Oklahoma Republican Senator is blocking a bipartisan bill aimed at enhancing investigations into older civil rights era crimes, like the murder of black teen Emmitt Till in 1957, which has never been solved.
The legislation would authorize $10-million annually over 10 years for the Justice Department to rejuvenate its prosecutions of pre-1970 civil rights murders. It calls for another $3.5-million annually for Justice to provide grants and other help to local law enforcement agencies.
The man most responsible for obstructing the measure is Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican. Coburn says he supports the cause but feels the FBI can pursue the cases with existing resources.
A spending hawk, Coburn has put a hold on the legislation and dozens of other bills that would increase the federal budget without offsetting costs elsewhere.
Coburn has a page of his Senate office web site dedicated to explaining and extolling the legislative hold policy he wields so infamously.
But as that page explains, and some left-leaning bloggers are pointing out (update: and here and here, the Senate's Democratic Majority leadership can work around such holds, if they are sufficiently motivated, and in fact they are already planning to do so — not for any of Coburn's “anti-government expanding” holds, but on civil rights-protective efforts supported by the Democratic base.
[Cross posted at Blue Oklahoma and at OK Indymedia]