Mitch McConnell and the “Kentucky Kickback”

During the height of the Obamacare debate, Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska agreed to a resolution only after being offered what became known as the "Cornhusker Kickback." This included increased Medicare subsidies for his home state, as well as carve-outs for certain business that would free them from the Affordable Care Act's more onerous regulations. While many in Washington – Republicans and liberal Democrats – blasted Nelson at the time, few expected such a public back-room agreement to happen again. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), during the recent government shutdown negotiations, proved that you can't teach an old dog new tricks when it comes to deal-making.

Included in the Senate's continuing resolution – which has now been passed and signed by President Barack Obama, thereby opening the government and raising the debt ceiling – is a nearly $3 billion appropriation for a dam and locks system in Kentucky, McConnell's home state. The funding goes to an existing Army Corps of Engineers project which is years overdue and many millions of dollars above its original budget. 

While this is clearly an act of political bribery – watch for McConnell to see if he uses it during his struggling re-election campaign – other senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), are coming out in support of the inclusion, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with the government shutdown or the debt ceiling.

"Had we not done this, the Corps of Engineers would have had to spend before the last day of December $80 million to stop the project," Reid said, according to The Huffington Post. "So there's no need to point fingers at anyone. … It does nothing to running up the deficit. In fact, it saves the government money."

While the government is open once again, it's back to its free-spending tricks. Independently minded Americans need to take steps to protect their finances, especially if they are approaching retirement. Explore our website today to learn more about protecting yourself.