Sept. 19, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Craig’s Cowboys

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Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig insists he isn’t gay and that he wasn’t soliciting sex before his arrest last summer. But he’s still willing to pay for dudes. Well, for a dude ranch, anyway.

Craig, the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies before being forced to step down this fall after his sex scandal, still got an earmark in the omnibus spending bill allocating $1.6 million to Idaho’s Gold Creek Ranch.

The money, which would be used as part of the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Legacy program, is for a 640-acre parcel of land in northern Idaho that’s feeling the pressure of development. The project was requested by President

Bush, Craig spokesman Dan Whiting tells HOH.

Helping the dude (ranch) is just one of the things Craig’s been doing since getting back in the saddle on Capitol Hill. Last week, Craig assumed a higher profile than he has since his scandal broke, taking to the floor in favor of an amendment limiting eminent domain.

Although the amendment failed, the floor debate gave Craig a rare opportunity to win praise from his GOP colleagues, including Sens. Wayne Allard (Colo.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.), who haven’t always been so supportive of their scandal-plagued colleague.

Brownback went so far as to liken Craig’s efforts to the founding fathers, invoking the words of Thomas Jefferson.

Whiting says it’s business as usual for his boss, who also secured a $7.5 million earmark for the 2009 Special Olympics International Games held in Idaho. “He will represent them in the Senate until January 2009 and will work for Idaho well beyond that as a private citizen,” Whiting said.

He’ll Leave the Light On. Senate Democratic leaders are mulling a strategy of keeping the Senate in recess over the Christmas holiday to keep that other pesky branch of government from making any recess appointments, and the Democrats' go-to guy for keeping the lights on claims he’s up to the task.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has the unfortunate (some might say) distinction of being both a junior Senator and a relative local, meaning he’s the guy who would be tasked with popping over to the Capitol, banging the gavel and officially — albeit briefly — calling the Senate into session, whilst his colleagues enjoy their egg nog in the comforts of their homes. Eager-beaver Webb insists that the pleasure is all his. “I’m happy to do it,” Webb said. “I’m glad they are doing it.”

The guy who will preside over the pro forma sessions said Monday there’s been a breakdown in the “cordiality in the process” that has forced Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to keep the Senate in business over the recess.

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