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March 2nd, 2010
07:14 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Bunning's Blockade Over?

Sen. Jim Bunning says that if the benefits are so important, senators could find a way to fund them.

Sen. Jim Bunning says that if the benefits are so important, senators could find a way to fund them.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

It looks like Sen. Jim Bunning's filibuster of the $10 billion to extend benefits for unemployed workers is over. For several days, the one senator had been single-handedly blocking any assistance for those in need.

A vote is expected tonight on the measure. We'll bring you the breaking news.

The Kentucky Republican has come under attack by many in his own party and Democrats over his actions. But Bunning's blockade may be history. Tonight's agreement calls for at least two votes. One on extending the benefits. The other vote will be on an amendment proposed by Bunning to pay for it.

Bunning, who is retiring at the end of his year, said he doesn't oppose extending jobless benefits. He just doesn't want to add to the deficit.

"We cannot keep adding to the debt and passing the buck to generations of future workers and taxpayers, my children and your children and our grandchildren," Bunning said this evening on the Senate floor after the agreement was reached.

Stuck in middle of the stalemate, more than a million people who could stop getting unemployment benefits this month if the bill doesn't pass. The bill also provides money for highway projects. The Department of Transportation furloughed 2,000 workers yesterday because the Senate failed to pass the legislation to extend funding for the projects.

We also have the latest developments from Chile where the death toll from Saturday's earthquake is nearing 800. Aftershocks are complicating relief and rescue efforts. Tonight Karl Penhaul shows up the devastation in the small port town of Dichato where after the quake a massive tsunami hit.

There's also a debate going on across America after the SeaWorld tragedy. Should animals, like the killer whale that fatally wounded a trainer, even be held in captivity? Tonight Gary Tuchman looks at the careful balance needed when using animals for education or for performances. He visited the largest wild animal sanctuary in the U.S. The director of the facility in Texas says many of the animals come from cruel and abusive backgrounds. Some performed in circuses and roadside shows. The director of the facility says the animals were taken from their natural habitat and had to perform for people in a very unnatural setting. But is the comparison to those animals and to the SeaWorld's killer whale fair? A trainer at the aquatic amusement park their animals are not mistreated and that they are happy.
Do you agree? Sound off below.

Join us for these stories and more at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. ross from nacogdoches

    Many Americans are showing their true colors in the wake of the Bunning filibuster. They spend time on the internet crying about the Government taking away their monthly "allolwance" checks after months or years of free checks. Cry me a river! I have been unemployed for over a year, and I am staying afloat through odds and ends (not accepting unemployment). Try being in a nation that doesn't have an unemployment plan, and then tell me how tough life can be. If you want a job, build a bridge to cross the river you cried.
    enough said

    March 3, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  2. ronvan

    WAKE UP! Everyone is a fault, especially, WE the people. We argue, complain, demonstrate, etc. yet, WE are the ones that continue to re elect some of these "chldren" to office. I am so tired of listening to some of these "career politicans", especially the ones that are so entrenced in the system they cannot say hello without stuttering, stammering and making a political speach! Our country, with all of its problems, continues to spin out of control while the Dems, Reps, Right, Left, Center, Blue dogs, Red dogs, Hot dogs, Christian, Atheist,
    Pro life, and on and on continually put money in their pockets, for their OWN agenda, not ours! Just how worse off would we be to vote all of our current "representatives, OUT and start over?

    March 3, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  3. David, Indiana

    I disagree with Sen Bunning on slowing down extending unemployment benefits, but he didn't slow them down, and it is courageous what the Senator did.

    Maybe it is about getting the budget here at home back on track to come out of this massive plunge into the red we are in.

    Enjoyed the shot. It's rare to see those creatures foraging about and grooming eachother in the wilds of Central Park.

    March 3, 2010 at 3:59 am |
  4. inde

    Now this "moral" man has a pay as you go conscience; when the working class are in dire straights; but not, when the rich want a tax cut.

    March 3, 2010 at 3:22 am |
  5. W. Smith

    I am an unemployed Architectural Designer. I have been unemployed now for nearly a year, with the exception of working for a small commercial contractor in the mid summer months of 2009 for a short while. Accountability, as the previous blogger has posted, seems to be in the hands of why we are in this recession in the first place. Hard working people like myself who have struggled to find jobs and have reduced their budgets in order to stretch what little unemployment benefits we do receive to the limits, to only have Bunning feel the need to posture his way to the eleventh hour moments is pathetic. In order to bolster this economy, you have to show the American People that we are supportive of their needs NOW! With the current unemployment levels the way they are, most people aren't able to find work because the competion is so high for a small number of available jobs, degreed or not.

    Simply put, stop all the posturing and get it done so that I can return to my love of Architecture!

    March 3, 2010 at 2:36 am |
  6. Erin L.

    One more thing. Senator Bunning you owe each unemployed person an apology for your selfish disregard of those who are need of the assistance and benefits. The fact that you have now decided to think about our deficit shows you are just being a jerk against the Democrats. Understand that no one cares right now about either side we just want our benefits or a job.

    March 3, 2010 at 2:33 am |
  7. Erin L.

    I am so tired of the politicians playing with our lives and our money and time to prove a point. Senator Bunning is making his point on our dime and not his. So what he is not running for re-election but he still has a job and will retire with a great package. Politicians live in this bubble of money, greed, and being catered to and forget what it is like to be a real person with real problems. My husband and I are both unemployed currently. I found out I was pregnant with our first child three weeks after I was laid off and at the time I was the sole bread winner. Thank God he is in the military or we would be in terrible shape. I need politicians and people like Eric Anderson to understand this is not a joke and we are real and we do not make six figure salaries we make no where near it and we need help. Understand we need help and we want to work and would love to work. Eric Anderson you should be ashamed of yourself and pray you are never in the unemployed American's situation.

    March 3, 2010 at 2:26 am |
  8. Mona

    Businesses pay unemployment insurance to pay for unemployment benifits. Bunning is a jerk. If he and the others want to pay for the unemployment bill and for the cuts to the budget I would love to see their pay cut back to a regular civil servants pay. How many times did he vote for himself a pay raise while in office?

    March 3, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  9. gary paschen

    I understand this bill only provides for benefits another 30 days. What happens next month when the benefits expire again; In our area the job situation will not turn around that fast if ever. People that have jobs are working harder, lots for no more pay, I own some apartments, 80% of the tenants pay weekly most try to keep up but all can't . I can't throw them out on the street . I find out that a lot af people never planned ther lives, they take life day by day and week by week hanging by a thread.

    March 3, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  10. sabrina english

    why is it that we are always willing to help other countries but, neglect are very own?There are alot of people out here right now struggling to survive.Fighting to put food on the table,clothes on there childrens back,and a roof over there families head.Know one is out here collecting unemployment because its fun! Families are doing what they have to do in order to survive.Did bunning forget that were just barely out of a recession??Amazing that they want to use are tax dollars for everything else besides helping us feed are kids at a time when unemployment may be the only way for majority of the families that are with out jobs!! Bunning is a close minded ass that needs to keep his views on what he thinks the jobless needs unless he is willing to front the bill for us to continue to provide for our families.He has a job and is able to provide for his families. He doesnt have a clue what we go through tryin to stretch a unemployment check a million different ways to maintain are families needs.So, until he is in our shoes literally he needs to stick to baseball because, this is a field he has no experience in or knows anything about!!!!!!

    March 3, 2010 at 1:46 am |
  11. Kenny

    Senator Bunning is not trying to punish anyone. He is just putting everyone in check who voted for the paygo bill. It appears to me he is not the hypocrite but everyone who voted for the bill is. Senator Bunning did not vote for the bill however he is standing by it.

    March 3, 2010 at 1:21 am |
  12. Adele

    Sen. Bunning's first concern should be the health and well being of all Americans who have lost thier jobs through no fault of their own. All officials who voted the employment extension down obviously have no clue as to what a nightmare it is in not knowing where your next meal is going to come from, how your bills are going to be paid and wondering if there is every going to be any hope of ever finding a job.If all unemployed Americans don't receive unemployment benefits how are they to live?

    March 3, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  13. George

    It is true of the times; we are at the point of zero tolerance. No elected official assuming a role of power and authority with no interest in those he or she serves should remain assigned. Voters have had it with these elected officials and are ready to vote today if they had to. The state of the economy is putting on display the difference in the classes; the poor do still exist and are desperate. As always, a greedy few rape and pillage the people, the law protects them, till there’s nothing else. The less fortunate and poor can and will vote. Access to technology has kept them informed if not educated. They will only vote for those who have walked in their shoes. They will vote to remove the grandfathered in and those on their 3rd or 4th term. Enough is enough.

    March 2, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  14. LINDA TULSA

    SeN, Bunning
    , How dare you.? you should be ashamed of yourself..
    You make a hefty salary, how do you think it would feel if you suddenly lost your JOB.?
    II am looking for , it is not easy,like the rest of us unemployed, when was the last time you had to look for work 1939?
    Theb you wonder why citizens don't vote for REPUBLICANS!!!!.
    I am done Voting for anyone again.

    March 2, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  15. karen

    I'm 61, out of work for over 1 1/2 years, have applied for approximately 150 jobs (serious applications), work TWO part–time jobs to supplement my unemployment. I'm scared to death. I'm delivering pizzas and working as a concession cashier...have a college degree, etc. Walk a mile in my shoes....if you think I'm having a fun early retirement! What a jerk!

    March 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  16. Brooke Hazard

    My comment is. . . 30 days is not enough. What happens then? My first exension benefits run our April 3 (3 days short of the extended deadline.) What about everyone like me? Is there a next step?

    March 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  17. Toby

    I hope that everyone in congress gets voted out. I am tired of finger pointing and nothing getting fixed. Washington politics is out of control and I am telling everyone I know to just vote these corporate backpocket politicians out and get these lobbyist out of Washington.

    March 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  18. Tony, Monticello, Indiana

    The only way we can escape politics as usual is to eliminate this two party system we are trapped in. People are fed up with Washington but come election time they are offered no real alternatives. This of course is by design and those within the system do not want it to change because they would no longer be part of the system. It takes alot to get people to change and I believe the American people are reaching that point. Unfortunately nothing will change unless there is a large grass roots movement to demand extensive and drastic change in our governmental process. I hope and pray the American spirit will be awakened and we can once again take back our country and with it our national pride and dignity. This is still the greatest country in which to live.

    March 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  19. Andy

    At what point does Unemployment benefits just become welfare?
    There will not be any change until the government runs out of money, then they can't extend benefits and there won't be anything for anyone.
    Bunning is right, we cannot continue this spending.
    Take all the money from all those that make over $200k and give it away in benefits. Then we will have communism. No one will want to work hard and there will be long lines for the measly products available.
    Many people want jobs and stopping benefits will make them figure out new thing, new ideas, new ways to make money. They will take jobs they may not want, but they will have to work.

    March 2, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  20. Dave Gee

    Sen. Bunning is trying to make people be accountable. This is the kind of stuff that happens when a person is not trying to run for reelection. If we simply had term limits then every one of them would be voting for the right things not for the politically correct things. Having said that, I think it was sad that he chose to pick the bill that helps those who are without work right now!

    March 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  21. Karen Tuenge

    Government at all levels has got to learn to balance the budget, year by year, and decade by decade, just as we balance our budget here at home.

    March 2, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    Sounds like a great program for tonight. I'm glad the extension for unemployment benefits might get passed tonight. I don't like adding to the deficit either; but I like even less the results if we don't – hungry families with no homes since there is no money to pay the rent, etc. We are quick to help people in other countries who have no food or shelter; we need to do it here at home as well.

    The SeaWorld story is shining the spotlight on the practice of having animals in captivity to entertain people – it needs to be ended and the animals returned to their native habitats, especially the larger animals like the killer whales. I'm looking forward to the segment on this tonight and to the show in general.

    March 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  23. Elaine, Denver

    In regard to Sen Bunning – most states are broke or headed that way. Mismanagement and misappropriation of funds from Federal right down to cities and towns plague our country. Yes, the bailouts added to the deficit as well as other programs, but to mess with unemployment and have our broke or almost broke states fund it is nearly impossible.

    Perhaps it is time for the rich to help the middle and poor classes – I'm sure someone helped them get where they are now.

    March 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm |