[UPDATED] ‘The Kentucky Kickback’

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"[UPDATED] ‘The Kentucky Kickback’"

6:50 pm

[UPDATED] 'The Kentucky Kickback'

There’s an earmark in the Senate bill that increases the funding for the Olmsted Locks and Dam in Kentucky — a concession SenateConservatives.com has termed “The Kentucky Kickback.”

On first glance, the earmark language looks inoffensive enough:

SEC. 123. Section 3(a)(6) of Public Law 100–676 is amended by striking both occurrences of ‘‘$775,000,000’’ and inserting in lieu thereof, ‘‘$2,918,000,000’’

But when you dig just a little bit deeper, it turns out that Public Law 100–676 is a provision in the Water Resources Development Act of 1988 that funds Olmsted, and that this new provision would increase the cap on construction spending there by $1.2 billion, giving relief to what’s become a cash-strapped project.

Though initial signs indicated that this was a private concession made to McConnell to get him on board with the bill, subsequent reporting muddies the waters a bit. The Washington Post reports that President Obama, not Senator McConnell, requested this funding, while Buzzfeed reports that “[a]lthough the language was inserted by Feinstein and Alexander, whose home state of Tennessee would also benefit from the project, McConnell has been its historical champion.”

This post has been updated to reflect the funding allocated to the Olmstead project.

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