Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 roundup: A bridge too far? Or not far enough?

The candidates' Brent Spence Bridge proposals clearly fell flat:
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell proposed to recoup funds for the bridge by repealing the 1931 law that requires union-influenced wages to be paid on federal projects, while Alison Lundergan Grimes called for closing federal tax loopholes. Both have "virtually no chance of actually solving the region's top problem,"writes Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Amanda Van Benschoten. One of the Enquirer's story highlight said both plans "fall flat," and Louisville Business First put a "McConnell's bridge plan falls flat" headline on a story that said "The idea looks like a longshot at best" and cited a story by Chris Wetterich in the Cincinnati Business Courier that said "It looked more like an election-year political ploy than a serious effort to fund a new bridge." McConnell drew the most attention because he held a press conference and "leaked a few details," as Van Benschoten noted. "He took questions from journalists but was clearly irritated at their skepticism of the plan. Then he was whisked out the door to another meeting, less than 30 minutes after arriving. . . . McConnell needs votes from Northern Kentucky, a reliably conservative region in federal races, come November. But almost nobody in the region embraced his plan, even those desperate for any solution that doesn't involve tolls."
  • McConnell cited a Congressional Budget Office study that said the nation could save $13 billion over 10 years by repealing the 1931 law. Grimes's campaign cited arguments against repealing the law, which the study mentioned, and referred to the CBO in the headline on its press release. McConnell's campaign said Grimes had  "once again" issued "a misleading interpretation of a CBO report." The link was to a National Review story about Grimes favoring a higher minimum wage, which the McConnell campaign did not mention. The CBO said a $10.10 hourly minimum wage cost jobs, but Grimes had not cited the CBO as a source in discussing the issue.
  • Jill Bond of the liberal Blue Nation Review accused McConnell of being a hypocrite for proposing to replace the bridge by "lowering the wage of construction workers: The very people whose lives McConnell just swore he was working so hard to ease" in a speech last week that said "Republicans are looking out for the little guy; fighting to make 'life a little easier' and 'paychecks bigger' for 'working mothers' and 'middle-class Americans' while fighting against the same old big-government solutions."

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