WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a surprise announcement Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced an additional $40 million in federal cleanup money for the Department of Energy site in Paducah.
McConnell made the announcement during a reception at the U.S. Capitol Building for a visiting delegation from west Kentucky organized by the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber is in the midst of its annual D.C. fly-in aimed at rallying federal support and money for local projects.
Leaders of the group were requesting $30 million in additional funds. They’ll discuss the money awarded the DOE Paducah site Thursday during a meeting at the Department of Energy.
The announcement was met with applause and cheers. Acquiring that money for the cleanup was one of the chamber group's three priorities for this week's trip.
During the announcement, McConnell praised leadership that works to secure sizable amounts of money like that. "It's been easy to work with Paducah leadership over the years. You've always been well organized. Had your ducks in a row, made good presentations, and have made everything up here easier," the senator said. "We're really grateful you're here, and I hope you have a wonderful time while you're in Washington."
You may have noticed the senator's arm is still in a sling after his fall in August. McConnell said it looks worse than it feels. "Shortly after, first they had to operate on it. And then when I got out, I stared getting stretched and pulled for a number of weeks. And the good news is, I really don't need this. It's designed to keep you from hugging," McConnell joked. "I know how much you want to hug me."