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Klobuchar votes to support three GOP amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., revealed a blue dog streak this week, breaking with her party to vote in favor of three Republican-proposed amendments that sought to slash spending measures, including earmarks, from the $410 billion omnibus spending bill.

“I don’t think that we should have duplicative projects,” Klobuchar said Wednesday. “[And] I was concerned about the potential corruption and some of the allegations about these last earmarks [ones that will go to clients of a lobbying firm currently under investigation by the FBI].”

The omnibus bill includes nine 2009 appropriations bills that Congress failed to approve last year. Federal programs are now being funded by a continuing resolution at 2008 fiscal levels. The resolution expires Friday.

 The three amendments that Klobuchar voted in favor of are:

* An amendment proposed by Sen. Kay Hutchinson, R-Texas, that sought to limit the overall funding increase above 2008 levels to the rate of inflation. This amendment would have sent the bill back to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where Hutchinson planned to have duplicative spending cut out in the amount of about $12 billion. The amendment was defeated by 55 to 40. Klobuchar was one of five Democrats to vote in favor of the amendment.

 * An amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to require competitive bidding for projects funded in the omnibus bill. The amendment was defeated by 57 to 38. Klobuchar was one of six Democrats to vote for the amendment.

* An amendment proposed by Coburn to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being earmarked to 14 clients of the PMA group, a lobbying firm that is under investigation by the FBI for making campaign donations in exchange for political favors. The amendment was defeated by 43 to 52. Klobuchar was one of five Democrats to vote for it.

All the Republican-proposed amendments this week have failed and it is still unclear how Democrats like Klobuchar, who supported making some of the changes, might affect the final passage of the bill.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 03/05/2009 - 06:55 am.

    Senator Klobuchar will no doubt have a serious future in national politics someday. She certainly is off to a nice start by her willingness to show some independence.

    Perhaps we should see the blue dog side of the Democratic party a bit more often. Fiscally responsible/conservative and liberal on social issues.

  2. Submitted by Noah Hanson on 03/05/2009 - 11:19 am.

    Senator Klobuchar again proves why she is the greatest Democratic Senator since the days of Eugene McCarthy.

  3. Submitted by Jeff Schmitz on 03/05/2009 - 12:39 pm.

    Senator Hutchison, not Hutchinson.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 03/05/2009 - 03:45 pm.

    Blue Dog Democrats are not necessarily any more fiscally responsible than any other conservative, and SOME of them (I’m not saying Amy K. is one) are almost as fond of market fundamentalism as any right-winger.

    Obama administration is correcting several of the worst “conservative” abuses in terms of both cost and effectiveness. These are weapons systems that have been “in development” for decades; military and homeland security non-compete contracts with favored contractors like Halliburton; and the out-of-control contracting out of services government performs better at less cost. These changes are similar in intent to the amendments mentioned above, but enacting those may have delayed the bill’s passage.

    Now, if he’d only kill Medicare Part D and add a drug benefit to traditional Medicare, we could save a minimum of $30 billion there, too.

  5. Submitted by Darcie Jamison on 03/11/2009 - 03:17 pm.

    It’s encouraging that Senator Klobuchar voted for the GOP amendments, but when they were all defeated, she still voted for the bill. She still voted to waste all of our money on these pork projects. If she were really serious about not getting the waste out of the budget, she would have voted No on the bill until it was stripped of the waste, AND she would have tried to convince her colleagues of the same.
    I’m very disappointed. The first “gesture” means nothing if she didn’t follow through with a No vote on the bill.

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