ABC on Wednesday continued to berate Senator Jim Bunning for daring to hold up a $10 billion spending bill, despite the fact that the Kentucky Republican has since allowed the unemployment legislation to pass. Reporter Jonathan Karl piled on, "Even after the deal was struck, Democrats lashed out at Bunning for causing such a mess."
Karl replayed video of him harassing Bunning on Capitol Hill and forcing his way into a Senators-only elevator. Yet, Karl spun, "...Unemployment benefits can now be extended, but only after Senator Jim Bunning tied the Senate up in knots for a week, snapping at reporters." As the video shows, Karl seemed be doing much of the "snapping."
The correspondent derided Bunning as being "forced to relent" by his Senate colleagues. On Tuesday's World News, Karl condescendingly updated the situation by chiding, "Jim Bunning was at it again today." Just two days after the legislation was temporarily stopped, Karl found an "unemployed microbiologist in Texas" who asserted that "no unemployment check will mean she will have to move out of her house."
Finally, in a follow-up news brief in the 8am hour of Wednesday's GMA, Juju Chang incorrectly asserted that Bunning had "has ended his filibuster." Actually, the Senator had simply objected to a unanimous consent request that the legislation be moved along.
Considering that the 60 votes needed to shut off debate were available, Democrats could have done so. Bunning's actions were not a filibuster.
A transcript of the March 3 segment, which aired at 7:01am EST, follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, we begin with the latest out of Washington this morning. The President will lay out his final health care plan today, hoping he can hold on to enough Democrats to pass it before the end of the month. And overnight, the single Senator holding up unemployment benefits across the country finally stood down. Jake Tapper and Jon Karl are on point at the White House and Capitol Hill this morning. And, John, let's begin with you.
JONATHAN KARL: Well, George, it is chaotic times here on Capitol Hill. Over in the House, a powerful Democratic chairman is facing pressure to resign this morning. And here in the Senate, that lone Senator who held up unemployment benefits was finally forced to relent.
UNIDENTIFIED: The bill is passed.
KARL: And with that, unemployment benefits can now be extended, but only after Senator Jim Bunning tied the Senate up in knots for a week, snapping at reporters.
SENATOR JIM BUNNING: Excuse me. This is a senator-only elevator.KARL: Can I come on the elevator?
KARL: And causing thousands of jobless Americans to see their unemployment benefits expire and construction projects across the country to halt. Late last night, in the face of intense pressure from fellow Republicans, Bunning finally caved in, giving only a promise that the Senate would vote on a measure to pay for the bill with cuts to other programs. That failed. And he wasn't happy about it.
SEN. JIM BUNNING: If we cannot pay for a bill that all 100 senators support, how can we tell the American people with a straight face that we will ever pay for anything?
KARL: Even after the deal was struck, Democrats lashed out at Bunning for causing such a mess.
SEN. DICK DURBIN: This could have been done last week. He was offered this chance last week. He wouldn't take it last week. And as a result, a lot of people have suffered.
KARL: Republicans were privately furious with Bunning for making the party look bad. Talking to us before the vote, Bunning made it clear he has no apologies. How long will this last? When will these people expect to see their benefits? And are you concerned about how this has played out?
BUNNING: No, no. I'm not concerned, except for the people.
KARL: Over in the House, it is a Democrat that is digging in. Ways and Means Chairman, Charlie Rangel faces multiple ethics investigations over his personal finances and his fund-raising. And he is facing a growing chorus of Democrats who say he should step down. But, George, for now, he is not going to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, John. There were real tense meetings last night. Rangel, we first heard he was going to step down. He was called into a meeting with the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Came out defiant. Yet, the Democrats are just not backing him now.
KARL: And here's the problem, George. Today, the Republicans are going to offer a resolution, saying that he should step down as chairman. And with so many Democrats now bailing on him, it is expected that that resolution will pass.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's right. Hard to see how he can survive, at least for now.