March 2nd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today praise Senator Jim Bunning for “his principled stand against deficit-spending by simply asking that if unemployment insurance is to be extended, that it be paid for by cutting something else.”
“The simple reality is that the money to pay for extending unemployment benefits by $10 billion indefinitely does not exist on budget. Senator Bunning deserves credit for offering a proposal that does pay for it without steeping the nation further into debt,” Wilson said.
Yesterday, on the floor of the Senate, Bunning explained his stand, “If we can’t find $10 billion to pay for it, we’re not going to pay for anything. We will not pay for anything fully on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Now, [Senator Dick Durbin] said I only offered one way to pay for this. That’s untrue. I offered more than one way. I negotiated with the Leader — the Leader’s staff, rather, and we had worked out two-week extension to $5 billion with a different pay-for.”
Bunning continued, attempting to proceed on the bill, H.R. 4961, with his amendment attached, “So I’m going to make one more shot, and as long as we continue to have the extenders being brought forth and paid for, I’m going to make it. I ask Unanimous Consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H.R. 4691, that the amendment at the desk which offers a full offset be agreed to, the bill be amended — as amended be read a third time and passed, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.”
Senator Dick Durbin, however, objected, leaving the Senate at an impasse.
“Senate Democrats could simply invoke cloture on the unemployment benefits extension. They do not need unanimous consent at all,” Wilson said.
If a Senator does not agree to unanimous consent, cloture can be filed, requiring 60 votes, which Wilson noted “the Democrats would easily get. Perhaps they do not want to go on the record for expanding the debt by another $10 billion. Cloture votes get recorded so that constituents can hold their senators accountable for how they vote.”
Bunning noted on the Senate floor that Senate Democrats had not filed for a motion of cloture on the issue: “Everybody knows that a member of this body that anybody, 100 of us, can object to anything that is brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate, whether it be a nominee, whether it be a judge, whether it be somebody that is appointed to the Treasury. Anybody can object. And there is a procedure that takes place that you can overcome that objection. Why doesn’t the Democratic majority use that procedure?”
Wilson said, “The reason is because Senate Democrats do not want to pay for the unemployment benefits extension, and they’d rather pretend that Senator Bunning is against extending said benefits. He’s not. He merely wants the Senate to pay for it and not borrow the money from Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and others.”
The U.S., according to the Office of Management and Budget, faces a $1.556 trillion budget deficit for 2010, money that will have to be borrowed.
“Bunning’s point is that if the Senate cannot bring itself to cut even $10 billion out of the budget to pay for additional unemployment insurance, that will not bring itself to make the even tougher decisions required to balance a budget that is $1.556 trillion in deficit,” Wilson explained.
On Friday, on the floor of the Senate, Bunning said, “There are going to be other bills brought to this floor that are not going to be paid for, and I’m going to object every time they do it.”
Wilson concluded, “Senator Bunning’s courageous stand, against the Senate majority, and against even members of his own party, is the sort of principled leadership that it will take to balance the budget and pay off the gargantuan $12.4 trillion national debt. It’s time to start making tough decisions.”