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.Who really gets hurt from 'hold' by GOP's Bunning?

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The Department of Transportation furloughed nearly 2,000 employees without pay Monday as the government began to feel the impact of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning's one-man blockage of legislation that would keep a host of federal programs operating. Bunning's "hold" also affects jobless benefits for thousands of unemployed workers, rural television customers, doctors receiving Medicare payments and others. Bunning wants the $10 billion price of extending the programs offset by reductions in spending elsewhere in the budget to not drive up the deficit. Absent that, his objections to proceed with the legislation deny the Senate the "unanimous consent" that Senate rules require for going forward under expedited procedure. The Senate can overcome his objection if 60 of its 100 members vote to do so. So far they haven't, and doing that would take at least four days under Senate rules. "As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed." Federal projects shut down include more than $38 million in project funding for Idaho's Nez Perce National Forest and Fernan Lakes Idaho Panhandle National Forest and $86 million for bridge replacements in the Washington, D.C. , area. Bunning's home state of Kentucky has no projects affected by his action.

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