For weeks, Republicans in the Senate have held up an $180 billion spending bill that would direct money to several federal agencies, from the Justice Department to the Department of Transportation. [...] But one specific provision that's being held up has victims' advocates particularly worried: A $41 million grant to help states and localities go after rapists by funding jurisdictions to process backlogs of rape kits, the samplings of biological evidence that are taken after a sexual assault and used to identify attackers. [...]The problem is the usual one: Republicans are demanding poison pill amendments in an effort to either scuttle the bill or at least delay it.
Experts estimate that there are over 100,000 untested kits sitting on shelves at scores of police departments and crime lab storage facilities around the country, partly because states and localities lack the money needed to process them.
One of those amendments, sponsored by McConnell, would make it harder for the EPA to enact new rules on coal-fired power plants. (His home state of Kentucky has a big coal industry). Another amendment—a longtime favorite of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)—would strip Obamacare subsidies from congressional staffers.Yeah, wouldn't want basic government functions to continue to run until we've all got a proper chance to sit down and discuss with David Vitter whether his own staffers should have the worst jobs in America, or the worst jobs in America coupled to particularly terrible health insurance. (Do you suppose this is a big topic of conversation when Vitter visits his government-provided doctor? If those stupid staffers wanted decent health insurance they should have either run for office or quit to become lobbyists. Duh.)
All right, we'll chalk up "money to actually process rape kits" as yet another one of the things that's less important to tough-on-crime Republicans than their own individual snit-fits. Point noted.