They stood alone
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) stood on the Senate Floor not in opposition to the extension of unemployment benefits; but in support of PayGo legislation. In July 2009, Congress passed HR2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. On the Speaker’s site, Nancy Pelosi bragged that the House passed the Act by a vote of 265-166. Very simply, the bill “requires Congress to offset the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with savings elsewhere in the budget. “
As a part of the budgeting process, spending bills originate in the House. Once the house passes the bill, it is sent to the Senate. If the Senate approves of the spending, it is enacted. If the Senate does not approve of it, the House & Senate work together to revise the bill.
Senator Bunning’s objection to the bill effectively stopped its passage through the Senate. He objected to spending money before finding comparable savings. In this case, he specifically objected to spending $10B for unemployment extensions before finding $10B in savings elsewhere in the budget.
Recap: Nancy Pelosi supported legislation to say that before we spend money we must find savings. She also agreed to an extension of unemployment benefits. Senator Bunning’s actions say, I, too, want an extension of unemployment benefits ($10B) and let’s abide by the Pay-As-You-Go legislation passed in July 2009 and not spend money before we find the savings. They both agree. The only difference is that Senator Bunning stood on his principles and Nancy Pelosi did not.
How much is $10B? It is less than one-half of one percent of the total budget. Senator Bunning did not request a finding of 20%, 10% or even 5% in savings, but less than 1%! He was demonized for suggesting that Congress abide by the rules it passed.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) spoke from the Senate Floor in support of Sen. Bunning. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) stayed on the floor “to help defend Bunning’s right to object.” Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also supported Senator Bunning.
Where were the other GOP senators that claim fiscal accountability and constitutional authority? Where were the politicians that speak at Tea Parties, civic groups and townhalls feigning outrage at the “out of control” government spending and the onslaught of “unsustainable” taxes? Do they lose their resolve in the distance between their home state and DC? Are the speeches just that in an effort to get re-elected?
The unwillingness of the 37 other Republican Senators to stand behind and support Senator Bunning illustrates that they do not think we are worth the less than 0.5% of the federal budget. However, we are expected to contribute 100% of what we “owe” the government. Read Senator Bunning’s Floor Statement on Pay-For Agreement as delivered on March 2, 2010:http://bunning.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsCenter.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=21648539-d0e8-4c3b-6078-362af45228d7
House Speaker’s information in Pay-As-You-Go Act: http://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/legislation?id=0329
Final Vote Results for Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll612.xml
Video of Senator Jim DeMint’s support of Senator Bunning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-G2HO8fL1s
Senator Bunning: “I Object”: http://www.redstate.com/hogan/2010/02/26/senator-bunning-i-object/
Video of Senator Jeff Session’s support of Senator Bunning: http://www.cnsnews.com/public/cnsnewstv/video.aspx?v=Xd8zpruz8z
Senator Bunning’s Floor Statement on Pay-For Agreement as delivered on March 2, 2010: http://bunning.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsCenter.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=21648539-d0e8-4c3b-6078-362af45228d7