Mitch McConnell’s “Kentucky Kickback”
The infamous Cornhusker Kickback which helped get Obamacare enacted into law and effectively ended Ben Nelson’s Senate career has now been joined by the Kentucky Kickback in the checkered legislative history of the health care law.
Tucked into the “deal” to end the government shutdown, raise the debt ceiling and keep Obamacare intact is an additional $2 billion plus of spending for a dam in Republican Leader and lead negotiator Mitch McConnell’s home state.
McConnell incredibly claims no knowledge of how this earmark got into the bill and his staff pointed to equally politically beleaguered Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander as the person who put it into the law.
As a personal disclaimer, I worked for Senator McConnell’s wife, Secretary Elaine L. Chao, for two and a half years at the Department of Labor. Chao, will go down in history as the greatest Republican Labor Secretary in history, as she imposed budget restraint on the Department, implemented union transparency laws that increased union leadership accountability to their membership, and overturned a Department wide culture that favored organized labor over job creation.
I like and respect Secretary Chao, but the audacity of the Kentucky Kickback cannot be swept under the rug.
It symbolizes everything that is wrong with Washington, D.C. and will likely become this election cycles equivalent of the “Bridge to Nowhere” in ads run against McConnell and Senate Republicans by his deal making partner Harry Reid.
In fact, McConnell’s in-state and D.C. political opponents could not have asked for a better present than this government works pork. It is almost like he was set up, but we know he wasn’t.
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Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Americans for Limited Government.