March 3rd, 2010
02:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Bridging the divide between Congress, constituents

 Sen. Jim Bunning's decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits was a smack in the face to struggling Americans across the country.
Sen. Jim Bunning's decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits was a smack in the face to struggling Americans across the country.

(CNN) - Sen. Jim Bunning's decision to block a bill extending unemployment benefits was a smack in the face to struggling Americans across the country.

The Kentucky Republican demanded the extension be paid for instead of adding to the deficit, although in the past, he voted for similar extensions that did not include budget offsets.

Bunning relented, but critics still blasted him as tone-deaf, a label stapled to much of Congress over the past year.

While it's "extraordinarily rare" for Congress to be admired by the public, right now, the dissatisfaction with the legislative branch is intensified, said Norman Ornstein, a longtime congressional observer with the American Enterprise Institute.

"It's fairly clear that there's a high anger level that the public has with Congress - higher than we've seen it in a while, and up at levels comparable to what we've had with other wave elections that have brought substantial turnover," Ornstein said.

Full story


Filed under: Congress • Jim Bunning
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Paul B.

    Gee, that wasn't biased reporting at all, Ms. Keck. Way to go.

    March 3, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Sean from Marin

    Jim Bunning just did publicly what the rest of his caucus is doing behind the scenes every day. There is a deep lack of compassion on the right side of the aisle. They quietly tell their members that only the “weak and lazy” aren’t working – and they believe it. It baffles me that people would vote for them. It’s the party of old, angry white men who want their place at the top of the food chain.

    I wish they all would retire with Bunning!

    March 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. AndyBlue

    Maybe Bunning can find the 250 BILLION dollars on pallets in Iraq that dissapeared under the Bush administration.

    250 BILLION!!!!

    The teabaggers dont seem to have a problem with such disgraceful corruption if its a republican. Go figure.

    March 3, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    For a few days, Kentucky took the place of South Carolina for having the most ineffective out of touch senator in America.

    March 3, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    No, Harry Reid and Barack Obama's attempt to avoid paying for these benefit extensions from a real budget was a smack in the face of American taxpayersacross the country.

    They can buy fast trains for Democratic Senators and plenty of other pork projects with their 'Jobs, Jobs, Jobs' Stimulus Bill, but they won't take unemployment benefits from their budget. This was the problem and I agree 100% with Senator Bunning to demand more responsibility in fiscal management. We are already in debt up to our ears.

    March 3, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Scottyrw

    The Republicans remind me of my high school days in the 60s when groups of guys would stand in the halls and make remarks about other students when they walked by. They would ridicule and make fun of everyone except themselves. Because of their own inadequacy, they would down grade everyone else. The Republicans have a track record for the last 30 years of putting down everyone else except themselves, even though they cheat, lie and steal. They never uplift or give a positive response to anyone or anything on the other side even if it would be better for America!

    March 3, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bunning is an arrogant jerk..... typical GOP

    March 3, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    Maybe republicans have been a bit premature in claiming victory in the elections next November. I hope Americans reject republicans just like the republicans have rejected Americans.

    March 3, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    "...wave elections that have brought substantial turnover,"

    Ok but WHY do people think Republicans will change anything? What precedent do they have that the GOP will reduce deficits and bring spending under control? IT WAS THE GOP WHO SPENT WITHOUT RESTRAINT AND BALLOONED THE DEFICIT!!! I understand that memories of Reagan might be starting to get a bit hazy, but how can anyone possibly not remember Bush/Cheney?

    The GOP is still the same people with the same catastrophic ideas. Put them back in the driver's seat and they'll drive us over the cliff AGAIN.

    March 3, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. loverpoint

    Jim Bunning is Steven Colberts illegitimate father.

    March 3, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Greedy Old Party

    It's pretty clear to me which party supports THE REAL AMERICAN PEOPLE and who doesn't.

    I sure hope the "Joe-the-Plumbers" remember this kind of stuff when they go to the polls in 2010.

    March 3, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. J.Havis

    Thia Man is another "potlicker" politician who is one looney with half a brain. He must have gotten hit with a baseball some time in the past. Thank God he is going to leave congress soon. He must retire that pea brain in the lab jar where it belongs.

    March 3, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Enough

    Going against the popular belief that we should continue paying people NOT to go to work. Unemployment benefits have to expire some time, they are NOT Welfare, atleast not yet. Who's paying for all this?

    March 3, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Repugnants are Taliban

    The only gap Senator Bunning needs to gap is the one between his ears where nothing resides.

    March 3, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Karen Stout

    I'm sure this same Republican would NOT vote for tax increases, and unless we face up to our collective responsibility to pay for what we have, we must continue to borrow. You can't have it both ways, Mr. Bunning.

    March 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Jack

    Mr. Bunning;

    Go retire and eat cake!

    And if you are so concerned; live Social Security!

    March 3, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Mr. Bunning may have been correct on paying for this, but that doesn't give him the right to leave hundreds of thousands of Americans stranded. It was clearly a political move. I wonder how many of the 120,000 unemployed Kentuckians called Sen. Bunning's office over the last few days.

    March 3, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Oompa Loompa

    Congress needs to fix the tax code that currently makes it advantageous for corporations to send jobs off-shore. End the card check legislation that favors unions. Unions drive the cost of employment up in the US and they are not necessary. I agree with Mr. Bunning's stance. You can't pay people when you have no money. You also can't employ them if there are no jobs. Stimulus and ARRA funds that have not been spent should be returned to the kitty to cover this and congress needs to get to work on the real problems of this country. You can't buy health insurance if you're not bringing home a paycheck.

    Regarding ARRA I see a ARRA signs and construction cones all over the place but no one is working, at all. Is this another scam on the American taxpayer? Who is policing this?

    March 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Bob in Pa

    Kristi is obviously writing this story without investigating the issue. If you want to be a reporter, then tell the whole story, stop cherry picking for the items that best fit your political agenda.

    Mr. Bunning never had issue with extending the benefits, only that the president had signed into law the "pay as you go" legislation and the Senate was not abiding by it. Not to mention that there was more than just the Unemployment extension in the bill.

    March 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. SueAnne

    Bunning's bridge is a bridge to nowhere.

    March 3, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Minnesota gal

    And so it goes the republicans obstruct, lie, do stuff like this and all congress gets blamed. BUT I see the problem is the Democrats don't fight back. Of course if the MEDIA WAS AS FAIR AND BALANCED AS THE CRUDS PROFESS TO BE the public would know right off what the republicans are doing.

    Trying their best to mess and screw things up so they can get back in power and really bring the country to their knees. And of course with the ignorant bunch of lemmings and used up tea bags assisting them along with Fox and Rush they are doing it. I think the media in this country should be censured from telling lies. And billion dollar fines heaped on them to they give the public the truth for once.

    March 3, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. american patriot

    TO THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY...

    VOTE THIS GUY OUT

    What were you thinking Voting him in, in the first place.

    He is relly sticking it to you now.

    March 3, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Most dissatisfaction is due to most people being so misinformed because they only listen to the negative and never weigh in on the positive. Negative or positive information can also be false propaganda that's why it's always good to do your own fact checking.

    March 3, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Paul Ernest Show

    Th e quickest word I could find to describe his action is "Unfortunate". If he has any idea of what the average American has gone through the past two years, I doubt if he would have acted the way he did.. Here in Nashville, people who had mansions before are living in tent shelters in the woods. The republican party just don't get it. Standing in the way of what is good for America is unpatriotic, to say the least. Just because another party is in power is no reason for the party to sabotage the "public good." I hope Americans wake up and embrace the party that is trying to clean up their mess and salvage the country again.

    March 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Get off your butt

    Instead of complaining about benefits why dont you people go and find a job. Part time jobs, I know i have done this a couple of times in my life. Move to another state. I am sure there are jobs available there. Go into the service. Just quit sitting on your butts expecting the Nation to pay for you.

    March 3, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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