McConnell and Kyl Split Over Housing Bill

Sorting through Saturday's 72-13 vote on the Senate housing bill, one finds a curious split between the chamber's two top Republicans: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted for the bill, while Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona opposed it.

The likely, unsurprising answer: Politics. McConnell is facing a somewhat challenging re-election this fall from Democratic businessman Bruce Lunsford, while Kyl doesn't face voters again in the Grand Canyon State until 2012. Kyl was also joined by 12 other senators, all Republicans, in opposing the bill.

Still, McConnell and Kyl are usually in lockstep on most major votes, and their staffs take pains to emphasize that the two leaders work in harmony.

Speaking publicly on Tuesday, McConnell said "most of my members share [the] view that we need to wrap this up. It's been going on for a while, and it's time to -- time to finish it."

Kyl issued a statement that blamed his opposing vote on the bill's cost and ineffectiveness.

"In Arizona and across the nation, homeowners are having a hard time making their mortgage payments, but the legislation Congress approved today is not aimed at helping them," Kyl said. "Rather, it is designed to bail out mortgage lenders and the two big government enterprises Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In fact, the bill will place an immense financial burden on every American taxpayer, including those who are struggling to make their mortgage payments, and waste billions of dollars in misguided efforts to help lenders deemed 'too big to fail.'"

-J. Taylor Rushing