[C]onservatives have a Hill to Die On - the Coburn Amendment to the Transportation, Housing, & Urban Development appropriations bill (HR 3058)
Make NO mistake - the establishment Republicans are terrified of this bill. The chutzpah of the little people demanding an end to one of the most immoral acts of Congress - earmarked pork spending - has got some in quite the tizzy.
Word is that some are trying to stop the Coburn Amendment from even reaching the floor for a vote.
This amendment will transfer funding from the wasteful pork project, the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska, to the repair and reconstruction of the "Twin Spans" bridge in Louisiana. According to published reports, the Alaskan pork project costs $220 million for a 5.9-mile bridge connecting Gravina Island (population 50) to the Alaskan mainland. The cost of the bridge alone would be enough to buy every island resident his own personal Lear jet.
Sounds pretty simple, no? And simply the right thing to do. This is a no-brainer, friends. I'm with the Club For Growth, that's chosen to make this one of their very first "Key Votes" in an effort to reign in that out of control spending.
RedState and other conservatives make this a case of "reigning in spending", which in reality, it's not. It's moving the spending from one of the most egregious examples of pork spending ever to the vital reconstruction of New Orleans. The money needs to be spent, it would just be a great idea to spend the money on our nation's top priorities rather than Alaskan Republican Don Young's vanity monument to himself.
But really, that's just quibbling, and for this single moment in time, a crazy Republican senator is behind a great idea (as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day). I only wish that the amendment went further -- reassigning yet more of that out-of-control Republican pork to the Gulf Coast reconstruction effort. But of course, that would be instant death. Better to do it this way.
Now there's not much we Dems can do about this, being on the losing end of the last few elections. Funny how the GOP is behind the biggest growth in earmarked pork spending in the nation's history. I fully expect no Democrat would vote against this sensible amendment. It's all on the GOP to make sure this amendment sees the light of day and comes up for a vote -- in both the Senate and the House. I genuinely wish them luck.