… we have this, which shall henceforth be called the Kentucky Kickback:
McConnell-Reid Deal Includes $3 Billion Earmark for Kentucky Project
A proposal to end the government shutdown and avoid default orchestrated by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Harry Reid includes a nearly $3 billion earmark for a Kentucky project.
Language in a draft of the McConnell-Reid deal (see page 13, section 123) provided to WFPL News shows a provision that increases funding for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah, Ky., from $775 million to nearly $2.9 billion.
The dam is considered an important project for the state and region in regards to water traffic along the Ohio River.
The story says it’s in “a draft,” so we’ll have to see later if it made it into the final bill. (See Update: It’s apparently for real.)
So Mitch McConnell was open to a deal to end the shutdown — but only as long as he could get billions for a Kentucky project.
I don’t want to hear how important the dam project is.
UPDATE: Oh, there’s more. This is a classic case of covering government cost overruns –
… the nation’s leading Republican senator came out of the deal far from empty handed. That’s because it’s been reported that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell secured language in the new government funding bill that includes nearly $3 billion for a dam project in his home state of Kentucky.
According to reports, a provision in the funding bill includes $2.918 billion in funding to the Army Corps of Engineers to install locks as part of the Olmsted Dam and Lock Authority Project on the Ohio River.
A recent investigation by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that the project has run millions of dollars over budget and should have been completed “years ago.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the project will not be fully complete until 2024.
McConnell’s spokesman dodged a question about the funding provision when asked by local radio affiliate WFPL.
Another name for the Kentucky Kickback would be Kentucky’s Big Dam Dig.
UPDATE 2: Did I just hear Ashley Judd’s phone ring?
UPDATE 3: Then there’s this —
But as our David Fahrenthold reports, the funding was actually requested by President Obama and, according to congressional sources from both parties, wasn’t a McConnell project.
This is the same President Obama who wanted a “clean bill.”
Even if Obama (cough, cough) offered the $3 billion out of the blue, McConnell took a de facto payoff to his state to settle a national dispute.
UPDATE 4: Hey Mitch, I’ll betcha that Obama and the Dems said they would keep this Kentucky Kickback nice and quiet — and then had their peeps leak it to the press. Does that sound about right, sucker?