Let's make a deal

Don't ever let it be said that Congressional Republicans aren't crafty. But then it doesn't hurt to always have a Democrat to plop the Maraschino atop the sleazy sundae.

In 2002 we saw the Republican congress shield pharma giant Eli Lilly from a lifetime's worth of litigation by shoving a rider into the Homeland Security bill.

This time, the Republican congress, aided by a few choice Dems, is rolling Katrina aid into ANWR drilling and bloated military spending.

Having initially offered criminally insufficient aid to the Gulf, the number's been upped considerably (from $3 billion to $29 billion), but, writes Chris Kromm:

"not everyone is so enthusiastic. There's a lot of money for big projects and contracting, but not much to directly help hurricane survivors -- many who still face eviction."
And then there's that bit about the drilling and military:
"Most disturbing of all, though, is that -- in an obscene move -- Congressional leaders have made help for the Gulf Coast hinge entirely on approval of drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR."
"The Katrina relief package was added to the 'must-pass' $453 billion defense budget. This means that for the Gulf states to get the aid, not only must Congress approve all the dubious war spending included there -- it must also approve ANWR, which has also been attached to the military spending bill."
In a nutshell: "It's a trap, forcing those who oppose Arctic drilling to also position themselves against providing Gulf aid."

But here's the part that makes me cringe. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, is actually running around portraying the Gulf relief as a gift from Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, "Sen. Stevens brought this idea to fruition after seeing the devastation along our coast firsthand and tonight gives us renewed hope for comprehensive protection for all the parishes through south Louisiana..." I have no words. (Facing South; hat tip: Majikthise)

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