Sen. 'Scrooge' Bunning's brushback pitch hurting the unemployed

Aaron Crowe

Sen. Jim Bunning's boneheaded move last week to block a jobs bill in Congress that would extend unemployment benefits for 1.2 million Americans is forcing at least one long-term unemployed person into a potentially dangerous situation.

Richard Hutnik, 42, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has been unemployed for three years and his $430 benefit every two weeks is being delayed, forcing him to move out of a $630-a-month dorm he lives in and back home with his abusive father, Hutnik told WalletPop in a telephone interview today.

"I miss a week or two of unemployment benefits, I fall behind on it," he said of the rent on his temporary housing.

Ebenezer Scrooge has some competition from Bunning, a Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher (thanks to the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee in 1996) and a retiring senator from Kentucky who said he was blocking the bill because he didn't want to add to the federal deficit.

The Senate expects to reconsider the bill this week if senators can convince Bunning to give up his fillibuster. Along with delaying benefits at least through March 31, Bunning's block has caused the U.S. Transportation Department to lay off 2,000 employees today, halting construction projects, according to a Bloomberg story.