If Jim Bunning wants to continue his filibuster against the extension of emergency unemployment benefits, Senate Democrats increasingly likely to force him to stay on the floor -- all night, if necessary -- to carry it out. Roll Call:
Although no final decisions have been made, Democrats confirmed it is increasingly likely that Democrats will force Bunning into an actual filibuster of unemployment insurance extension Tuesday night by repeatedly offering up unanimous consent agreements to bring the bill to a vote.
Although Members often threaten actual filibusters, they rarely materialize. Instead, lawmakers tend to rely on "Cadillac filibusters," essentially stalling procedures that can be used to block legislation without having to actually stay put on the Senate floor.
Democrats on Tuesday signaled they have the resolve to remain in session throughout the night to force Bunning to abandon his cause. The American people "want an end to these games. And I hope that today we’ll see the end. If we don’t, we’re going to have to have a long, long night ahead of us to make the point that it’s wrong for one Senator to stop our people, our American people, from getting the help they deserve," Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.
According to Roll Call, Republicans are demanding Democrats hold three separate votes on so-called "pay-fors" in order to win Bunning's agreement on the unemployment benefits extension. Each "pay-for" take money from other programs to pay for the extension. Last week, Democrats agreed to one such vote, but today Majority Leader Reid rejected the Republican ransom, saying Democrats would honor their original deal, but that it was unacceptable to shift the goal posts just to score political points on the backs of unemployed American workers.
A side note: a few hours earlier today, Fox claimed that Bunning's filibuster had been resolved. Maybe that report was Fair & Balanced, but it wasn't right. But now that Democrats are making it clear that Bunning is going to have to actually stay on the floor round-the-clock to conduct his filibuster, hopefully we'll see some actual progress.