U.S. Senator Jim Bunning today announced that legislation to extend temporary unemployment benefits for an additional five months has passed the United States Congress. The legislation, which was unanimously approved yesterday by the Senate and by a vote of 416–4 today in the House, would also provide a temporary 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for all individuals who exhaust their traditional benefits before June 1, 2003. “The 108th Congress is off to a solid start,” said Bunning. “This is hopeful news for our most needy families in Kentucky. By approving this legislation we will help those folks who are currently without work continue to make ends meet until they can find new employment.” Passage of this legislation means that there will be no lapse in assistance for the nearly 10,000 Kentuckians who have filed claims so far for extended benefits. The last extension expired on December 28, 2002. President Bush is expected to sign the bill tomorrow, which means the next payment to states can still be made on Friday, January 10, as originally scheduled.
His excuse for his current bout of obstructionism is that the proposed extension isn’t “paid for,” but this 2003 vote was no different.
Meanwhile, most of Bunning’s Republican colleagues seem to know that he’s in the wrong but are unwilling to actually come out and say so.