Saturday, June 25, 2005

Then Trent Lott wonders why other Repubs dislike him.

Politics: Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is at least trying to stop "pet projects" from being made by various Senators to their home states. Trent Lott laughs at this.

"Senators, take heed: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) may have a "hold" on your bill. The freshman is using his power as a Senator to put a hold - or secret filibuster threat - on any bill he believes would create a new spending program, whether it is included in an appropriations bill or an authorizing bill. That means that many a Senator's home-state pet project could be held up indefinitely by a man known for sticking to his guns, even to the point of making enemies. "I don't think we ought to be passing new legislation, spending new money when we can't pay for what we're doing today, and we're not willing to cut what we're doing today," said Coburn in a recent interview. Asked whether he targeted bills going through just the committees he sits on - Judiciary, Indian Affairs, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs - or whether he has any specific criteria for measures he finds objectionable, Coburn said every bill has a potential bull's-eye on it. "I look at everything," he said. Indeed, Coburn spokesman John Hart said his boss is known for personally reading and marking up conference reports and bills, and his staff "is cross-trained to think oversight and examine bills." In addition, Coburn's previous reputation in the House as a relentless budget hawk has caused many outside organizations "to come out of the woodwork" to tip off Coburn's office to potentially objectionable bills and existing programs. ....Today, Coburn is hosting a panel on AIDS funding in the United States. While Coburn, a doctor by trade, supports AIDS funding for communities around the nation, he is concerned that some states and localities are getting more money than they can use, while others are not getting enough, Hart said. Lott said he wasn't aware of Coburn's plan to hold up myriad bills, but said Coburn is "genuinely and legitimately concerned about the size of the deficit." Still, during his more than 30 years in Congress, Lott said he has learned something about how to keep the likes of Coburn from stopping his pet projects from becoming law. "The way I do it is, I fold them into bills where you can't find it," Lott said. "I've been around here long enough to know how to bury it."

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