In the post-earmark world, members of Congress must use more subtle means to drive federal projects home.
Witness U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, the Georgia Republican set to take over the chairmanship of the Committee on Veterans Affairs when the Republican-controlled Senate convenes in January.
Isakson will have the power to make life miserable, if he so chooses, for VA Secretary Bob McDonald, who took over this year amid a series of scandals at the agency. Isakson has been publicly supportive of McDonald so far.
Earlier this year, Congress passed a bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs that included $6.4 million for a VA clinic in Cobb County, in addition to 26 other sites. The clinic is now in Austell, but a new lease could be elsewhere in the county.
“It’s so woefully inadequate, just so small,” U.S. Rep. David Scott, an Atlanta Democrat, said of the Austell facility, which is in his district.