Today's rightwing Washington Times tells us how a lone coward in the Senate may have put a stop to an Obama-sponsored bill that would "require the administration to create a searchable Web site that would list the name and amount of any federal grant, contract or other award of money amounting to $25,000 or more."
It's a sign of just how hot an issue pork-barrel spending has become that the biggest game in political Washington this summer is trying to smoke out the senator who is blocking a bill to create a searchable database of federal contracts and grants.In essence, the anonymous objection means that a senator has anonymously said that he or she would filibuster the bill if it were brought to a vote on the Senate the floor. If the Bush administration and Sen. Frist were behind Sen. Obama's bill like they say, they would simply bring the bill to the floor and call the mystery senator's filibuster bluff.
The bill has the support of the Bush administration and activists on widely divergent sides of the political spectrum. It also passed a Senate committee without any objections, so the unknown senator is annoying many people.
Sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, and Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, the bill would require the administration to create a searchable Web site that would list the name and amount of any federal grant, contract or other award of money amounting to $25,000 or more.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, tried to win speedy passage just before the Senate left for its summer break, but at least one senator objected anonymously.
Now Porkbusters.org, a Web site dedicated to exposing wasteful government spending, is conducting a public campaign to smoke out the obstructor or obstructors, while blogs on both sides of the political spectrum have weighed in, demanding action on the bill.
But that's a big if.
The "What's Obama Done?" meme has served the Republicans well -- and we know Illinois Republicans love "earmarks" -- so it's simply not in the GOP's interest for Sen. Obama's name to be attached to legislation that would expose pork-barrel "earmarks" to taxpayer scrutiny.
There is more non-Moonie coverage of the anonymous objection to Sen. Obama's bill here and here.
Note: If anyone saw this covered in the Chicago papers, please let me know where.
Note Update: Finally.