Bunning's Blockade Ends

Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-KY) blockade of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) extenders package finally ended last night, as the Senate passed the measure that will keep unemployment insurance, COBRA, and highway programs going.

Since Bunning's resistance made headlines, the Democratic message machine cranked out criticism after criticism of Bunning's move Monday and Tuesday.

But as Bunning has gained so much attention for blocking the bill--refusing to give his consent to proceed to a vote, without which the majority party would face procedural delays of roughly a week, even keeping the Senate in session on its off-days--roughly half the Republican caucus ended up voting against it.

Nineteen GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted "no" on the bill, which will add just under $10.3 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In the deal to end his blockage, Bunning got to offer an amendment that would have paid for the extenders; the Senate voted on a point of order that would have let them proceed to Bunning's amendment (effectively signifying a vote on the amendment itself); Senate Republicans (except for two who didn't vote) supported it en masse, along with Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Ben Nelson (D-NE).

On the floor, Bunning complained that Reid could have used procedural tools to overcome Bunning's objection, which he voiced last week:

"Now there was nothing stopping him from using the tools at his disposal to overcome my objection," Bunning said. "The Leader could have filed cloture on the bill and brought it to the floor last week...If he had done that, this bill would be signed into law already."

Senate rules, however, would have provided for seven days of time before a vote could take place, if Bunning had objected at each point along the way, had Reid needed to go through two rounds of cloture--one to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the bill, and another to invoke cloture on the actual bill.

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Politics

Just In