At a recent press conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) touted his role in securing a billion dollars in federal spending for constituents in his home state, The Hill reported.
McConnell said that under his leadership, the Bluegrass State was able to “to punch above its weight” when it came to representation in the nation’s capital.
“I saw a commercial from my likely opponent indicating that I was all that was wrong with Washington,” he noted at the event, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The Senate majority leader continued: “So I have a question for her here as we go into the new year: In what way would Kentucky have been better off without any of these items that I put in the year-end spending bill?”
Credit where credit is due
The provisions of which McConnell boasted included expanded health coverage for coal miners who have recently lost benefits, along with more resources to help fight the opioid crisis.
“I was directly responsible — directly responsible — for these items,” he declared.
McConnell added that he thinks “most Kentuckians are proud of the fact that somebody from our state is in the position I’m in,” saying:
It’s not just a question of pride. It’s a question of delivering.
“Who’s in the room when that happens?” McConnell asked of budget negotiations. “The speaker, myself, the Democratic leader in the Senate and the Republican leader in the House, and, of course, a representative of the president who has to sign the bill.”
Shoring up support
Observers argue that the announcement was a way of shoring up McConnell’s prospects with Kentucky voters in what could prove to be a difficult election year.
“He’s never had a great level of personal popularity so it’s been important for him to deliver for the state, and he does a good job of doing that,” said Al Cross, a journalism professor at the University of Kentucky and a well-known commentator on Kentucky politics.
The commercial referenced during the senator’s press conference came from Democratic Amy McGrath, who is seeking to challenge McConnell in the 2020 election.
“Kentuckians know he has failed them over and over again,” a McGrath spokesperson said of McConnell. “Now that he’s in danger of losing his power, he thinks we won’t notice he’s in the pocket of big pharma, or that he’s trying to take away our health care.”