Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) held up a bill that would create a free, searchable database of government contracts and grants because he was worried about the proposal's price tag, his spokesman told me this afternoon. Its cost has been estimated at $15 million.
Stevens' office has asked Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the sponsor of the bill, for "a cost-benefit analysis to make sure this does not create an extra layer of unnecessary bureaucracy,” spokesman Aaron Saunders said. The Senator “wanted to make sure that this wasn’t going to be a huge cost to the taxpayer and that it achieves the goal which the bill is meant to achieve.”
So building a $200 million dollar bridge for 50 people that didn't even ask for a bridge is beyond reproach, but a $15 million dollar bill that will provide a little (and I do mean only a little) bit of transparency needs extra scrutiny.
When is Mr Stevens up for re-election again? (answer: 2008) I certainly hope that a Republican will seek to overthrow this particular benevolent dictator.