Senator Vying To Replace Mitch McConnell Crammed Over $116 Million In Earmarks Into Spending Bill

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune is asking for over $116 million in earmarks for a spending package to avoid a government shutdown, according to the Senate minority whip’s office.

Thune’s requests include seven projects related to energy, water, transportation and housing, according to his office. Conservatives are scrutinizing the 6,000 plus earmarks in the package and Thune pushing the bill through as it currently stands could damage his chances to become Senate minority leader, The Hill reported. (RELATED: ‘Stop World War 3’: John Cornyn Says He’d Push For More Ukraine Aid As Senate GOP Leader)

Thune announced on Monday that he would run for the leadership of the conference and succeed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is stepping down in November.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 is an omnibus package of six appropriations bills to fund the government until Sept. 30 and must be passed by Friday to avoid a partial shutdown of the government.

The senator has requested $23,600,000 to build a wastewater transportation system that aims to link three South Dakota communities to a new treatment facility, according to his office.

Thune’s largest request is $30,000,000 for “establish[ing] a housing trust fund to address current and future housing supply needs” in seven South Dakota counties, according to his office. His second-largest earmark request is $26,752,000 for a “roadway construction project” to “improve access to the Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore, and the water-based recreation at Pactola Reservoir.”

Another $12,000,000 project would expand water treatment while two smaller projects are to build roadways. Another allocates $6,500,000 to “construct a new facility at Southeast Technical College to accommodate the expansion of certain workforce training programs.”

Thune’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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