Nebraska Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, who sponsored the successful amendment to ban federal housing funds from going to ACORN, has introduced the same amendment banning funds for ACORN in two other appropriations bills: the Interior Department appropriations measure and the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill. Johanns is expected to take to the Senate floor today to argue in favor of banning ACORN from those areas of federal spending.
In the new amendments, Johanns is attempting to bar federal funding for ACORN at some departments that currently do not send any money to the organization. The idea is to make sure that federal funds for ACORN, once banned from the Housing appropriations bill, do not find their way into other parts of the federal budget. GOP Senate aides point out that ACORN is connected to hundreds of different organizations across the country, and it will take a lot of work to make sure federal dollars do not go to ACORN or its affiliates. "They have tentacles everywhere," says one aide.
Still in the works is a larger, standalone bill that would bar all federal funding for ACORN. Republicans in the House have already introduced such a measure.
This week's Senate vote on cutting all federal housing funds for ACORN passed by an 83-7 margin, with 50 Democrats voting for the ban.
Johanns told me moments ago that he plans to introduce that standalone bill, called the "Protect Taxpayers from ACORN Act," this afternoon. It would bar all federal funds to ACORN and its affiliates. Johanns says there will be several co-sponsors -- he has asked lawmakers of both parties to sign on. "This is an organization that just continues to dig itself into a deeper and deeper hole," Johanns said of ACORN. "This group needs to be defunded and investigated."