WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Bunning has again blocked the Senate from extending unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless.
The Kentucky Republican objected Tuesday to a request by Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a fellow Republican, to pass a 30-day extension of jobless benefits and other expired measures. The measure would also extend highway programs and prevent a big cut in Medicare payments to doctors.
And so, along with a number of other top Democrats, Washington Sen. Patty Murray is responding by making this an object lesson in what's wrong with the U.S. Senate.
Today we have a clear cut example to show the American people just what’s wrong with Washington, D.C.
That is because today—one, single Republican senator is standing in the way of the unemployment benefits of 400,000 Americans.
One single, Republican senator is blocking an extension of COBRA benefits for 500,000 Americans.
One single, Republican senator is forcing doctors to take a 21% cut in Medicare reimbursement rates that could force seniors to be turned away from the Medicare coverage they rely on.
One single, Republican senator is blocking an extension of critical highway funds that has construction workers and transportation employees at home today and that has cut critical payments to struggling state.
One single, Republican Senator has put posturing before people, politics before families, and point scoring before the needs of struggling Americans.
Madam President, the legislation that we are trying so hard to pass is very straight forward—It’s aimed at helping real families with the real problems they face every day. And the consequences of it being blocked are just as real.
Expect a lot more of this today. Besides being good politics, it's also a roundabout—but effective—way of continuing to make the case that Senate Republicans are only interested in obstruction and delay, and therefore health care reform needs to be pushed through over their objections.