The AP is reporting some resistance among Democrat senators to the budget bill. Some of them don’t want massive amounts of money given to a company notorious for funneling money from federal boondoggles into the campaign funds of law makers who vote to give them the money. Could we be turning a corner on legalized bribery? One can hope. But I suspect they’re just cutting an egregious abuser out of the herd. Here’s a quote from the AP story:
“Most significantly, Democrats Evan Bayh of Indiana and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin announced Wednesday that they will vote against the bill. Both urged Obama to veto it.
“"There's just a disconnect between what people are having to go through in their daily lives - tightening their belts, economizing where they can - and what they see the government is doing," Bayh said in an interview. "I just think it's tone deaf and, substantively, we do need to get the deficit under control."
Democratic leaders scrambled to hold onto other Democrats, even as some GOP leaders conceded the bill is going to pick up GOP votes that would prove critical to its passage.
““I just don't know whether we have enough votes to stop it," said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate.
“The measure contains budget increases, on average, of 8 percent for the domestic agencies it covers, far more than they received under the Bush administration. But moderates such as Bayh are unhappy with the additional spending, especially after many agencies received huge infusions of money under the just-enacted economic recovery bill.
“At the same time, Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida are weighing whether to oppose the legislation over a provision buried in it that would moderate rules on travel to Cuba and would make it easier for Cuba to pay for imports of food and medicine.
“Democratic leaders hope to clear the bill - it passed the House last week - to meet a Friday deadline. That's when a stopgap funding law that keeps the government going, mostly at 2008 levels, runs out.
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is also trying to keep the bill free of floor amendments that would force the measure into negotiations with the House that would delay enactment or kill the measure altogether.
“But that means Democrats will have to cast some politically difficult votes. One of the most uncomfortable was expected Wednesday afternoon on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to kill 13 so-called "earmarks" requested by lawmakers for projects sought by PMA Group, a lobbying company at the center of a federal corruption investigation.
“The PMA Group, which recently folded, had a reputation for funneling campaign money to lawmakers that obtained earmarks for its clients and is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether the company reimbursed some employees for campaign contributions to members of Congress who requested the projects.”