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While they may not support the final spending bill, Senators Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell still put in earmarks. Here are their requests:

Will 2011 Be Like 1995? With Senator Mitch McConnell opposing the omnibus budget bill, Politico says it could be:

Beyond the theatrics, the Republicans shift does harden the political lines against the giant spending bill and makes it more of an uphill fight to get to the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. Moreover by embracing a two month CR—even shorter than some House Republicans have proposed—McConnell is already looking past the Democrats own fallback position: a full-year, stripped-down spending resolution approved by the House last week.

This could be an alarming scenario for the White House, setting up a potential “shut-down-the-government” spending confrontation with newly empowered Republicans early next year.


Senators Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh all supported the tax cut compromise.

The compromise cleared the Senate 81-19. Among other things, it calls for a 2-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts (all of them) and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana will be replaced in the Senate by the person he replaced in the Senate (Dan Coats). But he will not run for the office he held before he ran for the Senate (Governor of Indiana).

From CN2:

During the fall 2010 election, Holmes worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, including on behalf of Rand Paul in Kentucky. Two years earlier, he spent much of the 2008 general election in Kentucky working on McConnell’s re-election bid against Democrat Bruce Lunsford.


Outgoing Republican Senator Jim Bunning gave a farewell address on the floor of the Senate Thursday. Bunning touted his work to curb government spending, and called for further reductions in spending, specifically in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He also blasted several Democratic laws, including the Healthcare Overhaul and financial reform.

The transcript:

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With a vote of 73-25, the Senate has passed the food safety bill we discussed earlier this month. But the legislation still faces an uncertain future.

Despite unusual bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and a strong push from the Obama administration, the bill could still die because there might not be enough time for the usual haggling between the Senate and House of Representatives, which passed its own version last year. Top House Democrats said that they would consider simply passing the Senate version to speed approval.

Both versions of the bill would grant the F.D.A. new powers to recall tainted foods, increase inspections, demand accountability from food companies and oversee farming. But neither version would consolidate overlapping functions at the Department of Agriculture and nearly a dozen other federal agencies that oversee various aspects of food safety, making coordination among the agencies a continuing challenge.

President Barack Obama and Senator-elect Rand Paul talked on the phone this week. Paul isn’t likely to be any more cooperative with the President than outgoing Senator Jim Bunning, but Paul says he has promised to engage in polite, civil discourse.

The AP story says Obama initiated the call, but it appears that the White House isn’t saying much about it. Such calls are regular occurrences, so it makes sense that the conversation makes more news in Kentucky than in Washington. Still, it would be interesting to know what both sides thought about the call.

Programming note:

The Edit is on vacation Thursday and Friday. Regular posts will resume Monday, unless breaking news occurs.

The Washington Post says Louisville’s downtown is “shabby,” except for earmark-funded improvements and projects.

The paper spends a few paragraphs on Louisville in a story about what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s recent decision to oppose earmarks (at least for now) means for the cities, governments and people who benefit from earmarks.

But the downtown of Kentucky’s largest city also has a spectacular redeveloped waterfront featuring bike paths and open vistas, the spanking-new KFC Yum Center sports arena, and a medical complex of several hospitals that employ nearly 20,000 people, treat tens of thousands and conduct cutting-edge research.

This resurgence is a result of civic vision, pride, tenacity – and the impressive earmark performance of Louisville’s Slugger: Mitch McConnell (R), Kentucky’s longest-serving senator and the powerful Senateminority leader.

He has driven $62.4 million in federal funding to this city in the past three years, the largest chunk by locale of the $458 million that he earmarked from 2008 through 2010, according to data tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics.


The messy, massive business of appropriations and bailouts during a prolonged recession has deepened public distrust, claimed political scalps and hardened the partisan divide. Rhetoric against Washington runs hot.

But here on the ground, where federal money has helped a river city of 722,000 become more vibrant and livable, people live with their contradictory feelings about government and its challenges, and their own senior senator.

“Earmarks are not just good,” Schneider says, “and they are not just bad. It’s more complicated than that.”


Given all that, David Weilage is aggravated and confused by McConnell’s switch.

“It always concerns me when they start talking about cutting off the money,” says Weilage, 53, who is waiting for a bus at the edge of the medical district, which covers about 20 city blocks. He is a semi-retired Vietnam War veteran who “kind of leans on the federal government myself” and considers the construction and new sports-and-entertainment arena “good for the city, good for the state.”

(h/t LEO)

Even though he campaigned as an outsider, there are some political trends Senator-elect Rand Paul appears unable to avoid. He will follow in the footsteps of hundreds of his political forebears by releasing a book.

From the C-J:

“In The Tea Party Goes to Washington, Rand Paul presents his plan—and the Tea Party’s platform—to bring the U.S. government more in line with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to stop spending money the country doesn’t have, to stop borrowing, to balance the budget and reduce the size of the government,” the press release says.
There is no word on where Paul’s book will be available.

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