Jim Bunning Finally Abandons His One-Man Filibuster
Under pressure from members of his own party, Sen. Jim Bunning has abandoned his one-man filibuster of the bill that would extend unemployment benefits another 30 day to the hundreds of thousands whose claims expired on Monday. As reported here, the bill also includes funding for federal highway construction and a "fix" to scheduled cut in fees reimbursed to Medicare providers, among other provisions. A vote is expected tonight.
Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will allow Bunning to offer one amendment for a vote to address his stated concern that the bill must be paid for out of unspent stimulus money. Down the pike, when the Senate gets around to voting on a more comprehensive spending bill, Bunning will be allowed to offer two such amendments.
For a minute there, reports Mother Jones' Stephanie Mencimer, Bunning was a hero to the Tea Party crowd for holding the line on federal spending even if it meant putting the lives of out-of-work Americans at risk. Among those who backed Bunning's unilateral move were Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a perennial Tea Party favorite, as well as Rand Paul, who is running for Bunning's Senate seat with the endorsement of Tea Party groups. (Rand Paul is the son of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., whose quixotic 2008 presidential bid led to a first-place win in the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month.)