UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that McConnell wasn’t responsible for inserting the funding; it was actually requested by President Obama.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, a major player in the effort to defund Obamacare and a sharp critic of Senate Republicans, is calling out Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) over a provision in the Senate bill to end the government shutdown that would appropriate nearly $3 billion for a locks and dam project on the Ohio River.
The provision would steer $2.918 billion in funding to the Army Corps of Engineers for the Olmsted dam and lock project on the Ohio River, and would benefit Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. The language is only one of several provisions lawmakers have tucked into the must pass spending and debt bill which would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s credit line until the middle of February.
The language was inserted by Senators Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) and Dianne Fienstein (D., Calif.), but McConnell has championed the project in the past. Alexander told BuzzFeed the provision “has already been approved this year by the House and Senate” and is needed to ensure that $160 million in existing funding is not wasted due to cancelled contracts.
Meanwhile, the Senate Conservatives Fund is calling it the “Kentucky Kickback,” writing: “This is what’s wrong with Washington and it’s what’s wrong with Mitch McConnell.”