Blockage

GOP Split on Bunning Filibuster

Sen. Jim Bunning's (R-KY) continued filibuster of a bill that would help thousands of unemployed people, federal workers, and Medicare doctors is splitting his party. Several Republican senators-from liberal Mainer Susan Collins to conservative Oklahoman Jim Inhofe-want to restore the unemployment and COBRA benefits, but can't get Bunning to back down. Conservative consultants are telling their politician clients to distance themselves from Bunning if they're asked about it. The GOP leadership has little leverage over the retiring senator, though some don't entirely oppose his actions. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and National Republican Senate Committee chair John Cornyn (R-TX) have both defended Bunning. Meanwhile, the Kentuckian is unifying Democrats. They see him as putting a human face the consequences of what they consider Republican obstructionism. So far, Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn't forced an end to Bunning's filibuster, but those in his caucus say it can't be allowed to go on forever.