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December 21, 2012

CALL YOUR SENATOR: Porked-up Sandy Relief Bill Vote is Imminent

Early in the week I wrote about the bloated Sandy relief bill working its way through the Senate. It'll be up for a vote this afternoon, but before that it'll need sixty votes for cloture. To get GOP crossovers, the Democrats have larded up the bill with extra spending items having nothing to do with Sandy.

A reminder of what's in the bill:

$5.3B to Army Corps of Engineers (that's more than their annual budget).
$150 million in fisheries disaster recovery in Alaska, Mississippi, and American Samoa.
$56.8 million for charting the debris from last year's Japanese tsunami.
$41 million for eight military bases including Guantanamo Bay.
$100 million for the federal Head Start day care program.
$188 million for new Amtrak lines (not repair, whole new lines).
$20 million for a nationwide "Water Resources Priorities Study".
$4 million for the Kennedy Space Center.

ABC News obtained a marked-up version of the bill that's been edited by hand to reflect the attempt to get Republican votes.

Both the Club for Growth and Heritage Action are urging Senators to vote against the bill and promising to include it in their annual "scorecard" of votes. I hadn't noticed the Corps of Engineers shenanigans until Heritage Action pointed it out:

For example, of the $5.35 billion requested for the Corps of Engineers, just $1.838 billion – or 34% – is for “disaster recovery.” The remaining $3.512 billion is for mitigation efforts, which the Obama administration request says would be used to address “impacts associated with a changing climate.”

According to Politico, that CoE pork is directed at GOP senators in Louisiana and North Dakota. You can guess that the "fisheries relief" is to woo Senators from Mississippi and Alaska. If the Dems get those votes, the bill will pass.

If you're the type to call or email your Senator, now's the time. This will be voted on today, probably around 2pm.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:08 PM

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