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Democrats Present New Unemployment Benefits Plan After Bunning Blocking

Jim Bunning, Bane of the U.S. Unemployment Benefits BillTo prevent unemployed Americans from becoming even more miserable, Senate Democrats presented today a comprehensive legislation that would reinstate unemployment benefits retroactively to March 1, prevent lay offs, and help the jobless get health insurance at a lower price. The $ 150-billion proposal allocates $ 81 billion for unemployment benefits and $ 25 billion to prevent job cuts in the federal workforce.

The unemployment benefits expired yesterday because Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning exercised his “right to object” as a duly elected senator, effectively causing hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans to lose financial assistance. Bunning prevented the passage of the unemployment benefits bill last week because he did not want that the $ 10-billion budget for the one-month extension of the program be added to the annual budget. The senator from Kentucky, who is set to retire at the end of the year, wanted the Senate to slash the amount from other areas of the annual budget to avoid increasing the deficit.

Bunning’s action also caused the temporary lay off of some 2,000 federal employees of the Department of Transportation because the funds for the workers’ salaries were included in the bill.

Up to 1.2 million unemployed Americans are in danger of losing financial support starting this month if the $ 150-billion bill is not approved.