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

Bridging the divide between Congress, constituents

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

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Filed under: Congress • Jim Bunning
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. The Calabash Kid

    There is an old proverb: "Where corruption is possible, there corruption will be found."

    I don't think this was Bunning's idea. I think the Conservative string-pullers, whoever they are, offered Bunning something that he wants in exchange for this favor. The Conservative strategy is to disrupt the Obama Administration's ability to govern. They can use "fiscal responsiblity" as a pretext to block any action, just as they used "states' rights" as a pretext to oppose anti-lynching laws, medicare, employee safety regulations, etc. Their tactics are gridlock anything and everything we can grab onto. I don't know what Bunning was offered nor which member of the old man's family will receive the reward, but because he is not running for re-election he is fearless. No one can hurt him. He can say what he wants and throw the finger at whomever he pleases. I think he has enjoyed his time in the spotlight.

    Finally, the string pullers decided that there was just too much anger roused up by Bunning's ad hoc veto of unemployment compensation, so they called him off. He did a 180 overnight and Conservatives are lauding him as a hero.

    The hayseeds – the Conservative voters – eat this stuff up. They think it is Conservatism, but it's Corporatism pulling the puppet's strings

    March 3, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. FloridaCPA

    What a pitiful and self serving article by Ms. Keck: The REAL SMACK IN THE FACE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE is the fact that Congress is again borrowing money from future generations who don't yet have a voice and a vote and redistributing the "borrowed funds" to those individuals who have drawn unemployment benefits the "LONGEST" and to a handfull of road construction companies (who actually get the bulk of the funds). The fact is liberals such as Ms. Keck only point out the injustice Sen. Bunning is committing by forcing congress to actually pay for something rather than focusing on the forced bankrupcy of this country which is occuring right under their noses. By the way, what gives our government the right to borrow limitlessly from future generations and give to the current generations. It just doesn't make since, and it will ultimately destroy this great country.

    March 3, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. dan

    This guy must got no brains.All the anger facing congress and this guy trys to stop unemployment in terrible times.It surely shows these people in congress have no clue.Vote this trash out next election.

    March 3, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Bunning should have known that people needed these benefits. Why do you think that FDR got them passed during the Depression? It helps people survive during times like this. It relieves pressure for a little while when people are looking for other jobs. It puts money back into the economy because those that are unemployeed are more likely to spend it on food and things like that.

    March 3, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Marcus Tate

    ""It's fairly clear that there's a high anger level that the public has with Congress"

    The anger should be with the Republicans in Congress, who are nothing more than thinly veiled racists who are determined to do everything in their power to see that this black president fails. The Republicans are the party of No, offering nothing but obstruction and no alternatives or good answers of their own. You want to be angry with Congress, be angry with anybody who bears an R after their name, and don't vote for any of them come November.

    March 3, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. All the news that is fit to omit

    If CNN was any news organization and not part of the Lamestream media, the following FACTS would read:

    President Owebama's decision to sign a bill strictly as a "photo-op" in regards to PAYGO was a smack in the face to struggling Americans across the country who have to balance their budgets every WEEK.

    Bunning was making the case FOR THE PEOPLE who are tired of this fraud in chief spending money we don't HAVE.

    HE WAS FOR THE BILL, but wanted it funded by taking it from the stimulus funding already allocated, JUST LIKE PAYGO SHOULD WORK.

    You Owebama sheep like spending stimulus money on districts and jobs that don't exist or is this a better USE OF OUR MONEY?

    There you go CNN, I just did your job for you.

    March 3, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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