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Political posturing in the Senate put thousands of federal transportation employees out of work Monday, stopped an extension of unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans and halted federal payments to states for highway programs — thanks to the stalling efforts of Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning.
Bunning threw a political stall into extension of federal highway and transit programs last week, saying the $10 billion price tag for the program adds to much to the deficit.
The programs expired at midnight Sunday. Included in the package was an extension of unemployment benefits for the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose current aid is running out.
Republicans think the effort pays off in showing they want to reign in costs.
Both sides, however, agree the stoppage is temporary until each side believes the political benefit has run out.