Senate Conservatives Fund Hits McConnell For Getting ‘Kentucky Kickback’ In Senate Deal

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Jim Demint-founded Senate Conservatives Fund issued a new attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday after he signed off on a bipartisan deal to avert default and reopen the government.

The deal, which will fund government through Jan. 15 at current spending levels and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, includes a provision increasing funding for the Olmstead Lock, an Army Corps project on the border between Kentucky and Illinois, from $775 million to nearly $3 billion.

“It’s the Kentucky Kickback,” read a statement from the SFC. “In exchange for funding Obamacare and raising the debt limit, Mitch McConnell has secured a $2 billion earmark. This is an insult to all the Kentucky families who don’t want to pay for Obamacare and don’t want to shoulder any more debt.”

SFC pointed to the provision, located in Section 123 of the bill, and recalled the “Cornhusker Kickback,” a Medicaid deal Senate leaders offered former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) to win his vote for Obamacare in 2009.

The Olmstead Lock provision was first spotted by E&E/Greenwire reporter Elana Schor.

Update: The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that the funding request appears to have been made by President Obama, and not McConnell.

“We did not request that change,” a McConnell spokesman confirmed to TPM.

Sahil Kapur contributed to this post. 

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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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