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GOP deficit crusade opposed by fiscal hawks

WASHINGTON-- Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) recent one-man stand against legislation extending unemployment benefits offered a high-profile airing of a popular GOP message: Deficit spending, in almost any form, will cause more harm than good to a fragile economy. Standing in the way of the Republicans’ reasoning, however, has been another formidable group: budget experts.

Bunning’s unemployment benefits blockade now a conservative rallying cry

WASHINGTON-- Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) blockade on extending temporarily unemployment benefits put the Tea Party movement in an unfamiliar position. Instead of nudging the Republican Party to take a stand, activists watched a politician pick an anti-government fight they didn’t even know existed.

Senate passes historic, if diluted, health reform bill

WASHINGTON-- Senate Democrats on Thursday approved the best health care reform bill they could manage: a sweeping $871 billion proposal designed to extend coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans and slow the growth of runaway costs. It was at once a monumental achievement, which if signed into law would represent the most expansive overhaul of the nation’s dysfunctional health care system in generations, and a disappointment to many liberals who’d hoped the reforms would go further to rein in the medical-services industries most responsible for the skyrocketing expenses.