Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation."
On Monday morning I called Jim Bunning’s Washington office. I wanted to thank him for his willingness to stand up to the big-government-should-be-routine that is now just expected in Congress.
The fellow who answered the phone was very polite, but he seemed fatigued. “I bet you haven’t received many calls like mine today.” He assured me he had not.
Mr. Bunning is just about finished with his Senate term. While he is not completely free from the influence of the big-Republican machine, he has often voted in generally liberty-increasing ways, both in the Senate and when he was in the House of Representatives from our district.
I was very proud to have Mr. Bunning as MY Senator as he refused to go along with the no-debate ‘unanimous consent’ route to a few more billions of government spending. Yes, it was a small thing in the big picture of really big government under which we now suffer. But the symbolism was heroic and wonderful.
If I were you, I would not be worrying about some federal bureaucrats who had a few days off work. (We would be much better off if many of the feds found private employment.) I would be wondering why more members of the Senate have not done what Bunning did more often.
Bully for you, Mr. Bunning. Good job. Well done. Do it some more of the same in what is left of your term.