Senate Hijacked—Again

A rogue retiring GOP senator is singlehandedly blocking a bill that would extend expiring unemployment benefits and health care payments to jobless Americans. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), largely considered a pariah within his own party after he was essentially forced by GOP leaders to retire this year rather than run for re-election, is demanding that the benefits be paid for with unused stimulus funds rather than add to the deficit. “I'll be here as long as you're here and as long as all those other senators are here and I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this and you propose to never pay for it,” Bunning said. The battle once again highlights the ability of individual senators to gum up the works using parliamentary procedure. Earlier this month, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) attempted to block all of President Obama's appointees from being confirmed unless billions in earmarks stayed in his state.