Senators Still Boast About Bringing Home The Bacon

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.

"The support shown for Louisiana tonight is a powerful demonstration of this Congress’ commitment to fully funding out state’s rebuilding from the 2005 hurricanes and levee failures," Landrieu said. "We are grateful for the steadfast partnership shown by the many senators without whom tonight’s victory would have been impossible."
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