Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jim Bunning’s Lessons

The GOP can whine all they want about how broken Washington is (and revise history in the process), but they’re the ones who can teach a lesson in what real obstructionism is all about.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) is already infamous for blocking a temporary extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits for out of work Americans. But included in that package is legislation to prevent a mandatory pay cut for doctors–and by standing in its way, he’s triggered a 21 percent fee reduction to doctors seeing Medicare patients starting today.

Republicans say they support a temporary measure to avoid the cuts, but they have been unable to rein in Bunning, and, as such, the Senate has failed to act on a House bill that staves them off.

But that’s okay; people collecting welfare are just lazy and coddled.

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.”

Unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,” Kyl said during debate over whether unemployment insurance and other benefits that expired amid GOP objections Sunday should be extended.

“I’m sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue that it’s a job enhancer. If anything, as I said, it’s a disincentive. And the same thing with the COBRA extension and the other extensions here,” said Kyl.

So what’s the lesson here, class? Well, the Republicans are showing exactly what abuse of the filibuster is really like, and that no matter how odious the results of one senator’s temper tantrum are, there will always be someone who will rise to his defense.