Jim Bunning Gives America The Finger

Last week Senator Jim Bunning swore as he stopped passage by unanimous consent of extensions for federal unemployment payments, COBRA subsidies, and a Medicare pay fix. Today he resorted to finger gestures.

Besides blocking unemployment and COBRA benefits the bill held up funding for the federal Flood Insurance Program, which could delay real estate closings. The Department of Transportation furloughed two thousand workers without pay and is suspending construction projects due to a lack of funding.

The measure would have also prevented an automatic twenty-one percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements to physicians due to a flawed payment formula. It is expected that if this persists many physicians will reduce the  number of Medicare and Tricare patients they will see.

The Senate will try to attach this funding to other measures later this week and it is possible that some of this funding will be restored. CMS has ordered a ten day delay in processing Medicare payments in the hopes that the cuts will be eliminated before then. It is not clear as to whether the missed unemployment benefits will still be paid at a later date.

Update: E.J. Dionne ties this into an attempt to reduce the estate tax:

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has put a hold on the extension bill, but one of the key reasons the measure is blocked is the effort of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) to use it as a way of forcing a cut in the estate tax. Kyl is essentially leveraging the unemployed to get a deal on estate tax relief that would cost $138 billion over the next decade, according to estimates by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The estate tax has already been cut sharply, so the reduction Kyl is pushing along with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) would affect the estates of fewer than three out of every 1,000 deceased, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The proposal helps estates worth more than $7 million in the case of couples. I guess struggling millionaires deserve the same empathy we feel for those without a job.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    #topprog says:

    RT @ronchusid: Jim Bunning Gives America The Finger http://bit.ly/bLYz90 #p2 #topprog

  2. 2
    OldeCountry says:

    #tcot = #Pharisees RT @ronchusid Jim Bunning Gives America The Finger http://bit.ly/bLYz90 #p2 #topprog

  3. 3
    Leslie Parsley says:

    No wonder even the Republicans wanted to get rid of him. And now he’s trying to stick it to everyone.

  4. 4
    Ray says:

    He even looks like Cheney…

  5. 5
    Timothy Williamson says:

    » Jim Bunning Gives America The Finger Liberal Values http://bit.ly/9Dxs5X

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