Monday, March 01, 2010

GOP Kentucky Senator blocks federal highway funding, leading to furloughs, also ending extended unemployment benefits for millions

Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) is being “blamed” for the fact that 2000 federal transportation workers are on unpaid furlough today, while at the same time 400,000 unemployed workers around the nation find their extended unemployment benefits run out. Apparently Bunning made a decision last week to block this legislation ($10 billion), which he says will add to the federal deficit. It's not clear if the gap in unemployment benefits would be filled if the funding eventually passes.

The CBS News story this morning is here. The White House itself is blaming Bunning.

Media outlets have lately been referring to GOP callousness on the needs of unemployed and uninsured Americans.

Here is Bunning’s website. He says “I have offered the same COBRA, flood insurance, unemployment insurance, Satellite Home Viewing Act, highway funding, SBA loans, small business provisions--I have offered to do the same thing for the same amount of time. The only difference I have, and some of my good friends from the other side of the aisle, is that I believe we should pay for it.”

Locally, in the DC area, work on replacing the Humpback Bridge on the George Washington Parkway in norther VA comes to a halt. Also the 9th Street Bridge repair is on hold (source: WJLA).

Update: March 2 (evening):

Senators reached an agreement to end Jim Bunning's filibuster. CNN story "Jobless benefits deal reached" here.

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