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Thursday, August 31, 2006


Senator Stevens Stops Accountability Bill

-By Warner Todd Huston

A few days ago I wrote about a bill introduced by Senator Tom Coburn to make Federal Funding awards Public on the internet (Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act - S. 2590) being placed on hold by an unknown Senator.

Today it has been revealed that the "secret Senator" is Ted Stevens (R, Alaska). The claim from Stevens' office is that he has "concerns" about the bill so he requested the hold ... and he DIDN'T do it in secret.

"Sen. Stevens has a series of concerns and questions about the bill. He wants a cost benefit analysis to make sure it doesn't create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and not meet its purpose," (Stevens spokesman) Saunders said.

"This wasn't in any way secretive," Saunders said. "We're baffled as to why it's been called a secret hold."

That claim does not hold to the truth, however as many of us on the internet have been calling for the head of whatever senator did this for well over a week and no mention was ever made of who this "secret Senator" was until now.

"This hold was a secret," Coburn spokesman John Hart said. "His office has ignored media and bloggers' calls about this issue for weeks. We had to ask Stevens if he was the hold. His staff has still not met with us."

The most vexing thing about this "hold" (see my previous piece for definition of hold) is that the bill is one of the few truly bipartisan, sensible bills being considered today and it is stymied!

But, the last lines in the CNN report about the revelation of Stevens' role in this pretty much explains it all.

Last year a proposed $223 million for a "bridge to nowhere" connecting Alaska's Gravina Island -- population 50 -- to the mainland caused a nationwide furor. The allocation was backed by Stevens and fellow Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The earmarked funding for the bridge was later rescinded by Congress. However, Alaska's overall allocation of federal transportation funds was not decreased, and the state is free to spend the federal dollars to build the bridge if it wishes.

When Coburn tried to block funds for the bridge, he was heavily denounced by Stevens on the Senate floor.

So, there you have it. The REAL reason Stevens is blocking this common sense measure is so he can get even with Tom Coburn! It's mere piquant childishness on behalf of Stevens.

Stevens has about lost his mind recently and this temper tantrum is par for the course with him lately.

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