Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is being drug through the mud for blocking a bill that would extend unemployment benefits. With the two words “I object” the senator has prevented an up or down vote on the bill.
The bill, HR 4691, was passed by the House of Representatives on February 25th.
In addition to extending unemployment benefits, the bill also extends health insurance subsidies, and highway funding. There is also an attachment to the bill that will increase Physician Medicare reimbursement rates. Commonly referred to as Doc Fix, this part of the bill failed to pass the Senate last October because the funding was not offset by other cuts in the budget.
When HR 4691 came up for a vote in the Senate, Senator Bunning objected on the same grounds that the entire Senate used when they failed to pass Doc Fix. The fact that there was no offset offered to pay for the estimated $10 billion cost of this bill.
Why is this important? Because a month ago the Congress passed a ‘pay-as-you-go’ law at the same time they increased the allowable limits on the national debt to 14.29 Trillion Dollars.
Pay-as-you-go is a law designed to prevent congress from further increasing to the national debt by requiring that any ‘new’ expenditures be funded within the existing budget before they are passed into law.
Basically, this is a self-imposed restraint to prevent Congress from continuing their out of control spending habits. The problem, in this case, is Congress wants to ignore their own law.
Senator Bunning simply asks “if we cannot find 10 billion dollars to pay for this, we’re not going to find the money to pay for anything”. Basically, if we are not going to abide by our own law now, we never will.
While Senator Bunning is being named the ‘bad’ person, he may be saving the taxpayers $10 billion, while forcing the Congress to comply with its’ own law.
My question is not ‘why is Senator Bunning doing this’, my question is why aren’t the other 99 Senators doing this as well? It is the law.
Why wouldn’t HR 4691 qualify for Stimulus Funding? But, that is obvious, since the trillion dollar Stimulus is designed to pay back Socialist Billionaires and buy votes in the upcoming elections, not support the economy or create jobs as we have been told.
There is no doubt in my mind that unemployment benefits will be extended, but they cannot be extended indefinitely. The Congress cannot continue to add to the debt when the monies are not only available, they have been set aside for this very issue..
While the main stream media would rather focus on flogging Senator Bunning for his objection, I would rather focus on the principles that he used to make his objection.
Therefore, I must applaud Senator Bunning and give the thumbs down to the rest of the Senate. Their failure to force Obama to pay for this bill out of the Stimulus Fund is the problem. Not Senator Bunning’s standing up for the rule of law.
Senate passes the bill without using pay as you go. Senator Bunning relented and allowed the vote to proceed. Too many Republicans feared a backlash as they were being painted as the bad guys by the press. In today’s politics it is better to look right than be right, I guess. Still, I appreciate the effort by Senator Bunning.