upset n kentucky has gone up

    March 2, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Bob (Illinois)

    "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"

    Give me a break! There is nothing admirable about Bunning's position. What is even more disgusting is the near-total lack of response from Republicans.

    March 2, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. John

    Just another example of the republicans for the rich! The GOP stands for the "Greedy Old Party".

    March 2, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Justen in Florida

    I think it is fair to ask how we're going to pay for this.

    March 2, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. rumrunner

    bunning is standing up to 534 colleagues in congress and , in effect, saying enough, when do the giveaways, the fiscal irresponsibility, the sense of entitlement end? life is not fair!

    March 2, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Kimm Warren

    Most of us don't fully appreciate nor do we understand our society's policy of borrowing money to extricate ourselves from the current depression and how it is spent. The part we can't appreciate is the top down approach of increasing the money supply to fund banks and other "chartered" entities with the hopes the loot will eventually trickle down; the idea being that by the time it trickles down it won't be worth what it was when we started on this odyssey. Suppose we won't know the difference now will we? Sh.

    March 2, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    No matter what the liberal democrats say, Bunning is 100% right. Extend unemployment benefits WHEN WE FIND THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How stupid do the democrats think we are? The days of money growing on trees are OVER, and the liberals better start following their own "Pay-Go" legislation.

    March 2, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. j

    He should be ashamed of himself. He should resign.

    March 2, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. GG

    This story is as hold as history itself ; it is in the nature of Democracy that the mob will always shout down leaders who try to do what's morally right for the country. For some really horrific examples read Thucidydes to see what happened to the Athenian's democracy during the Peleponnesian War.....

    Humans as a species seem doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over and over and over and over and over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over over and over.....

    March 2, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. USMC VET - Boston

    COWARD>>>>>>>>>>>!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. snugz

    Everyone in Kentucky knows Jim Bunning is the village idiot. The republican candidates would be well advised to distance themselves from him!

    March 2, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Tim from Tampa

    There's definitely something wrong when one idiot is able to block a bill that even his own party supports. Ya think the government's broken?

    March 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Ron

    As an American I demand Bunny"s resignation TODAY.

    March 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. RonNoSpam

    Another "compassionate conservative" shows his real colors! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    March 2, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. jack

    Just more proof that the conservative party, the party of "privilege", cares not for whom they are elected to represent but only for themselves and what they can secure for their most generous donors.

    If you vote for a republican your voting to enslave yourself to the lobbyist and the needs of big business.

    March 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. BushCheney2012

    Bunning is RIGHT! No more Wasteful money spent on lazy, stupid workers. My GrandPapa used to tell this rubbish "Get a Job BUM!", when they would ask for money outside of his Factory!
    To Summarize:
    During Obama's failed Presidency
    The record of the Obama years in office:
    Worst Terrorist attack in American History (Xmas day Detroit bomber) CPAC -> Dick Cheney
    Implementing Communist Economic Policies -> Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Fox News
    Muslim, born in Kenya -> Lou Dobbs, CNN, MSNBC
    Bailing out lazy, shiftless Detroit autoworkers
    Money to pay people to be unemployed -> Get a JOB Bum!
    Penalizing hard working Wall Street Bankers (Bonus Taxes)
    Attacking poor, hapless Japanese managers at Toyota for the sloppy, cr.. work of their american workers -> Senator Shelby

    Now a failed HealthCare Summit... So we'll get OBamaCare with it's Medical Death Panels and big jumps in our health care premiums, and a Government takeover of Medicare...

    It is clear that Hussien needs to be removed by the Military and then the Supreme Court can appoint Jeb Bush President (circa 2000). Jeb is a family values guy, so we expect him to make Liz Cheney his VP, where she will fight to keep the Gays out of the Military!

    Contact your Congressman, do not allow the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy to expire, it's that important! Even if your homeless or lost your home – buck up and borrow a cell from someone to make this important call!

    March 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. NVa Native

    Pretty clear who supports the working middle class.

    March 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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