Bunning and Reid go head to head over benefits extension

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

After Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) ended his standoff on Tuesday, the Senate approved an extension of unemployment benefits and funding for federal highway projects.

About 2,000 Transportation Department workers were called back to work Wednesday after two days of furlough as a result of the blockade.

Bunning said he had blocked the legislation out of fiscal concerns. After reaching an agreement that led to Tuesday's vote, he said, "I hope Senate Democrats tonight vote for their own pay-fors and show Americans that they are committed to fiscal discipline. I will be watching them closely and checking off the hypocrites one by one."

Democrats accused the senator from Kentucky and his fellow Republicans of political recklessness. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said the deal "came about because Republicans realized they were wrong."

Earlier Tuesday, Bunning and Reid squared off on the Senate floor over the impasse, and one Democrat after another spoke out about the damage being done in their districts.

To watch the video of Reid and Bunning, go to http://washingtonpost.com/politics. Story, A1.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company