Sen. Jim Bunning (R) from Kentucky is just getting ravaged across the spectrum for his decision to block the legislation that would extend federal unemployment benefits past the Feb. 28th deadline.On the surface,it appears to be a heartless move when so many are dependent on those weekly checks.As usual,it's a little more complicated than that.
He's actually doing what should be considered the proper thing.He's protesting the fact that the $10 billion extension is not paid for.Congress is per normal passing legislation without funding.To be fiscally responsible,he should block it.Harry Reid is contending that this is an emergency situation and thus normal accountability rules don't apply here.Do we see a pattern with these "need to act now" actions?
The real problem is all of this could have been avoided ahead of time.This will still pass anyway,probably after the Democrats implement cloture and pass it with 51 votes.That will cause a delay and all of the unemployed will have to reapply and will miss at least one week of benefits.
But keep in mind that Bunning has disputed this for some time and Reid elected not to take any action ahead of time.Now,the Democrats want to gain some political capital at the expense of the GOP,even though Bunning stands on his own not supported by his colleagues.There were several options available to head this off and have it "paid for".Remember the Obama pledge of paygo?That all legislation must be paid for as it's passed?
Bunning won't get anyone to back him here as this is way too big of a political hot potato.He's also retiring at the end of the year and doesn't need to worry about fallout.So,I would hope that he rescinds at the last minute after having made his point as the unemployed are going to pay the price for being caught in the middle of a political battle.But for the record,he's absolutely correct in his stance.We simply can't continue to spend without limits and accountability.And Reid could have avoided the whole incident had he been proactive when there was time.Instead he chose to make this into an "emergency situation" and he is just as much to blame here.These spending battles are likely to become more commonplace in the future as our economic situation continues to deteriorate.More to come...