Sec. of State Trey Grayson, Republican U.S. Senate candidate
“I would proudly stand up to ensure that programs are paid for and think that this is further evidence of mismanagement of the Senate by Harry Reid. If we had not wasted time debating and passing a pet bill for Reid, we would not have been in the situation that led to the delay. I agree with Senators Bunning and McConnell that the government has a responsibility to pay for its programs and a good place to start would be to cut funding from the stimulus in order to pay for the extension of unemployment benefits. If the stimulus had done its job, we would not need more unemployment insurance.” – Trey Grayson
Rand Paul, Republican U.S. Senate candidate
“I applaud Senator Bunning for standing up for us last night in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were trying to ram through billions of dollars in new spending without a vote. There’s nothing wrong with coming to the floor of the Senate and asking "Why are we spending billions more and how are we planning on paying for it?." It’s sad that in Washington DC these days, that kind of responsibility is so often maligned and even ridiculed. Well, more Senators need to stand up for the taxpayers and against the big spending career politicians in both parties. That’s why I’d be proud to follow Senator Bunning in Washington and why it’s so important that we send someone who will stand up and fight.”
Robert Steurer, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator McConnell supports extending unemployment benefits and is disappointed they will apparently expire. He believes this should have been addressed weeks ago when there was a bipartisan agreement to do so. However, he hopes this issue is resolved quickly so that Kentuckians who are out of work will have their benefits restored soon.
Governor Steve Beshear (D-Kentucky)
Gov. Beshear sends letter urging Sen. Bunning to support extension of unemployment benefits
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2010) – In a letter regarding an extension of unemployment benefits, Gov. Steve Beshear today urged Senator Jim Bunning to allow passage of H.R. 4691, a vital extension of unemployment benefits to 1.2 million Americans.
“These unemployed Kentuckians come from hard-working families that have struggled for months to find new employment in the greatest economic recession in our lifetime,” wrote Gov. Beshear. “They are mothers and fathers who are trying to put food on the table for their children and seniors who are trying to pay the rent.”
Kentucky currently has an unemployment rate of 10.7 percent, and 119,230 Kentuckians are currently receiving benefits through the federal extension program. Without a further extension, 14,206 claimants will exhaust all extension benefits within two weeks. By the end of March, a total of 22,797 will exhaust their benefits; by mid-April, 31,521 will exhaust their benefits; and, by July 31, the remainder of those receiving extension benefits will exhaust them. Beyond the number of those receiving extension benefits, another 90,000 Kentuckians currently on unemployment insurance will not be eligible for the federal extension program at all.
“I urge you to reverse your position on this bill and would welcome any opportunity to provide you with further information on its tremendous necessity,” said Gov. Beshear.
Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate
Mongiardo Denounces Bunning’s Attempt to Block Extending Unemployed Benefits for KY Workers
Asks Grayson and Paul, Whose Side Are You On?
FRANKFORT – Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, the leading Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, this morning denounced Republican U.S. Senator and fellow Kentuckian, Jim Bunning for single-handedly blocking a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans set to expire Sunday, February 28th.
Despite repeated attempts by Democratic Majority Whip Richard Durbin and other Democrats seeking unanimous consent to extend funding for unemployment benefits for America’s unemployed workers, Republican U.S. Senator Jim Bunning objected, blocking the 30-day extension of benefits.
When Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) begged him to drop his objection, Washington's Politico reported that Bunning replied, "Tough Sh--."
Mongiardo said, “Come Monday, unemployment for 1.2 million Americans and tens of thousands of Kentuckians across this Commonwealth who have lost their jobs during this recession and are struggling to keep their homes from foreclosure and put food on the table will now lose or have their unemployment and COBRA health benefits disrupted because of Jim Bunning’s cold-hearted disregard for his fellow Kentuckians.”
Mongiardo then demanded to know where his Republican opponents stand on the issue saying, “I call on Trey Grayson and Rand Paul to tell voters where they stand on the issue of extending unemployment and COBRA health benefits for Kentucky’s unemployed. Tell us, whose side are you on? Are you on Jim Bunning’s side or will you join me and stand up for Kentucky’s families by denouncing Jim Bunning’s callous actions?"
In an email to more than 30,000 supporters, Mongiardo called on Kentuckians across the state to call Jim Bunning's office and urge him to withdraw his objection.
Attorney General Jack Conway, Democrat U.S. Senate candidate
LOUISVILLE – Democratic candidate for United States Senate Jack Conway today issued this statement regarding recent actions by Senator Jim Bunning:
“Jim Bunning’s filibuster of an urgent extension of unemployment and health care benefits is preposterous and it isn’t fair to the people of Kentucky and the nation. Without this extension, these critical benefits that help Kentucky workers and families will expire on Sunday.
“During one of the worst economic crises in generations, as people continue to lose their jobs left and right, Jim Bunning is taking this opportunity to engage in grandstanding and political posturing, despite being asked to stop even by his Republican colleagues.
“It’s outrageous, and we have to stop it. Over 200,000 Kentuckians are out of work. Over one million people nationwide stand to lose unemployment and health benefits if we don’t tell Jim Bunning that we won’t stand for it anymore.
“This is a symptom of the Washington gridlock that is standing in the way of solutions that can help the citizens of Kentucky. We need to tell Jim Bunning that politics don’t come first - the people of Kentucky do. Kentucky needs a fresh voice in Washington - a voice that puts the needs of workers and families first. If elected, I will be that voice.”
Ky. Democratic Party Chair Charlie Moore
Ky. Democratic Party Chair Blasts Jim Bunning
Following is a statement from Charlie Moore, Kentucky Democratic Chairman, on Jim Bunning’s obstruction in the Senate to the extension of unemployment and health benefits.
“It is an outrage and an embarrassment to have a Kentucky senator, Jim Bunning, torpedo unemployment benefits for people who are struggling to survive. To add insult to injury, Bunning responded to appeals to stop blocking the benefits with a vulgarity.
“I call upon Republican officials in this state to convince Jim Bunning to join the 99 other senators and support this extension. Republican candidates for the senate, Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, especially should waste no time in calling for Bunning to reverse his stand. Even as Bunning’s philosophical clones, they must understand his actions are insensitive and hurtful.
“In this depressed economy 10.7 percent of Kentuckians are out of work. Last year Governor Beshear went the extra mile to make sure they were eligible for extended benefits. Now this Republican senator, in whom Kentucky voters put their trust, has brought to a halt actions to provide unemployment insurance and the Cobra program, which allows people who lose their health benefits to continue getting coverage. Without approval, these benefits will expire Sunday night.
“This is one more example of the negative politics from the ‘Party of NO’ that we have seen far too much.”