Thursday, October 20, 2005

Governed by Children Watch: Antics in the Senate

Here's the backstory. Senator Tom Coburn has offered an amendment to the Senate Treasury, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill now under consideration that would remove approximately $220 million from June's highway (aka pork) bill that was destined for the "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska and divert it to Louisiana for reconstruction of a bridge that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina (which will have to be rebuilt anyway).

The amendment came up this morning and was debated for quite some time on the floor prior to some other business. There was supposed to be a vote at 2 p.m. Late this afternoon, Coburn added some more to the amendment - it would now also remove funding for the bridge to be named "Don Young's Way" (for Alaska's representative in the House), and would send $454 million to New Orleans.

Senators Kit Bond from Missouri and the two Alaskans (Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski) have been on the floor this afternoon speaking in opposition to Coburn. Stevens recently announced that if the amendment passes, he will resign from the Senate. The Senate went into a quorum call around 5:20 this evening, and Stevens has said that he will object to rescinding that procedure until an agreement is reached to kill the Coburn amendment.

This moment has made for very strange bedfellows. The Club for Growth and DailyKos are on the same side, and many other groups are watching the goings-on (RedState is doing a live-blog as well). Things could get very interesting. I'll update as necessary.

[Update: Stevens has just offered an amendment saying that no funds from the highway bill for the two bridges targeted by Coburn can be spent until the Twin Spans Bridge in Louisiana is reconstructed (i.e. pay for that from somewhere else and then build our bridges). Coburn is now up urging the Senate to reexamine its priorities. -- 6 p.m.]

[Update: The Coburn amendment is now being voted on. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens here. It should pass, but we all now how addicted these guys are to pork. -- 6:06 p.m.]

[Update: It doesn't look good. More soon. -- 6:15 p.m.]

[Update: Coburn amendment fails 15-82. The ayes were Feingold, Kyl, DeMint, Coburn, Conrad, Vitter, Landrieu, Sununu, Graham, Burr, Allard, Sessions, Bayh, DeWine and Talent. Pork wins again. McCain is not in town tonight, he's giving a speech in New York. -- 6:36 p.m.]


At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Paul Wartenberg said...

Ahhh, the Pork giveth... and the Pork giveth some more. It alsos takeths from those unable to hire $75k accountants to loophole the tax laws, but hey who notices that anyway...?


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