Senator Bunning apparently is trying to make a point as 2000 DOT workers were furloughed without pay. According to ABC News:
ABC News’ Lisa Stark reports: Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., didn’t just stop extensions of unemployment and health insurance benefits with his “hold’ on these funding measures last week, he also stopped an extension of the Highway Trust Fund for 30 days. That means the fund cannot be used to pay for any of its programs or its employees.
So, the Department of Transportation as of Monday morning, furloughed 2,000 federal workers. DOT says that number could climb if this stalemate over funding drags on. Employees affected include federal inspectors overseeing highway projects on federal lands. If the inspectors aren’t there, the projects must shut down. DOT says that will affect 41 critical construction projects from Alaska to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Democrats are using this stand off to point out Republicans being obstructionists. Senator Bunning thundered out at reporters who attempted to talk with him heading up to the Senate floor. (and this video is especially for Cousin Slowpoke)
Senator Bunning allegedly demonstrated the international sign of contempt. The highway fund will probably go through this week. ABC reports:
Bunning did go to the Senate floor and give a coherent explanation of why he is holding up the unemployment benefit extension, COBRA, and Highway Trust Fund money – he wants it to be paid for elsewhere in the budget. His preference would be to use unspent stimulus funds.
“I support extending unemployment benefits, cobra benefits, flood insurance, highway bill fix, doc fix, small business loans, distant network television for satellite viewers. If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of this U.S. Senate,” he said.
This debate stands every chance of squaring off into its respective corners. Republicans will probably call this move by Senator Bunning being fiscally responsible. Democrats will probably use the O word. I probably side with the Senator on the elevator issue. I can understand being territorial about one’s elevator access. You let one reporter on, they all want on.