Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky launched a one-man filibuster against a popular and bipartisan jobs bill that would help the hardest hit Americans. Bunning objects to the bill being added to the deficit and says it should be paid for.
The extension of jobless benefits was included in a bill that the House passed earlier Thursday by a voice vote. The bill would also extend federal subsidies to help pay health premiums for people who have lost health insurance along with their jobs.
In addition, the bill would extend current Medicare payment rates for doctors through March 31, sparing them from a 21 percent cut. The cut is scheduled to take effect on Monday.
The bill also extends programs providing flood insurance, small business loans and the copyright license used by satellite television providers – – all through March 28.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl tried to get an answer from Bunning as to why he was blocking this legislation, only to be yelled at for getting close to a senators-only elevator.
Senator Bunning was even more expressive before the cameras arrived, using a little sign language.
When Senate producer Z. Byron Wolf spotted Bunning exiting his office, Bunning said, “I’m not talking to anybody.” When Wolf asked him to stay and talk to our cameras, Bunning walked toward the elevator and shot the middle finger over his head.