Sunday, November 11, 2007

$3 billion will buy you a Senate confirmation vote

Shortly after the Katrina disaster, Senator Mary Landrieu sponsored a jaw dropping relief bill requesting $250 billion in disaster relief just for the State of Louisiana.

Ms. Landrieu didn't get everything she requested back then though the disaster relief in both private and public resources has been very generous.

Now comes reporting from the Politico (HT: Instapundit) that Ms. Landrieu traded a vote in support of Attorney General Mukasey for $3 billion in additional aid for Louisiana with the help of Senate Republicans:
While conservative senators have boasted recently about ditching the $1 million "hippie museum" earmark from a recent spending bill, they didn't bother touching billions for Louisiana.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), in fact, put out a press release late last night declaring Thursday as "our $12 billion day." Indeed, Louisiana received $3 billion in home reconstruction aid that was dropped into the Defense spending bill late in negotiations. That bill cleared the Senate on Thursday. Louisiana will receive $7 billion of the $23 billion water resources development act money thanks to the resounding override of President Bush's veto of that bill. And the Pelican State will receive $2 billion in defense funds for various military projects and installations in that state under the Pentagon spending bill.

Bringing home the bacon for Louisiana certainly doesn't hurt Landrieu, who is the Republicans' top target in 2008 Senate elections.

But Senate Republicans late on Thursday night decided not to try to jettison Louisiana's $3 billion earmark for the Louisiana Road Home housing recovery program. Technically speaking, the late addition of that money to the defense spending bill could have violated Senate rules. But it would only have mattered if someone decided to raise a ruckus on the Senate floor.

According to Senate aides familiar with the behind the scenes negotiations, conservative Republicans backed off a threat to raise a point of order against Landrieu's money because Democrats agreed to give attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey a quick vote.

Landrieu left the Senate floor late Thursday night with a pile of money for her state...

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