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.

30 Thoughts to “Senator Bunning Attempts to Snarl Traffic”

  1. Wolverine

    Senator Bunning was only the second person to make a strong point last week about fiscal responsibility. In case anyone may have missed it, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared before a House committee earlier with some mighty dire warnings. He flat out said that, if we did not get our fiscal house iin order by dealing dramatically and quickly with our growing deficits and national debt, we would be going down the same path currently being followed by the Greeks. He also said that he was not talking about ten years in the future but about right now. If we do not act quickly to reign in borrowing and deficit spending, the first thing we will see is a big rise in the cost of the interest on our borrowed money. He also warned that the central bank will no longer “monetize” our debt by priinting more money to cover our deficit spending. Senator Bunning certainly appears to have heard that warning. Didn’t anyone else?

  2. Captain Idiot-Face

    Sen. Bunning is to be jumped upon very awfully by the left. It’s right there in the Constitution: “The Right to Life, Liberty, and to sit on the couch and play with yourself while surfing the porn sites and enjoying 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.” That darn obstructionist doesn’t understand how Americans suffer when we don’t borrow tons of money from the Chinese to keep them on the Government teat. Bastage.

  3. PWC Taxpayer

    What? You mean you support putting all those Feds and all those union wage (not minimum and not prevailing) construction workers who are funded through our job creation programs on temporary furlough until the Democrats agree to fund their expanded unemployement benefits? I was sure that the press would at least mention that Bunning even agreed to use stimulus funding, but I have not found it yet. And Ried smiled at Bunnings objection????

  4. And what of those legitimately waiting for unemployment checks? How many people can we have living in the streets? Not everyone is doing like CIF says. There are people who cannot find work.

    Captain, want to select a nick name? Where is Cousin Slowpoke? Make sure to tell Cousin Slow that a thread was put up in his honor.

  5. Rez

    As a retired Federal employee who went through numerous furloughs (many Oct.1 things) this is a nonissue. No one to my knowledge ever went without pay even though they didn’t work. They also did not have to use vacation to avoid nonpay status. They were paid for not working.

    Under budget law, essential government services can continue without appropriation as an emergency situation. One assumes that air traffic controllers fit that category but we even allowed the continuation of janitorial contracts (also need to be stopped supposedly) because if you don’t clean, dust could get into equipment that prevented controllers from doing their job, thus comes under the emergency exemption.

    If “inspectors” mentioned in the report are really resident engineers (which is the common word for it), they are not “safety inspectors”. They are there to make sure contractors are doing things properly. There really isn’t a daily need for “inspections” as most pavement work is overseen through periodic testing like bore samples etc after the pavement is already put down. If anytime before acceptance the pavement does not meet testing requirements, DOT has the option of requiring a section to be replaced or appropriate compensation for the lack of compliance. So zillions of road jobs do not have to be stopped. Besides, if they are esssential inspectors, they would come under the emergency budgetary treatment anyway.

    The news gathering organizations have been led into reporting this story just like the old “we have to close the Washington Monument” garbage that has been used annually,

    I thought the reporters behavior was shameful. The capitol police should have been called. Most reputable reporters would have let the the elevator close and conclude with “so there you have it, Senator Bunning is stopping the world from happening, and refuses to justify it to the American people”.

    It is time for “accosting” journalism to end. Let’s start with charges of preventing a Federal official from doing his official duties (vote), or maybe even temporary kidnapping (holding a person and an unrelated person against their will in an enclosed place with no unblocked exit-presumably the other person was another senator). I am sure people could come up with a lot more charges since those took no time to come up with.

    All in all this is a politically generated nonstory and another example of how news media over-reports based upon one or the other political philosophy.

  6. Don’t shoot ME, Rez. Just doing my duty here. CIF wanted the elevator story so I hunted it out for him.

    Our best posts seem to be with the non stories. I am cheering the guy on for trying to rid the Senate elevator of reporters. And if he flicked them off, well….its been done before.

    I hope you all realize I am not heavily invested in this post and will not fight it out to the death with you …unless it is to defend Senator what’s his face’s elevator…

  7. Taxpayer, the press might have mentioned other things. I didn’t search long and hard for it.
    Taxpayer, do you consider yourself Tea Party?

  8. Rez

    Wasn’t shootin anyone, Wolfie. I think it was great for you to use an example of media gone wild to further a political agenda. Now if everyone else would wake up too about the way the press can slant a story for political reasons.

    And I am not defending the senator since I haven’t analyzed his reasons. These are temporary potholes that happen almost daily in Congress and no one is ultimately hurt. So I hope the opponents to the senator enjoy using this to make sure that he stays retired (I guess) since he is not seeking reelection anyway. Oh but wait, maybe we could just broadbrush anyone who even has talked to him at one point in their lives with feeling exactly the same way as the senator.

    If Senator Reid is so happy with setting up a senator who wants to have the senate come up with how they are funding this measure, maybe one would want to look at the real motivation. After all, didn’t the President and the House push a measure that says we have to pay for everything and make the measures budget neutral? Did the majority leader not get the memo?

  9. Rez

    By the way, just a simple question–if people want to talk about hypocrisy, how about a majority leader pushing a measure to score political points when it runs counter to the stated goal of making sure it is budget neutral.

    And the by the way, I have enjoyed the newspaper today when some members of the Democratic party accused McDonnell of hypocrisy when he wants to get stimulus money for the budget. Yep, he was opposed to the stimulus package. But guess what, the stimulus package passed with a majority and signed by the President. Seems to me that that is the American Way of government.

    So because you argued against something, you can’t also benefit from the law– only people that were for it could benefit? Is that the American Way? Do we, as Virginians, pay taxes that help fund the payment of the debt for the stimulus, but we are not permitted to get everything we are “entitled” to? HOGWASH! That is the real hypocrisy and I have now gotten to the point of bringing it up whenever I can. The current posturing is disgusting.

  10. That’s just the name of politics and why I ultimately hate them, Rez. I was was just reminding everyone that I was not falling on this sword. Not chosing sides on thisone other than the guy getting territorial over the elevator. I don’t blame him for that.

    Actually, the political picture has gotten so nit picky I have given up on trying to sort out all the good guys and bad.

  11. Rez

    All we really need is civility. The same message by the democratic leader could have been done differently by just saying, “As a Virginian, I am pleased that the Governor is pursuing all the funding he can. I am also pleased to see that the Governor sees the benefit of the stimulus bill that he so vehemently opposed.”

    Civil, still gets the point across, and shows statesmanship.

  12. marinm

    Rez, thanks for the insight above. Good points.

    I support Senator Bunning in his attempt to get a simple question answered – how do we pay for this?

  13. PWC Taxpayer

    I’m sorry Moon , “I have trouble reading;” coffee, tea, old jack or Irish — I support anybody that has a sense that the Government has limited powers and limited responsibilities. I think I am more a fundementalist than a strict constructionist and generally hope to see the government run more like a business than a social program in and of itself. Federal employment is not welfare regardless of how others might react. I tend to view our social programs as an accountable investment in the future with clear goals and metrics not an open hole of increasing and expanding entitlements. I am a true believer in accountablility and transparancy. Like FDR – if its not working or something else is – stop it and change the approach. I object to the government competing with its citizens for business opportunities or profits and would much prefer subsidies, managemet & oversight than the creation of duplicative and usually more wasteful government business lines. I am, as you know, a supporter fo public-private partnerships to share risk and public benefits. Is that Tea Party or Coffee Party – its neither Republican or Democratic given our current experience – so where do I send my dues? .

  14. Rez :

    All we really need is civility. The same message by the democratic leader could have been done differently by just saying, “As a Virginian, I am pleased that the Governor is pursuing all the funding he can. I am also pleased to see that the Governor sees the benefit of the stimulus bill that he so vehemently opposed.”

    Civil, still gets the point across, and shows statesmanship.

    And the same thing could be said by our BOCS Chairman Stewart when Rep. Gerry Connolly brings in stimulus money. Let’s look at this from all sides.

  15. I don’t know, taxpayer. You confuse me. Every time I think I have you pegged you fool me. Of course, I could say the same about myself.

  16. Emma

    Senator Bunning stands alone, and not one Republican has the stones to stand along with him. Another reason to despise this spineless party that is relying on Obama administration failures, congressional retirements and voter disgust to carry them through in November. And the press is getting away with character assassination, as they spin this story into something it is not.

    And what right did the reporters have to detain the senator in the way that they did? Maybe Bunning could have come up with a better response, but who do these press people think they are?

  17. Rez

    I am not sure what Chairman Stewart said or how he said it. But of course in my mind, civility should be a multilane highway. I don’t like nastiness from anyone. I guess it is an old age quirk of mine.

  18. Captain Idiot-Face

    I see a few things at work here. First, the Dems are using this to try to score some political points with their base by endlessly bashing one Republican. Reid could end this in, like, one day, with a simple cloture vote. The left should (if they had any brains at all) be furious with Reid for holding this thing up for political gain.
    The booger of it is all Bunning is doing is holding the Dems to THEIR OWN idea of Pay-Go. The hypocrisy is egregious.
    Now the Republicans are showing that when they get power back, they’ll likely sell it out like they did before. McConnell is not impressing anyone by remaining quiet. The Republicans are not making any friends among their base by not supporting Bunning on this one. Bottom line, Bunning is the only one in the whole stinkin’ chamber who’s right, and he’s getting skewered for having an ounce of principle. I for one am disappointed in everyone except Bunning.

  19. Until last night when CIF chided me, I had never heard of Bunning. Give me the background on this guy who wants his own elevator. A man after my own heart on that one. I also secretly like that he have the reporters the finger. I have always wanted to be able to do that when it counted. I understand he is from Kentucky. Is he not running for re-election?

  20. marinm

    It’s not that he wants his own elevator its that under Congressional rules there are certain areas that are off-limits to anyone that is not a Senator, Congressperson or sometimes staffers.

    It’s a common technique for people to ‘ambush’ rep’s in front of the elevators but people usually don’t try to stop the elevator (as what happened in the above video).

    For balance here is a funny video of Rep. Charlie Rangel in front of an elevator.

    Rude language warning.

  21. Rez

    The news reported that the standoff is over.

  22. Wolverine

    Moon, as a youthful Detroit Tiger fan, I grew up in the era of Jim Bunning from 1955 to 1963. Born in Kentucky in 1931 and a grad of Xavier University in Cincinnati. An ace pitcher and a strikeout artist who pitched a no-hitter in in 1958. He was temperamental and colorful, but you just knew that, every time he took the mound, you had the best chance to win the game. He had a tremendous brushback pitch which kept the batters very loose and unsettled in the batters box. Went on to be the mainstay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff for a number of years, including pitching a perfect game for them in 1964. One of only about six pitchers in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter in both leagues. The Phillies blew the pennant race in 1964 because they wore out Bunning and one of his fellow pitchers during the stretch run. Bunning finished his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the LA Dodgers. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in 1996 by the Veterans Committee.

    After retiring from baseball, he served in the Kentucky state senate, then was elected to the US House of Representatives (1987-1999). Elected to the Senate in 1999 and is currently the oldest Republican senator. Very conservative in his political thinking. Bunning has always had a reputation for being a crusty guy who spoke his mind and was often at loggerheads with Democrats and fellow Republicans alike — funny, I always thought that that was part of the qualifications for being a senator!! Looks to me like a lifetime habit. He often used to shake off the pitching signals from his catcher, knowing that those signals were relayed from the manager in the dugout. Made his managers livid, but, given his mound performance, they had to swallow their pride.

    In the past few years, it looks like Bunning’s cantankerousness has worn out his goodwill with Kentuckians and caused him to lose the forebearance of his fellow Republicans in the Senate. Given some of those useless bozos in the Senate at this moment, I don’t really consider that a negative for Bunning. However, given the recent polls in Kentucky and given his age, I guess he decided to hang up the spikes again. Looks like this dustup is part of his swan song. Those ignorant reporters should have known better than to block Bunning’s access to the elevator. Jim has never been known to suffer such things meekly, in baseball or in politics.

    Personally, on this one I think old Jim called the right pitch. Now it looks to me like some of his own fellow Repubs may belong in the minor leagues. I won’t even mention Harry Reid, who, in my opinion, cannot see the fiscal precipice toward which he is marching all of us.

  23. Marin, I am just kidding around about the elevator. I already said I agreed with him about not wanting to share the elevator with the reporters. Quick background…on another thread CIF chided me about this being a thread. I had other things going on yesterday and hadn’t even followed this story. I quickly pulled rabbits out of hats just for CIF. Call it an early birthday present. So …there is a bit of glibness about the entire article. Actually, I have not taken an opinion other than I support him over the elevator.

    But this shouldn’t be about what I think.

  24. Wolverine, I rest my case (see email). I had no idea he was an old baseball player. Maybe we should be lucky he didn’t pull a Roseann Barr! Old baseball players are special to me. The Mick lives on forever!

    He has probably wanted to give reporters the finger for the past 50 years. (or maybe he has) Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

  25. marinm

    Gotcha. Yah, this really didn’t register with me in terms of things to concern myself with. I like that he stood up for a good belief but the other 99 chopped him off at the knees by not doing the same. I guess we can flog more slaves to make up for the loss of ‘revenue’.

    Today’s big story was McDonald v. Chicago. That one looks to be in the bag. But, where some on the far left were hoping that P&I would win the day (eventually could lead to national healthcare and gay marriage conceptually) but looks like the Court didn’t want to overturn Slaughterhouse and so used Due Process instead. Next 10-20 years will be fun to watch with local govts in court to defend gun laws. 8) Good day for liberty.

    Rabbits… yummy. Brunswick stew..

  26. I never count on Supreme Court rulings. There has been many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. Tell me a courtcase involving guns isn’t named Slaughterhouse! That is like having a doctor named Dr. Butcher.

  27. hello

    “Senator Bunning apparently is trying to make a point as 2000 DOT workers were furloughed without pay” – correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember seeing anything about anyone going ‘without pay’.

  28. hello

    Also, why pass ‘pay-go’ if there is no intention of sticking to it? If the ‘stimulus’ did was it was promised (keep unemployment under 8%) we wouldn’t need an extension of unemployment benefits.

  29. Doesn’t furlough imply, by definition,
    ‘without pay?’

  30. Emma

    No, all workers who were furloughed yesterday received pay.

Comments are closed.