WASHINGTON -- Senators overwhelmingly approved an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn today to prevent money from the $900 billion stimulus package from being spent on recreational projects such as golf courses and zoos.
The amendment, approved 73-24, also would prohibit highway beautification efforts. "Instead of spending money planting trees on a causeway, we should fix the bridge on the causeway,'' said Coburn, adding that there 233,000 bridges in the country in need of repairs. The stimulus package would give states and cities money and, in some cases, a free hand to decide how to spend billions of dollars. Coburn's amendment would prohibit spending on casinos, zoos, golf courses, swimming pools, parks, museums, theaters and highway beautification projects. The Senate today unanimously passed another amendment by Coburn, R-Muskogee, to require competitive bidding on all contracts, grants and cooperative agreements that result from spending in the stimulus bill. Democratic leaders in the Senate are pushing for a final vote, possibly later today, on the package. Should it pass, the House and Senate would have to negotiate a final version that would have to be approved by both houses.