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Bunning Pulls A Shelby, Places Holds on Every Obama Nominee UPDATE: Deal Imminent

Multiple sources report that Jim Bunning, who has been withholding consent to pass a short-term extension of unemployment and COBRA benefits, has now informed Harry Reid’s office that he will place holds on all Presidential nominees, presumably to call attention to his crusade to deny Americans needed benefits.

What’s fascinating about this is how it’s become such a normal procedure of late. When Richard Shelby pulled this stunt, to raise awareness on him wanting some pork for his state, most observers commented that it was an unprecedented use of a Senator’s hold power. Now, Bunning has replicated it within the space of a few WEEKS.

Bunning has apparently also stormed the White House and is beginning to light it afire.

Maybe now President Obama will not avoid taking a shot at the Bunning action, and instead dare to “look partisan” in criticizing it.

UPDATE: Apparently the pressure got to Bunning. He’s now close to an agreement on a deal to move the short-term extension of provisions including unemployment benefits as soon as tonight. Bunning would get a vote on offsets to the $10 billion dollar cost of the short-term bill, and a promise to vote on two of his amendments to the larger, $150 billion dollar package (which has a one-year extension of UI and COBRA benefits) slated for later in the week. If the deal gets worked out, Democrats assume that Bunning will lift the holds on Obama nominees as well.

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David Dayen

David Dayen