Unhinged GOP Sen. Bunning Flips The Bird to ABC Producer

March 1, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Jim Bunning, the volatile Republican Senator from Kentucky who single-handedly blocked the extension of unemployment checks and COBRA health insurance benefits for over a million Americans, doubled down on his vengeful obstructionist crusade on Monday. Bunning, 78, who is not seeking reelection, continued with his objections to the extensions, insisting that the benefits be paid for by stimulus funds. Before Bunning entered the senate chamber this afternoon, he had an angry confrontation with an ABC producer and two reporters, seeking to question him about his obstructionist tactics. Bunning, first responded to senate producer Z. Byron Wolf’s request for an on-camera interview by obscenely raising his middle finger towards the producer. And when two ABC reporters approached Bunning, as he was about to enter an elevator, he angrily shouted at the reporters, saying “Excuse me! This is a Senator’s only elevator!”

As the two ABC reporters sought to question Bunning, he became angrier and angrier, his face contorted in a snarl and his voice rising to a loud shout. When ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Bunning why he was blocking the bill, Bunning responded that he already stated his reasons for blocking the bill last week, when he demanded that it be paid for. Bunning then shouted: “Excuse me!” “I’ve got to go to the floor!”

As the elevator doors closed, Bunning was asked if he is concerned about Americans losing their benefits. He didn’t answer.

Bunning reiterated his stance against the extension of unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans, during a time when the country is suffering from a near double-digit unemployment rate and a deep recession:

“If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” Bunning said on Monday.

Sen. Harry Reid didn’t buy Bunning’s sudden concern for fiscal responsibility:

“Where was my friend from Kentucky when we had two wars that were unpaid for during the Bush administration?” he asked. Reid also mentioned the Bush administration tax cuts, which are also unpaid for.

“We don’t need lectures here on debt” from the GOP, said Reid. “There are poor people all over America who are desperate today.”

According to Roll Call, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-KY) will now seek a vote on an expanded measure, extending unemployment benefits for a full year. In addition to unemployment payments and COBRA insurance benefits, the measure blocked by Bunning also included extensions for flood insurance, highway funding, small business loans and the compulsory copyright license used by satellite TV providers, all of which expired on Sunday.

In response to Bunning’s heartless blocking of unemployment benefits that jobless Americans need to pay for their rent and food, an unemployment group is calling for Bunning, a former Major League pitcher, to be ousted from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) pointed out that Bunning’s filibuster provides Democrats with an opportunity to “educate” the public on the consequences of Republican abuses of the filibuster rule in the senate. “I think he’s done more in the last few days to draw attention to Republican procedural abuses in the Senate than anything we’ve seen,” said Van Hollen.

Bunning is on an obscenity roll. Last week he told all unemployed Americans about to lose their benefits, “tough shit.” Today, the acerbic and unhinged Bunning made an obscene gesture to an ABC producer, literally raising his middle finger to all jobless Americans. What’s next?


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