When it comes to Republicans, the great Yogi Berra is right.
Case in point: Jim Bunning is a Republican Senator from Kentucky. And in his prime, he was a great pitcher with the Phillies. Also, he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bunning became the first pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both the American and National leagues. He also threw no-hitters in both leagues, including a perfect game on Father’s Day 1964. A good baseball career in anybody’s book.
However, in the Senate, he sometimes acts like a first year rookie, just up from the minor leagues.
Yesterday, the Senate was debating a bill that would re-authorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and boost it by $35 billion over the next five years. This bill would add more than 3 to 4 million children and adults, to the 6.7 million already receiving health care under the joint federal-state program.
And who crafted the original bill in 1997? None other than the bipartisan team of Senators Kennedy and Hatch. With that kind of team, you’d think you’d have all bases covered.
But not for Senator Jim Bunning.
Senator Bunning decided to throw a curveball and add the “Bunning Amendment” to the SCHIP bill. His "amendment”, had it passed, would have knocked thousands of New Jersey and New York children from poor working families out of the batter’s box when it came to health care.
Senator Lautenberg made the good call on Bunning’s pitch: “The amendment was a direct shot at New Jersey’s FamilyCare program, which covers children from families that make up to 350% of the federal poverty level – working and low-income families that don’t qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford health insurance in a high cost-of-living state like New Jersey. Had the amendment passed, only children in New Jersey would have been immediately affected.”
Bunning said this on the Senate floor, which is what qualifies him for acting like he is pitching Single-A ball in Kentucky:
"Why should people in every other state subsidize government health care for families in New York and New Jersey?" Bunning said before the vote. "If people in these two states think this is a priority, then they should be willing to pay more."
Senator Bunning, here’s the real score on who's subsidizing who:
According to the Northeast-Midwest Institute [a Washington-based, private, non-profit, and non-partisan research organization], New Jersey gets back only 55 cents for every dollar it sends Washington, while Kentucky gets back $1.45 it sends.
Senator Bunning, you may have thrown no-hitters in The Show ----but in the Senate, you’re nothing but a Bush-Leaguer.