McConnell Touts Spending Bill Benefits For Kentucky; Trump Says It’s A Disgrace

Not All Items In The $900 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill Were Universally Well-Received. On Tuesday Evening, President Trump Called Out Several Projects In The Bill, Including A $25 Million Allocation McConnell Inserted To Continue To Eradicate Asian Carp From U.S. Waters. 

Photo – President Donald Trump speaks March 27, 2020, before he signs the coronavirus stimulus relief package in the Oval Office at the White House as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., listen.

Photo Credit – Evan Vucci / AP

The Center Square [By Steve Bittenbender]-

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the fiscal 2021 spending bill Congress passed alongside COVID relief includes several items that will benefit Kentuckians, ranging from reducing taxes for distilleries to investing millions of dollars in job training and community development programs. 

McConnell, who will start his seventh term in the Senate next month, said his leadership position helps bring federal funds to the state. 

“As a result, worthy causes across the Bluegrass State will receive the investments necessary to encourage growth and lift up families,” he said in a statement. 

The omnibus spending plan included a measure that makes permanent the tax cuts for craft beverage producers that was in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Those cuts were set to expire at the end of the year, and the new bill includes a reduction in federal excise taxes for distilleries, wineries and breweries.  

In addition, if the bill becomes law, distillers will be able to deduct interest expenses in the year those are paid instead of years later when the bourbon has completed the aging process. 

Kentucky is also in line to receive $6 million in competitive grant funding to help individuals in drug recovery programs successfully re-enter the workforce. The University of Louisville would get $20 million to continue a pilot program in health care cybersecurity for first responders and veterans. 

Not all the items included in the plan were universally well received. On Tuesday evening, President Trump posted a video on Twitter and called out several projects in the bill, including a $25 million allocation McConnell inserted to continue to eradicate Asian carp from U.S. waters. 

“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated,” Trump said. “It really is a disgrace.” 

However, the president cited projects from the $1.4 trillion omnibus bill, which covers federal budget spending through the end of the fiscal year. None of those are a part of the $900 billion COVID relief plan. 

A McConnell spokesperson told The Center Square that the $25 million would be divided among states in the lower Mississippi and Ohio river basins. 

The Senate’s top Republican has repeatedly touted the benefits of the Asian carp project. Earlier this year as he watched a demonstration of the project in western Kentucky, McConnell noted the invasive species threatens the state’s $1.2 billion fishing industry.

Even Trump earlier this year pledged support for taking action to keep the carp from spreading into the Great Lakes, although he later reversed course on funding a barrier initiative to accomplish that. 

Earlier on Tuesday, before Trump’s threat, McConnell said in a Senate floor speech that members would return to Washington next Tuesday to try and override a veto threat from the president on the National Defense Authorization Act, a separate bill Congress passed earlier this month. 

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