Dems, GOP Clash on Coconut Road Investigation

In just a couple minutes, the Senate will hold votes on how Rep. Don Young’s (R-AK) extra-Constitutional earmark ought to be investigated.

The two options, both offered as amendments to a highway technical corrections bill, are the ones I laid out yesterday.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) preferred solution is an investigation by a joint committee of both House and Senate lawmakers with subpoena power.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) amendment would direct the Justice Department to review the earmark and investigate whether Young’s extra-Constitutional earmark broke the law.

Both will need 60 votes in order to pass according to the deal struck between the parties. Why the high vote threshold?

The Democrats have come hard down on Boxer’s side of the discussion, saying that Coburn’s solution would result in the unconstitutional situation of members of the Senate investigating the House. Speaking on the floor just now, Sen. Boxer said that the House leadership has made it known that they have strong objections to the measure that might prevent the bill from passing.

Meanwhile, the House Republicans have let it be known that they really don’t like the idea of asking the Justice Department to investigate.

So we’ll see what happens with the voting. The high threshold could very well mean that neither amendment passes.

If neither of these measures pass, Boxer says that she favors sending a strongly worded letter to the Justice Department as a consolation measure.