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Paul Talks Gov't Shutdown, Olmsted Project During Western Ky. Visit

WKMS/John Null

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he’s confident another partial federal government shutdown won’t occur when the stopgap deal that reopened the government expires in January.

Paul made his comments in Murray as he visited western Kentucky Monday, for a series of events.

“We will have conflict,” Paul said. “We have a divided government. We’re going to keep having a debate. But I think it’s good to have debate, because, while I don’t think it’s good to shut down government, I also don’t think it’s good to give a blank check to the president to keep spending whatever."

Paul also commented on the controversial spending authorization on the Olmsted Locks and Dam project near Paducah that was included in the deal to reopen the government. The deal included a reauthorization of up to $2.9 billion in spending on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, which is about $1.2 billion away from completion.

He said construction has dragged on for too long and the project is an example of government not working well, but admitted that construction shouldn’t stop.

“It’s one of these things where we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t - no pun intended,” Paul said. “Because we’ve gotten halfway into this thing, and it’s extraordinarily expensive, and it’s a boondoggle, but we can’t stop, because we need the dam.”

A USACE official said last week the project, once completed, could reap $640 million in net benefits to the nation on a yearly basis.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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