Tuesday, March 10, 2009

McCaskill-Bond Split on Omnibus

The spending measure will receive President Obama's signature Wednesday, despite several objections by lawmakers about the nearly 8,000 earmarks it contains.
But Reuters reports The Senate approved it by voice vote -- meaning the public will never surely know how any of the wavering Senators voted unless they volunteer it.
"Thereby alleviating the chances that they will be criticized for backing it," explains the wire.

***UPDATED @ 10:45 AM: A McCaskill spokeswoman says the Reuters report is wrong, and that there was no voice vote because the cloture and final votes were "one in the same."

But Sen. Claire McCaskill TWITTERED: "Voted against the Omnibus budget bill. It passed with 62 votes, including a half dozen or so Republicans."
"My no vote was a combo of things," McCaskill went on. "Over 8% increase in spendng from last year, no reconciling with spending decisions in stimulus,and earmarks.
The senior Senator sent out a flurry of releases touting new funding in the bill for Missouri.
BOND SECURES $1 MILLION FOR MOSMART, blasts one release.
"Some politicians trust only bureaucrats to do all the earmarking. They may not trust themselves or local leaders to set priorities in Missouri, but I do," said Sen. Bond.
"In contrast to the massive, ad hoc, trillion-dollar bill I opposed last month, I have routinely supported the annual budget bill that funds critical government programs like veterans’ health care, affordable housing, and unemployment assistance," Sen. Bond added.
Sen. Bond had the third most earmarks in the bill, totaling $85.6 Million dollars.
Sen. Claire McCaskill supports a gigantic $800 billion dollar economic stimulus bill, but can't support an annual operating budget that keeps day-to-day government functioning. Sen. Kit Bond enthusiastically supports the $400 billion dollar omnibus, with tons of goodies like airport and lake money included, but rails against a wasteful "Sin City" train in Obama's massive stimulus package. One's person's waste is another's stimulus. One Senator's beef is another Senator's pork. How to square all this up. Are both McCaskill and Bond being intellectually honest or inconstent? One could still question how Bond went around the state touting low-income housing tax incentives in a stimulus bill he voted against. But another could wonder how McCaskill found enough "waste" to oppose a $400 billion dollar bill, but not have a philosophical problem with the $800 billion dollar bonanza. The most intriguing thing about this is that its ruffling both parties and their core beliefs. U.S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan likely won't go as far as to sign onto McCaskill's no-earmark pledge and some Dems are uncomfortable with McCaskill's blanket "no-earmark policy." Meanwhile, I'm hearing from some prominent local Republicans who quietly admit to liking McCaskill's moves and are wondering why "she's the new fiscal conservative in Missouri." On the other hand, there's the GOP establishment tied to the Bond/Blunt brigades that find it completely irresponsible not to work at slipping local projects into big budget bills. No one at Missouri State, Jordan Valley or the airport seems to be complaining. So, is McCaskill the new most fiscally conservative member in Missouri -- Is Sarah Steelman's position closer to McCaskill than Roy Blunt's or Kit Bond's -- Or is Bond's position of opposing the stimulus but supporting the general budget more substantively conservative? All questions the public and politicians will be wrestling with as we race towards 2010.

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