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

Bunning block becomes lightning rod in Kentucky

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" 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. TLD

    Pay for those tax cuts before you inact them into law. ALL entitlement programs including social security should cease. "Survival of the Fitest should be the law of the land. If you are too weak to survive; then you shouldn't be here.

    March 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Chad from Tampa

    Bunning is a patriot for standing up to the reckless spending in Washington.

    March 2, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Bunning is doing this for personal glory. I don't think that he truly understands what he is blocking. Where was he when these bloated spending bills were being sent through the House and Senate? I don't think he really cares any more. I would hope that he steps down NOW because he doesn't care.

    March 2, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. aorist

    "Jim Bunning is still not answering questions "

    He answered the question at one time but the problem is this country has few hundred thousand talking head "journalists" and they keep asking the same questions over and over and over.

    March 2, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. beevee

    This Bunning guy needs to be kicked out of the senate. he is not fit to represent any one in this country republican or democrat. he is such an insensitive idiot.

    March 2, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Peter Vaguely

    Why does it always look like Sen. Bunning's head is gonna 'splode? Stand back everybody...I think he's gonna BLOW!

    March 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. JA/TN

    the senator's pension should be blocked, to help cut the deficit, he is rich without it

    March 2, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Joe from Ohio

    And Obama is going to cut 500 billion from Medicare.

    Anybody want to buy a bridge?

    March 2, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. John

    As Harry Reid poignantly stated last week, where was Senator Bunnings objections to the billions (actually, trillions) borrowed to invade Iraq?

    Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of depressions and recessions knows that deficit spending is an integral part of any recovery, as the country learned when the Depression lasted years longer than was necessary.

    Senator Bunnings time is almost up.

    Alas, too little, too late for 400,000 of the unemployed who haven't got the Senator's paycheck or health insurance to keep them going.

    All incumbents in Congress? Out with you all.

    March 2, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6