Breakthrough

Bunning Ends Filibuster

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) accepted a deal to end his filibuster of a bill that would extend unemployment and COBRA benefits after pressure from both parties. Bunning had protested that "pay-go"—a rule that calls for each spending increase to be offset by a cut elsewhere—was not being applied to the bill, which would cost $10 billion to extend benefits an extra 30 days. Though he had much support from conservative activists, and nothing to lose thanks to his decision not to seek reelection this fall, Bunning agreed to a proposal offered by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The deal allows for Bunning to vote once on an amendment that would pay for the bill. Bunning was offered the proposal Thursday, but rejected it, saying it wouldn't pass. The Senate approved the measure 78-19 Tuesday night, but Bunning's amendment failed. The senator was also given a chance to vote twice on amendments to a bigger bill that would extend benefits one year and is currently under consideration.