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Mitch McConnell Snaked $2.2 Billion in Pork For Ending Shutdown

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The bill to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling has some interesting provisions. For example, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to have done quite well for himself by snaking $2.2 billion for a project in his state. Which should come in handy given that he is up for re-election in 2014.

What happened to a “clean” bill?

Kentucky kickback?: $2.2 billion. That’s the amount in additional cash authorized for a project that involved a dam and decades-old locks on a river that flows through Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Sounds kinda fishy, but a Democratic senate aid and a Republican senator say it’s on the level. The aide tells CNN that McConnell didn’t push for the project to be included. And Sen. Lamar Alexander, who’s a key figure on the committee that oversees what water projects get what money, says he and another senator asked for the cash. He tells CNN’s Chris Frates the new money — which more than triples the original $775 million — will save the federal government many millions because contracts won’t be canceled due to work stoppages. Still, the Senate Conservatives Fund calls the money a “Kentucky Kickback.”

McConnell proved instrumental in getting the bill both through the Senate and using the support in the Senate as pressure to get Speaker Boehner and a slice of House Republicans to vote for the bill. Without McConnell there was no deal.

Perhaps this will be the future strategy for dealing with more mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party faction. Play hardball with the Tea Party and buy off everyone else. It seems to have worked in McConnell’s case, unless you think he actually cares about government.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.